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How much is your library worth?

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message 1: by Mr. Noah (new)

Mr. Noah Sturdevant (noahsturdevant) | 173 comments Considering paperbacks seem to average about 7.99 on amazon, how much would your entire goodreads library cost to buy today? Obviously public domain, libraries and second hand book stores cut down this price, while hardbacks and other editions would raise it, but I can't think of a more scientific way to approach this.

As for me, I have 1442 novels that I can remember reading. If I were to buy them using the guidelines above I'd be out

$11,521.58

Is it sad that I actually thought this number would be higher? Thank goodness for those libraries and second hand book stores.


message 2: by Alex (new)

Alex Ristea (alexristea) | 644 comments I'd say $5000 just for my SFF books, but that's only because they're more expensive here in Canada, and I'm a sucker for hardcovers and limited editions.


message 3: by Igor (new)

Igor (igork) | 105 comments I would say around 3000$ and I just counted books in my new flat, rest of the library at the vacation house, must be triple the size of this one here.


message 4: by Kristina (new)

Kristina | 394 comments omg I was thinking about this the other day... i don't think i really want to figure it out :P


message 5: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (DawnV) | 93 comments I have no idea. I only track the books I have read since I joined GR and I just started tracking my scientific / policy books so but I know for sure those books are well over $3500 alone.

I think like Kristina maybe I don't want to know lol


message 6: by Jason (new)

Jason (Jzone) | 37 comments Wow, interesting conundrum... I'm in my 40's now and started buying books in my early teens so about 30 years worth. I've purged my collection down to just re-readables 4 or 5 times getting rid of anywhere from 300 to over 1000 each time. That includes hand me downs from relatives, all genres etc. I think we still have around 1000 kicking around the house here between my wife and I. All in all looking at what, around 3000 to 3500 lifetime?

No idea what that would add up to. Current collection is a lot of non fiction, collectibles and hard covers so a good amount.

Lol, I guess I didn't answer the question, but it was a fun ramble. Sorry. :)


message 7: by Elie (new)

Elie Harriett | 56 comments Hmm. The Star Wars hardbacks probably are going for less than a dollar each same with many of the graphic novels.

The first edition, Jonathan Cape Ian Fleming Bond novels, on the other hand....


message 8: by Phil (new)

Phil | 421 comments At around 500 paperbacks, 200 hardcovers, and over 300 non-fiction, my estimate is around 19,000 to replace. Add over 1000 dollars worth of D&D 4th edition rulebooks and countless earlier editions and many boxes of comic books and I'm well over 20,000 dollars.
This is you at 50 kids. =)


message 9: by Daran (new)

Daran | 541 comments I would say that my book collection, including signed copies is worth about, YOU CAN HAVE THEM WHEN YOU PRY THEM FROM MY COLD, DEAD, SHELVES!

Seriously, it's hard to say. I know my average paperback book price is not 7.99. In addition, I've got many vintage books that I got second hand for around three dollars, that I know I could take to a convention and sell for twenty bucks a piece easily.

I've never kept track of what I pay for books. I'm pretty sure I'm happier not knowing.


message 10: by Mr. Noah (new)

Mr. Noah Sturdevant (noahsturdevant) | 173 comments I was just thinking new sticker price, but good point on the signed books. I've got a signed WOT book that I keep hidden from people with sticky fingers.


message 11: by Andrew (new)

Andrew (andrewlinke) | 110 comments I'm just glad that most of my books were acquired second hand... whether from used book stores, family member who were cleaning shelves, or there was this one time when a coworker's uncle died and I helped her empty his apartment. Hundreds of books from that.

This reminds me of (a non book thing) a couple websites that calculate the value of your Steam account. Mine looks ridiculous, but most of the games were acquired on sale or in the Humble Bundles.


message 12: by Micah (new)

Micah (onemorebaker) | 1065 comments My wife's and I's collection is probably worthless to anybody else. But to us those books mean the world. And a lot of back pain when we move. LoL


message 13: by D (new)

D | 9 comments Rough guess...

