Back when I started college and got my first credit card, I built a pretty impressive manga collection. But when I finished college and had to pay that credit card bill, I sold most of my books and only kept the sets that I thought were particularly nifty.
One of the things that I kept was Naoko Takeuchi’s 18 volume Sailor Moon, which (in the English version at least) contains three titles: Sailor Moon (vols. 1 – 11), Sailor Moon Super S (or Supers, or SuperS, vols. 1 – 4), and Sailor Moon Stars (vols. 1 – 3).
And boy, am I glad I kept these. And that I kept them in super pristine “I’m a librarian” condition. Why? Because they’re out of print, and have been for a few years now. Suddenly I’ve become a rare book collector.
I know. Sailor Moon. Really. Who’d have thought it?
Of course, a rare book is only as valuable as what someone is willing to pay for it. So if you think you have a rare book and you want to see what it’s worth, where do you go?
The easy way is to start on the internet with sites like these:
- AbeBooks.com – One of my Sailor Moons goes for $145 here, but that’s pretty unusual.
- amazon.com – Prices here vary from $38 to…$1,499. Wow.
- eBay.com – About $25 here, which is the most reasonable.
Prices vary based on the condition of the books as well. For example, if you just want to read the darn things and not preserve them for the ages, you can easily get a copy for $10 or less.
If the internet is not for you, use the library’s trusty price guides (though I doubt you’ll find Sailor Moon in here):
- American Book Prices Current – “A record of literary properties sold at auction in the United States.” Sounds boring, so it’s probably quite useful.
- Bookman’s Price Index – Many volumes; serious stuff.
And you can look under these subject headings:
Now that I know what Sailor Moon is really worth, you can bet your Silver Imperium Crystals that my books are insured and properly stored. And no, you can’t borrow them.
If you would like to read Sailor Moon, there are a few stray volumes floating around our wonderful county libraries – but don’t get any ideas about them. By the time a library gets through with a book (laminating, recovering, stamping, stickering, and barcoding) it loses its resale value.
The moral of this post? Be nice to your books; you never know what will turn out to be valuable!