Frequently Asked Questions
- Do you buy books?
We do buy books, although we are very selective. We only buy books in very good or better condition.
We generally buy:
- books with fine leather bindings
- first editions of important writers or works, if uncommon
- illustrated books that are uncommon
- books that are signed by notable authors
- books written about books and book arts
- books printed by private presses (esp. Kelmscott Press)
- books in subject areas which include but are not limited to: Baltimore, Maryland, art, fashion, film, incunabula, photography, the occult, children's literature, and some literature.
- popular fiction, romance, or science fiction novels
- mass market paperbacks
- Reader's Digest Condensed or Time-Life Series
- magazines printed after 1900
- any books in poor condition
- I have books to sell that I think you may be interested in purchasing. What should I do?
Before we can buy books, it is necessary for us to see them. Providing us with a printed list is somewhat helpful, but eventually we will need to see the books.
- If you have just a few boxes of books, then we would encourage you to bring them to our shop, but PLEASE call us first to make an appointment. If we are not able to peruse them immediately, then we may ask you to leave them with us for a few days; we will issue you a receipt. After researching your books, we will call you.
- If you have an entire library to sell, please call us and we will schedule a visit to your home if the books sound of potential interest.
- Books left unclaimed in our shop for over 1 month will be donated to a local non-profit organization.
- I have many books that I wish to get rid of, but I don't want to throw them away. What should I do with them?
Please call us. If we are not interested in your books, we can refer you to another bookstore or we can give you information about donating your books to a local organization.
- What makes a book rare?
Many different factors may make a book rare including importance, scarcity, and desirability. Age alone does not make a book rare and rare books are not necessarily valuable.
- Are rare books always expensive?
No. Prices depend on the condition of the book, its availability, and demand. Some "rare" books may retail for just a few dollars, while others are worth thousands.
- How important is the condition of a book?
Very! Books in poor condition with detached boards, torn pages, soiling, and/or heavy chipping are significantly less desirable and less valuable than those in very good condition. Unless the book is both scarce and desirable, a book in poor condition can not be sold.
- How can you tell if a book is a first edition?
Nearly every publisher has a different way of designating the edition of their books and these methods change yearly. This makes it quite difficult to verify the edition of a book without a bibliography or guide to first editions. The words "first edition" printed within a book do not always signify that the book is a true first, especially with modern books.
- Do you appraise books?
Yes, we offer appraisals for donation, tax, and insurance purposes. We do charge for appraisals by the hour.
- Do you order books for customers?
No. Due to many problems in the past we no longer special order books for customers. If there is a book that you are looking for, please call us or create an account with us and we will notify you if we acquire a copy.
- How can I get on your mailing list and what mailings will I receive?
We generally send three types of mailings: print catalogs featuring new acquisitions in our areas of specialty, print and e-letters targeting 1 - 25 books of specific interest to our customer, and montly e-newsletters. Customers on our print mailing list may expect 1 to 3 mailings per year. Customers on our e-newsletter mailing list may expect 12 - 15 e-mails per year.
Click here to create an account on our website. This will automatically add you to our e-mail mailing list and means that you will receive our monthly e-newsletter including updates on special offers, new arrivals, and events. Sign up now!
If you would prefer to have mailings sent to you via snail mail, please send us an e-mail with your address.
You can also e-mail us with a list of your interests. The more specific you can be about your interests, the better. For example: if you tell us that you are interested in "books about art," of which we have hundreds, it would be very difficult to highlight just a few that may interest you. However, if you are more specific, i.e. "books on Baroque painters," we could provide you with a list of books more relevant to your interests.
CARE OF BOOKS
- Do you have any tips on storing books?
It is best to store books sitting upright on shelves out of direct sunlight in a room with low humidity at room temperature.
DO NOT store books:
In damp, humid environment such as your attic or basement.
In direct sunlight
In sealed plastic bags; this may trap humidity & cause mold to form
- How should I handle my books?
When handling a book, be careful to support the covers of the book with both hands. If a book will not lie flat, do not force it open. Handle fragile items carefully and infrequently. When removing a book from a shelf, be sure to grasp the boards of the book near the spine. Do not "pull" a book down from the head of it's spine, as this can cause chipping and tears.
- What can I do to remove bad odors from books?
Place the closed book in a plastic container. Pour kitty litter over the book and seal the container with a lid or with plastic wrap. Let the book sit for a few days or longer depending on the intensity of the odor. Remove the book and clean off any dust/litter that remains. Repeat for a longer period of time if the odor persists.
- My book is in need of repair, what should I do?
We no longer offer book binding or restoration services with the exception of very minor repairs. Please call us or email us for a referral depending on the work needed.
For more information on the care of books visit the following websites:
Library of Congress
American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works