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VINE VOICEon February 13, 2002
I bought this book as I was starting into book collecting. But with about 4 months of intensive collecting and study under my belt, I found it not to have too much new or really useful information. Is is, however, very well written and engaging enough that I read the entire book. If you are starting at a slower pace than I did or if you are just thinking about becoming a book collector this is a fine place to start. It has chapter-length overviews of all the important realms and activities of book-collecting. The only weak-spot, but an important one, is in the area of internet books. In being about 2-3 years behind, it is not an adequate introduction to the range of online resources available to the new collector.
Most useful was a list of "1001 more-or-less collectible books" listed by author at the back. (Lacking years of experience, such lists are critical for my reference). This is a useful thing to have around at book sales and the like (along with a good guide to first editions) although not especially wieldy as provided. I found that I finally photocopied the entire section in half-size and ended up with a more useful 5-6 page foldup that I could carry in my pocket. Note that this last section is NOT a price-guide and is not especially discriminatory... for many authors their rarest first book is listed along with much less collectible later works (and since the listings are alphabetical by title, rather than chronological by publication date, you will not be able to use it for parsing-out "first books".
Overall a useful starting resource but one that you will rarely use once your collecting becomes a more serious affair.
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VINE VOICEon October 24, 2000
I started to become interested in book collecting about 2 years ago and this was one of the first books that I purchased. It is an excellent book for a beginning collector. The author describes the history of book production and how books are produced in modern times. There is also a very good chapter on the grading of books, and how to determine if a book is "collectible." Another chapter describes ways to determine if a book by a certain publisher is a first edition. However, if you plan to collect rare, old books then this text may not be the best for you. The focus of this book is on collecting modern first editions.
Although it's full of facts, the book is written in a light, easy-to-read style. The author is an avid book collector and he provides plenty of anecdotes about his experiences.
The author assumes that the reader is interested in book collecting both for pleasure and for profit. He explains in detail how to acquire collectible books as inexpensively as possible by using trade-ins.
The book claims to contain a list of the "1000 Most Collectible Books and Authors." This list is a little subjective however. The author even admits that what may be collectible now, may have little value later. What may be collectible to one person may be just another used book to another. Don't assume that every book on the list will be valuable.
If you collect books, or plan to start a collection, this book should be part of library.
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on March 25, 1998
If you love to buy and collect new or used books, then chances are you have some very collectible books just lying around. Some may be worth a fortune.
A book doesn't have to be old or a first edition Hemingway to be worth money. There are thousands of highly collectible modern first editions. It's easy to find them, too . . . often at prices far below market value.
The secret: Learn which books are in demand (many are more common than you may think), and then try to find them in first editions. Some may be sitting on your shelf right now.
Often, publishers state "First Edition" on a title page, but far from always. And even if you know you have a first edition, how do you know if it's collectible? Ellis gives detailed information on how to identify first editions and books worth collecting. You'll learn about how later editions can be collectible, too.
There's tons of solid, money making advice on how to become a book collector, even if you're on a limited budget, including tips on "avoiding costly mistakes that many beginners make."
Bonus: A section that lists "Over 1,000 Most Collectible Books and Authors."
Best of all: It's fun. You'll learn how to scout for books at major book stores, used book sales, remainder bins, tag sales and more. If you already enjoy buying books, why not turn it into a hobby that pays?
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on July 12, 2005
I am a little unsure of how to rate this book. I first off want to say that it is so well and pleasantly written that you don't want to put it down. This author's love of books is so passionate and evident that you feel drawn into the thrill of his wonderful finds as he goes on his treasure hunts.

As far as useful information, I would say yes, for the rare and antiquarian book collector.

... But I bought this book with the desire to find information on how to find find, buy and sell used books. I don't feel like i got a whole lot of information there. He does talk about used bookstore hopping, but I was hoping to get a little more information than that. This book is also very dated in my opinion. He really dislikes the internet, and his information on the internet, even though revised and updated, seems really out of date. I can't believe he never once mentions Amazon! He does mention ebay,and other internet book/buying/selling arenas, but how can you not mention Amazon, the website that has most effected the bookselling industry?

To sum it up if you are interested in just beginning book collecting of rare books, or if you just want to read a well written book by someone who loves to read, this book is for you.

If you are looking to find information on how to get good books, information on selling on the internet, really this won't be helpful.