More than my car, less than my armory.


message 14: by Gary (last edited Mar 07, 2013 11:30PM) (new)

Gary Foss | 302 comments Ugh. This is such a painful topic for me. Some years back I left the country for a few months, and entrusted my possessions, which were mostly books (shelves and shelves of them that I'd been collecting my whole life) to some people who up and sold most of them off as used books at a fundraiser. A fundraiser, mind you, so they copped an attitude about my even raising the value of those books as an argument. "It was a good cause." They probably didn't ask more than a quarter for them. I had some signed first editions. Some very old copies of books that have been reprinted over and over. Dozens of complete series. It still makes me ache. I've reconstructed a lot of that collection, but it's still a massive, irreparable loss. I didn't have an index or anything. I'd guess now it was probably conservatively $10-20,000. Likely more, depending on the value of those signed editions and older books.


message 15: by Mr. Noah (new)

Mr. Noah Sturdevant (noahsturdevant) | 173 comments I just notiiced that the latest episode of Judge John Hodgman deals with book hoarding. Good timing on his part. Mr. Hodgman always has a fun podcast, and I'm not just saying that because I was on it last year to deal with my bat problems ;)

http://maximumfun.org/judge-john-hodg...


message 16: by SporadicReviews.com (last edited Mar 10, 2013 05:04PM) (new)

SporadicReviews.com (Kevin Bayer) (SporadicReviews) | 321 comments I'm moving from Indiana to Seattle, and I just donated practically my entire library to my daughter's current high school that's trying to start their own library. Granted, I didn't have a ton of books, maybe 3 bookcases' worth of mostly SF/F. And I donated a couple of boxes of Christian books to a local church. I have maybe 2 boxes of books left that I either couldn't part with, or haven't read yet.

I've done several purges throughout the years as well, selling to used bookstores for pennies on the dollar or trade-in value. If I'd kept every book I ever bought, I'd have ...well, too many books to compete with the space my family needs to live! ;-)

What's my library worth? Zilch at this point! ;-)


message 17: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (deckfullojokers) | 48 comments Gary wrote: "Ugh. This is such a painful topic for me. Some years back I left the country for a few months, and entrusted my possessions, which were mostly books (shelves and shelves of them that I'd been col..."

Wow. What a horrible story! I'm so sorry--I'm not sure I'd be able to forgive that. Maybe move on, but not necessarily forgive.

I keep trying to cut down on some of my collection, but I find myself disheartened by my recent experience at a used book store. Brought in a ton of good quality and popular books, and they didn't accept all of them and those that they did I got pennies for. So I still have a good amount of books that I really would be okay without, but unsure how to get rid of them, other than a mass donation.

That said, I don't think I've spent too much money on my books and I don't think even so that many are worth that much. Either they're obscure, in bad shape because I bought them secondhand, or one of the millions of a single popular title and edition. :(


message 18: by Trike (new)

Trike | 1490 comments I don't have many "collectible" books, since I don't care about first editions and what-not. If I were able to sell my books at a buck apiece, I'd probably get about $4,000.


message 19: by Trike (new)

Trike | 1490 comments Gary wrote: "Ugh. This is such a painful topic for me. Some years back I left the country for a few months, and entrusted my possessions, which were mostly books (shelves and shelves of them that I'd been col..."

I feel your pain. Last year my mom threw away 105 years' worth of negatives, assuming that we already had prints of all of them (we don't) and that no one would be interested in them (also wrong). This is a woman who never throws anything away, yet for some reason this madness seized her and she tossed these irreplaceable mementos without asking anyone.

I'm the only person alive who's seen a photo of my great aunt sitting side-saddle on a 1922 Indian motorcycle, because I happened to look at the negative when clearing out my grandmother's house.

