In the bookshop at the moment the recession is having a strange effect on book prices, for the most part I am putting prices down, our average price for a popular secondhand paperback in very good condition was about £3 a year ago this is now £2.50.
People are selling their books to raise cash to pay essential bills and people are buying secondhand to save money, they call it supply and demand. In the second hand book world I set the price between two customers, with the lower value books the rule is I pay half in exchange vouchers or a third in cash of what it is going to be priced at. Some don’t sell some get reduced damaged stolen so I don’t realise this as a profit.
Customers are customers selling to me or buying from me, something that some secondhand dealers are apt to forget.
At the other end of the scale the scarce antiquarian books are increasing in value more than at any other time I remember, I believe this is because people are investing their money in them because of the fall in the real value of money, for example I have just re-priced a book that I priced 3 months ago at £600 up to £900.
The point here is that it’s not that the book is worth any more, just that £900 in cash 3 months ago is worth £600 now and the only reason we don’t feel this, day to day appears to be that the government are printing non existent money, nationalising banks et al.
As far as I can see if you had bought the book from me in December for £600 and put it on ebay now you would most likely be £300 better off.
A peculiar exception to this in my stock are the mid range local history collectables that I have done cheap reprints of, a year ago the little pile of books on the Goodwin Sands in the picture wouldn’t have left you much change out of £400 now this figure is not much over £200. I can only attribute this to my own reprints, which mean that the 4 star items in any Goodwin Sands collection are now available for about £35 instead of £350.
But I digress hardest hit in the middle are the books that sell new for about £30 a year ago most were priced about £15 now it’s £7 to £12.
Of course the really big question here is with interests rates as low as they are, what will happen when people cotton on to this, has covering the septic loans turned the currency septic?
Click here for pictures of the hardest hit
click on the picture above to expand