Sell Old Books Online For Profit

By Joe Waynick

One of the most unique home-based businesses I know is to sell old books online to collectors and bibliophiles around the world.

You see, rare book collecting is a very old and lucrative profession.

For example, imagine if you hit the jackpot and found a book as rare and valuable as a Gutenberg bible; it's worth over one million dollars!

Deep down inside of every collector are dreams of catching a big one like a Gutenberg. But it rarely happens.

Instead, book collectors build income the slow but steady way by improving their knowledge about books, the market segment they've chosen, and strategic pricing.

They're able to locate highly profitable titles by learning about important genres, authors, and specific titles to understand the value of old books.

How To Get Started

One of the first things you’ll need to do is learn the lingo. A good place to start is the Independent Online Booksellers Association website.

If you’re going to sell old books online as a professional, then you need to learn how to act and sound like one.

Old books are more commonly referred to as antiquarian books or antique books and they are usually out of print and very hard to find. But just because a book is out of print doesn’t make it valuable.

There are plenty of books that are no longer printed that have hundreds of thousands of used copies available if not millions. Those kinds of books are neither rare nor valuable. Therefore, you have to know what they're worth before you can sell your old books.

Issue Points

To get really good at spotting valuable books you need to learn how to spot Points of Issue, or what are sometimes referred to by the antique bookseller as Issue Points.

Learning about points is crucial if you want to sell antique books.

I'll give a brief summary of what they are here. But the authority on the subject can be found in a little book called Points of Issue: A Compendium of Points of Issue of Books by 19Th-20th Century Authors, by Bill McBride. You'll want to buy a copy as soon as possible.

Points of Issue are unique characteristics of a book that sets it apart from other copies of the same title. For example, there could be a handful of copies with a particular spelling error, or there can be a sentence or paragraph that’s different than all the other copies in print.

Rare old books could also be autographed, have a different cover or dust jacket, or there could be an identifying mark on the cloth board. Antiquarian bookselling can get very complicated and you need to learn the ropes if you want to sell books online.

One major issue point with which you want to become familiar is how to identify first editions. A great place to start is to buy yourself a good reference book like First Editions: A Guide to Identification, by Edward N. Zempel and Linda A Verkler. That's what I did when I wanted to sell my collectible books.

One of the best ways to become proficient in identifying issue points is to specialize in a select genre of books and become an expert. For example, you can sell old fiction books written by certain authors. Or you could sell old vintage AA books.

Where to Sell Old Books

You need to learn where to sell antique books and get the highest price possible. Most Internet booksellers list their inventory on However, that’s not always the best place for a rare book seller.

There are websites that specialize in providing a marketplace where antiquarian book collectors can find titles for their private collections. That's where I go when I want to sell my old books.

Websites such as,, and provide a unique venue where the general public can perform an old book search and find just about any out of print title in the world, no matter how old and rare it may be.


An antiquarian bookseller must rely on trust, good service, and dependability to maintain a good reputation among his or her peers and colleagues, just like business people in other professions.

Only deal in quality merchandise. For example, if a rare book has on offensive smell, learn how to remove book odors to increase its value and please customers.

Always deal fairly and honestly with everyone you meet. Sometimes the only thing standing between you and that next big sale is the reputation that precedes you when you sell antiquarian books.

* * * * *

Return To Top: Sell Old Books
Go back and read about how to sell old books again.

Return to Home Page: Making Money Online Selling Used Books
A FREE step-by-step guide for making money online selling used books part-time or full-time from the ground up.

Would you like to comment on this article?

Has this article been helpful to you and/or your business? Would you like to add a point or two I may have missed?

Use the form below to create your own webpage on this site and share your thoughts about the article. You can even write an entire article of your own! In fact, comments consisting of 300 words or more receive priority consideration.

Blatant commercial messages will not be posted. In addition, SPAM or inappropriate comments or pictures (in my sole opinion) will be ignored.

Nevertheless, a SHORT promo for your business and a link back to your website at the end of your comments are permitted.

What Other Visitors Have Said . . .

Click below to see what other visitors have said about this article.

Want to sell old and rare books on philosophy of east and west, history, Indian and world religion, dictionaries, and encyclopedias. Not rated yet
My name is Mr. Arun Sharma and I have rare book collections of more than 5,000 books that include the ancient history of Greeks, Romans, Chinese, Indians …

Want to sell old hand writen ramayan & kuran Not rated yet
Dear All; I have two antique books for sale one is Ramayan and other is Quran. If interested kindly call on +919212422283 or mail me at …

Click here to write your own.

Enjoy this page? Please help spread the word! Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.