Breaks my heart and makes me crazy every time I think about it.


message 20: by Scott (new)

Scott | 214 comments I don't have very many valuable books. Most of my fiction books are paperbacks. The most valuable books in my collection are probably the books I kept from law school....or at least the school bookstore would have me believe that lol


message 21: by Gary (new)

Gary Foss | 302 comments Thanks for the words of sympathy, folks. Yeah, I'm still not over the loss. It's not really about the money, it's that I physically cherish my books. I read them like they're treasures. My friends and family joke that when I'm done with a book they can't tell it's been read because I barely crack them open to read. I hold them at a 90 degree angle and then turn to read each page so that the spines are still crisp.... Some books are "working texts" that I'll mark up and make notes in, but most of the time I'm very careful with them. So, my books were mint, or at least in as good a condition as they were when I got them.

Nonetheless, used books are worth less and less these days, especially now that so many things have gone electronic. I've found that reading on a tablet, kindle, nook or phone changes how I approach text quite a bit. I read very different things, make notes in the text, and generally am more relaxed about how I handle it.

However, given that actual hardcopies aren't worth much unless they have some sort of special quality (a first edition of a low print run, or a signed copy) I don't think that collection was worth a lot of cash had I sold them. It was just nice to have them around as reference. It's hard to say how much I could get for those books if I were to sell them these days. Probably ten cents on the dollar for most of them.


message 22: by Christopher (new)

Christopher Preiman | 279 comments When i lost my sight i ended up selling any phisical book that someone didn't want, and i got around $1500 for them all. Though i would guess it would all cost around 10k to buy it all new.


message 23: by Micah (new)

Micah (onemorebaker) | 1065 comments Scott wrote: ". The most valuable books in my collection are probably the books I kept from law school....or at least the school bookstore would have me believe that lol ."

Until you try to sell them back that is....then it's "oh this ratty old thing? Ill give you $10 for it!"


message 24: by Boots (new)

Boots (Rubberboots) | 499 comments I have met people over the years who love collecting books but don't really like to read, they just like books. I always found that kind of strange because I'm the exact opposite.

As much as I love reading I really don't like books. I find that most of the time they smell bad to me, especially ones that are not acid-free. The ones that are full of acid start to self-destruct after a certain amount of time, and the stink that comes off them, I honestly can't hold them far enough away from my face.

Because of that the only books I own are ones that I feel obligated to keep because they were a gift. If I buy a book myself I usually give it away once I'm finished reading it.

But because I don't particularly like owning books means that public libraries are made for me, and I've been very lucky to live in an area that has an incredible library system.

In the same way that libraries work for me, ereader's do as well. A good friend of mine just recently bought me an ereader for no apparent reason, and it turns out that I love it. I've only read one and a half books so far, but I already don't know how I've lived without it. So it's seems like I might be okay with having an elibrary.


message 25: by Mr. Noah (new)

Mr. Noah Sturdevant (noahsturdevant) | 173 comments I would have loved to have a good library growing up, but the scifi/fantasy sections in my area were always pitiful. Within a month I had stripped what few treasures there were to be had from those particular branches and ended up spending about half my income from my high school grocery store book on pilgrimages to the bookstore which was about an hour and a half away. Oh, I'm from Kansas, which might explain a lot of this.


message 26: by Boots (new)

Boots (Rubberboots) | 499 comments Oh wow, do people not read in Kansas? I can't even imagine having to go that far to get to a bookstore.


message 27: by Mr. Noah (new)

Mr. Noah Sturdevant (noahsturdevant) | 173 comments I can't speak for all of Kansas, but many people seemed very confused that I would pay money for a book when I can watch TV for free. Lucky for me, I did eventually find a thrift shop where people would occasionally sell old books. E-readers are about the most wonderful thing ever invented, in my opinion.


message 28: by Gary (new)

Gary Foss | 302 comments Even though books have a low resale value, I always point out to people that if a book costs $20 and you spend 40 hours reading it just once then that's a better deal than the $10 spent on a DVD that you watch five times.

Not that that logic really seems to matter much to the non-readers....


message 29: by Redrosevertigo0 (new)

Redrosevertigo0 | 23 comments I am probably pushing $20,000. I have a lot of coffee table books on History and Art that aren't published anymore. I also have 3 shelves of crafting books which average $15.00 a pop.

