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Between the Covers

our answers

Information about BTC, our history, policies — all your questions answered.

Do you buy books?
YES, we actively buy quality material in the subjects that we sell. We will also buy significant accumulations or collections of books in nearly any subject area in which we have an interest, or which intrigues us. It is easy enough to find out if we might have an interest in your books by dropping us an email. Give us as much general information as you think we might need, and we'll ask for additional specific information if we think it's necessary. Often, in the case of books we haven't examined in person, we might make a tentative offer in a certain price range, calculated by using the information you have provided, and will clarify that offer after we have examined the books. After we have made a firm offer, we will either send you a check, or promptly return your books, as you wish.

Do you sell books on consignment?
Ever dreamed of having your marvelous first edition collection offered for sale on the Internet with lovely pictures and featured in a unique three dimensional virtual display? Sure, all the time we bet. Whereas we used to discourage consignments because it meant more work for us, we now have a unique and state-of-the-art website that will do all the work for us. Consequently, so long as you promise not to call us up every two or three days to ask if the books have sold, the answer is now yes, we do sell books on consignment. We can also recommend other dealers who might be more appropriate for a particular consignment. We have a standard consignment agreement that can be adapted for use depending on the size and value of a consignment. To see if we would be interested in handling your consignment, contact Tom.

Do you take books in trade?
In general if we are interested in an item we would prefer to buy it outright than trade. We often allow our regular customers to upgrade books in their existing collections - contact Tom for details.

Do you appraise books?
When most people ask us this question what they are really asking is "Do you buy books, and will you tell me what my books are worth so that you, or someone else, doesn't cheat me when I finally want to sell them?" If that is the question you really want to ask, just ask it and we will do our best to answer it fairly and honestly. It is ethically questionable for a dealer to perform a formal appraisal on a book or library, and then attempt to buy that book or library (there are complicated exceptions to this, such as requiring the selling entity to solicit additional independent bids from other sources, but it makes our heads hurt just to think about that, so we just won't do it).

If you really want an appraisal, be aware that this is a professional service that requires time, effort, in many cases travel, and other expenses, and it is not an inexpensive service. That being said, appraisals are often necessary for insurance, income tax, charitable donations, property division, estate purposes, and/or valuation in anticipation of sale. We do perform appraisals for these purposes, and will be happy to let you know our rates, which usually consist of an hourly or daily rate plus expenses.

If I sell a book to you, you're going to mark it up. Wouldn't I do better to sell it myself to some collector?
You might. But then again you might not. If you can eliminate us or any other middle man then who are we to stop you? Finding the right collector is just as challenging as finding the right book. The business of BTC feeds multiple families and so we do of necessity price books higher than what we had to pay for them (aside from the odd, really stupid purchase on our part). But bear in mind that when we buy a book from you and put some higher price on it, you have the cash right away while we may have the book for many years before we find the right collector (or the right collector finds the book). We are known for having top-quality modern first editions - the only way to get them is for us to make reasonable offers for them.

Are there kinds of books that you DON'T buy?
While there are a few exceptions, in most cases neither we nor any rare book dealer will have any interest in book club editions, old encyclopedias, copies marked-up by public libraries and later discarded, or extremely worn copies. We also have little use for most old Bibles, textbooks, paperbacks, later printings unless signed by the author, or uniform sets unless finely bound in real leather (and if you're wondering if your set is, then it isn't). That doesn't mean you should throw these books away - donate them to your local library's annual book sale instead. Feel free to email us first if you want to dispel any lingering doubts that your books are worthless.