I hope my review was a little helpful!
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on October 12, 1999
Ian Ellis a writer of considerable talent - fusing an abundance of information on a many book subjects into a simple form, straight-forward down to earth language. You get a feeling he is right there on the front lines with you with his "pull that dust jacket off and look..."simple approach rather than a teacher/student stinted kind of instruction. And the wide variety of do's, don'ts and watch-out-fors he simply reduces to a logical, methodical approach with his little cautions thrown in where he knows you might fall into a trap are nearly intrigueing. He writes not one-on-one but one-with-one as he takes you with him pinning down tricky subjects like FIRST EDITIONS, buying and selling and so much more. Even what the other guy is probably thinking. What a trip this ELLIS is. You can't wait to see what else he has up his sleeve --to make you a more enlightened buyer, seller whatever your designs are. Top-shelf, down to earth and a gutsy performance worth a lot more than you paid for. Don't miss this one.
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Ian Ellis scores a hit with Book Finds - How to Find, Buy and Sell Used and Rare Books. Many book collecting books tend to be hard reads like encyclopedias. Not so "Book Finds". Ian has a very reader friendly way of writing as he explores the world of collectible books. He explains how to recognize first editions. How to recognize valuable books. Mistakes to avoid. The secrets of professional book scouts. How to care for books and more! The books focus is on modern first editions. He also has a section on purchasing books over the internet. Though I learned a lot from this book there are a few points I disagree with. One is his suggestion that you will get the books you want before others if you sign up with large internet used bookstores to be notified when the books come in. In my experience, by the time you get the notification, the book has usually been sold. If you want a certain book, you must constantly search for it. He also recommends using rubber cement on a sticker on a shiny bookjacket to remove it. A simpler way to remove stickers from shiny dustjackets is an inexpensive product you can purchase at the drugstore called, "Goo Gone". Rub a little on the book. Wipe and sticker is gone - no mess or fuss. He includes a list of authors that will most likely increase in value but does not include book values as they become dated quickly. Though I understand this, a few more examples of how books can rapidly increase in value by giving price information would have been interesting. Overall, I feel the book is an outstanding find for those interested in buying and selling. Well worth the moderate price tag!
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on April 22, 1997
If you are interested in buying, trading, selling, or collecting books for fun or profit,
I would strongly recommend that this should be the first book that you pick up! Mr. Ellis
is very knowledgeable in the field of book collecting and willingly shares that knowledge
with the reader. He also names over 1000 titles that would be worthwhile investments....
if you can find them. There are also terrific tips about caring for your books and thus,
your investments.

This book is written with a sense of humor and wonder that every biliophile can enjoy.
It also makes poking around in new and used bookstores (and Amazon.com) more fun.
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I found "Rare Finds," by Ian C. Ellis a very worthwhile book for the beginning collector. This books covers topics such as finding and trading books and caring for them. It touches on many topics and while this may not be a book for a seasoned collector, beginners will love it.
This book also contains a section of authors who Mr. Ellis recommends to look for. I found this a great part of the book and it lead me to many new authors and books to read for enjoyment as well as to collect.
This is a book that I have took with me book hunting and have used for reference many times.
I was put off by the Goldstones in "Rare and Used," in their dismissal of this book, for I found it most enjoyable, interesting and informative. I recommend it to newcomers in the book collecting world.
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on February 26, 2000
This book was extremely helpful to me, being very inexperienced at book collecting. It is written in a very avuncular style, and is very easy to read and comprehend. Just reading the 1st chapter helped me buy and sell books more knowledgeably! This book is a must-have for any person who wants to get started seriously collecting and selling books. I highly recommend it!
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on December 28, 2004
Bookfinds is about as good a guide as one can get to the used book trade. I am a book dealer (three years on my own) and worked in a large independent store during which time I priced over a million books over the course of five years. Yes, my hand guiding a pencil to physically write a price on over a million different books. This book is geared at the book lover who wants to make their collecting self sustaining or even profitable. I did not think his list of collectible books was worthwhile, but here are the topics in which the advice is most useful:

1) Where to find books

2) How to sell books (but his margins are optimistic)

3) His list of book references

4) Types of books to look for (what type of sports book, what type of theology, etc...)

But the most effective thing Ellis communicates is the mind frame of a book dealer. This is how we think, how we calculate and how we make money. I have a regular route, just like he suggests in the book. I have explored and made money off of every venue he lists. I have made small repairs to improve a book's salability. I have both been helped and hurt by the Internet book market. I take certain types of stock to certain stores in a certain order. Instead of trying to describe what I do, I often recommend this book with, "This is basically right".

This is not a how-to manual in the sense that it will say "Go to website x and put y books at z price online and make big bucks!" Folks, the market changes fast and a book that gives the broad strokes correctly will be of much more use in a year than one that is precise today. I highly recommend Bookfinds for the collector looking for tools to make back some of their investment. But dealers and scouts might find some useful tidbits as well.
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