Rare Book Monthly

Articles - January - 2007 Issue

Comparing The Book Finding Sites



Power Book Search accesses 60 sites, about all of the majors and lots of others. Searches only title and keywords together. Shows shipping costs and time. Another site which misses the old books. Link: www.powerbooksearch.com

Vialibri is a new meta-searcher reaching 11 sites, mainly those for old books, including Abe, Alibris, Biblio, Antiqbook, Choosebooks, Maremagnum and even ILAB. Offers an advanced type search. Allows search for just rare books, and finds lots of antiquarian titles most other sites miss. Results include complete descriptions. Where a seller posts the same copy on multiple sites, it shows you the price listed on each, which often differs. You can select the cheapest. Much more suitable for the serious collector than the vast majority of other sites. A major step up. Link: www.vialibri.net

Bookfinder.us is hard to feel good about. They have taken the venerable BookFinder's name and just placed it on the ".us" extension instead of ".com." They search 60 sites including those you would expect. They display shipping and tax. No place to find antiquarian books. Link: www.bookfinder.us

As we noted at the beginning of this article, there are undoubtedly more, but this should be enough to get you started. Except where noted, most do not add anything special to the top rated sites. Most sites seem focused on new and recent used books, and do not find the older pre-isbn material, so they do not offer much to the serious collector. An indication of this is that for all of the sites searched, only a few meta-searchers reach the bookseller cooperatives, Tom Folio, ILAB and IOBA, that tend to offer antiquarian and rare books. For the collector of rare and antiquarian books, the recommended sites are BookFinder, AddAll, BookFinder4U, UsedBookSearch, and Vialibri. You can pick which of these you like best. For new and used books, we have a preference for those search engines that have an advanced search, something that lets you specify more than author, title, or perhaps keywords. However, in fairness to those that do not, many of the sites they search do not provide this data in separate fields, so such attempts will in many cases be futile.

So why do we have all of these meta-search sites? Blame Amazon. They started the idea of paying commissions to other sites who brought them customers. These sites are able to earn commissions when someone clicks through to a selling site and purchases a book. Ideally, once set up, they just do their thing and the owner sits back and collects commissions, although anyone with a website can tell you it rarely runs that smoothly. Still, the struggling bookseller can be pleased to know that someone has figured a way to make money in this business.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b> Ronald Reagan. Series of 37 letters to Senator George Murphy, and related material, 1968-90. £50,000 to £70,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Frances Palmer, <i>Battle of Buena Vista,</i> chromolithograph, New York, 1847. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, the earliest publication concerned solely with chocolate, first edition, Madrid, 1631. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Romans Bernard, <i>An Exact View of the Late Battle at Charlestown, June 17th, 1775,</i> engraving, 1776. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> <i>A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston,</i> English edition, London, 1770. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> William Soule, <i>Lodge of the Plains Indians,</i> albumen print, 1872. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Manuscript document to enforce New York’s “Agreement of Non-Importation” during the heyday of the Sons of Liberty, New York, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Clarence Mackenzie, <i>Drummer Boy of the 13th Regiment of Brooklyn,</i> salt print with applied color, 1861. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Moses Lopez, <i>A Lunar Calendar,</i> first Jewish calendar published in America, Newport, RI, 1806. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b><br>The Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <center><b>Gonnelli Auction House<br>Books and Graphics<br>19th, 20th and 21st April 2021</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br>Atlases and Maps</b
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br> Veneto and Venice, a Selection of Books from the XVI to XX century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br></b>Rossini Gioachino, Baguette de chef d'orchestre appartenuta a Gioachino Rossini, dono del Comune di Passy. 1500 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Manetti Saverio, Storia naturale degli uccelli trattata con metodo. Cinque volumi. 1767. 18.000 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Poe Edgar Allan, Double assassinat dans la rue morgue. Illustrations de Cura. 1946.
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>

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