Wow! I really need renter's insurance...


message 30: by Redrosevertigo0 (new)

Redrosevertigo0 | 23 comments Oh and most of my collection, except the craft books, was amassed from the awesome biannual book sale we have here. Over 500,000 pieces, arranged alphabetically by topic. My mom and I go early the first morning and stand in line. I bring a little wheeled cart to carry my booty.


message 31: by Jay (new)

Jay (Grimey) | 18 comments I think I probably own around a hundred books @ about £3 each, but that's because at work there's a handful of us that share. So I don't actually own most of the books on my lists here!


message 32: by kvon (new)

kvon | 553 comments I keep my list of books I own over at librarything (what can I say, I like lists) and by Mr. Noah's original post it would be worth about $16,000. Someone pointed out that with an online list you might get reimbursed by the insurance company if anything happened to the house. (I once had about a load of 'important documents' at work freeze dried after a basement water issue, to the tune of about $15000.)


message 33: by Cassandra (new)

Cassandra Davis | 3 comments I have several antique books and way too many hardbacks (I know because I've had to move them 4 times in 4 years). Based on general prices I've found on auction sights and regular retailers, I'd say well over $30,000.

I had a box of (thankfully not rare) books ruined by water damage during our last move. I spent most of that afternoon crying.


message 34: by Sara (new)

Sara (medusasmirror) | 43 comments Mine is kind of hard to estimate because I have lots of hardcovers, audibooks, and advance copies since I work at a bookstore, but if we average all that out to mass market paperbacks it would be $13,575 for 1,699 books.


message 35: by Warren (new)

Warren | 1300 comments Never judge a book by its cover price.


message 36: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 183 comments Physical library alone would likely be $30,000 minimum as I have a lot of text books and reference materials mixed in with my novels.


message 37: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Handel | 123 comments Micah wrote: "My wife's and I's collection is probably worthless to anybody else. But to us those books mean the world. And a lot of back pain when we move. LoL"

I moved two months ago and moving the books... and my bookcases... UUUUUGHHHHH! (But so worth it! I could never give up my books.)


message 38: by Mr. Noah (new)

Mr. Noah Sturdevant (noahsturdevant) | 173 comments Speaking of bookcases, am I the only one who double (or sometimes triple) stacks their books on their shelves? I just don't have enough room in my house for all the bookshelves I would need to display them all properly.


message 39: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Handel | 123 comments Mr. Noah wrote: "Speaking of bookcases, am I the only one who double (or sometimes triple) stacks their books on their shelves? I just don't have enough room in my house for all the bookshelves I would need to disp..."

I have to do that as well. :( And I have a TON of books that are in boxes because I simply don't have the room. I do however have all my fiction books alphabetized by author and my non-fiction by category and then by author so even the ones in boxes are easily found if/when needed.


message 40: by Trike (new)

Trike | 1490 comments Mr. Noah wrote: "Speaking of bookcases, am I the only one who double (or sometimes triple) stacks their books on their shelves? I just don't have enough room in my house for all the bookshelves I would need to disp..."

I turned a closet into a book repository. Who needs clothes, right?


message 41: by David (new)

David (David-J) | 12 comments "Worth" is an interesting concept. I've a little over 3k paperbacks, 2k hardbacks and $1200ish in ebook buys. Of the hardbacks, roughly 600 are signed firsts with roughly 40 of those small-run numbered editions. So, in dollars, assuming I had to buy everything new, about $80k. If I sold it all, maybe $20k. For the joy they bring me, not priceless but pretty damn close.


message 42: by Mr. Noah (new)

Mr. Noah Sturdevant (noahsturdevant) | 173 comments 600 signed? Wow. Did you meet all those authors in person, or get some by other ways?


message 43: by David (new)

David (David-J) | 12 comments I've met a few authors, but the vast majority were bought through reputable sources. The Poisoned Pen bookstore comes immediately to mind for both. Authors often make regular singing tours of new releases and generally don't mind signing prior works as well... assuming you're obviously not trying to take advantage of the situation and there isn't a horde of other fans behind you.


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