abe books (1 Viewer)

i know that ABE BOOKS is a reputable and terrific store, but i am wondering how often they are selling those signed, first editions.
does anyone know?
the prices never seem to go down. are the folks that are selling these bukowski books just listing and waiting for prices to go back up?
just curious
 

hank solo

Just practicin' steps and keepin' outta the fights
Moderator
Founding member
Most of the high priced books on Abe seem to stick around for a while - these folks are usually full time book dealers, and they will happily sit on a book in order to get the price they want, at least they will for as long as they can reasonably afford to.
 

ROC

It is what it is
Where to start?

ABE is not a store. It's a site that allows booksellers to post their books for sale. So it's more like a hundred thousand little stores all representing their wares.

Signed first editions come on to the market and (if reasonably priced) get bought up pretty quickly. Some get bought by other sellers and re-enter the market at a higher price. Higher priced items will usually sit for many months or even years, as the seller waits for a buyer to bite.

In my experience with ABE, sellers raise their prices over the years rather than drop them.

I have seen a copy of The Captain start at 7K, go up to 9K, then 10K.
Last time I looked it was at 14.7K.

It seems to me that buyers buy in waves. Little frenzies of purchasing that last for a few months. Ebay may have a lot to do with this. I'm not too sure.

Maybe the ABE sellers with expensive Buk first editions are waiting for just such a frenzy.
 
thanks for both the replies. the way things are now, makes me wonder if conditions will recover in my lifetime. it seems like just a while back that i was able to sell small, signed, christmas greeting editions for over a hundred on ebay. now people seem to be lucky to be able to sell some signed 1st eds for a couple of hundred.
i guess you just have to, 'know when to hold em.'
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
i'm hoping that they are more valuable by the time my kids go to college. i'll probably have already kicked it by then, but then it will be up to my wife to sell my stuff. I fully expect her to sell all of the Bukowski to a reputable dealer and then to sell my BoSP stuff for decades, until it is all gone....

You gotta think long term sometimes.

Bill
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
I don't think the good times are coming back -- ever. Glad I sold some high priced items before the last stock market crash, and got good prices for them. Example: I had two stereo daguerreotype photographs from the 1850s, same subject. Very rare. Sold one on eBay for about $550 before the economy imploded. Listed the other a few months ago and it didn't sell, the high bid of $100 not reaching my $300 reserve. I'll keep it. It may not get back to $500 in value. People don't have money for luxuries, and if they do, they are often afraid to spend it. Buyers are very picky.
 
Damn, Bill. I was hoping that you'd help out my wife with prices after I'd kicked it. I guess I'll have to get my shit together and catalogue and then project back into future better economic times...

As for abebooks; most of the sellers, as mentioned above, just hang on until someone bites. It makes you wonder how much they've made in the past when harboring thousands and thousands of dollars worth of books that noone is buying.

But there are a few good, noteable exceptions there. And their names have been mentioned here more than once or twice...

Edited to add: David - I disagree, but you've been here for a few years longer than I (don't take that the wrong way - I meant you have more wisdom than I, but then again, so does a goat). Still; I see everything as cyclical, and I'll bet that ten years from now things'll be higher in price than they were two years ago.
 

jordan

lothario speedwagon
you really don't think prices will recover? i do - the fact that people are still even paying a couple hundred for a bukowski book during this economy says to me that the bottom will never totally fall out of the rare book market. also, i think as electronic media digests more and more of the "trade" market, the rare book market will thrive by corollary. it may take a few years, but i would be really surprised if books just stopped appreciating altogether.
 
well, there seems to be a little optimism and a little pessimism being voiced here. it will be interesting to see which proves to be right. here is hoping that the optimists win. but having said that, i am wondering if there is such a thing as a 'wish list,' somewhere on this site? does anything like that exist here, where folks that are missing something from their collections can post it?
 

hank solo

Just practicin' steps and keepin' outta the fights
Moderator
Founding member
Phew, that would be quite a list from here. But anyone can post a Wanted Item or List in the Buy/sell/trade, want lists, eBay board.

I'm quite pessimistic, and often wonder what I've been doing buying these books and things which only seem to get cheaper and harder to sell as time goes by. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's thought they're being more than slightly stupid :rolleyes:
 

mjp

Founding member
If you are buying as an investment I can see where you might be concerned these days. But unless you need to sell right now, I think that concern is unwarranted.

To think that the rare or collectible book market will never rebound is a bit weird. Of course it will. No recession or depression lasts forever. We are in the midst of a great buyer's market, and buying now is going to look very smart in 5 or 10 years. People will be talking wistfully about what great deals were around "back then."
 

chronic

old and in the way
"Back then" when very few people could afford to take advantage of it?

I think it might be a long time before prices reach the level they were at in 2007, but yeah, they will eventually rebound. I just hope I can hold on to my collection until I no longer feel like maybe I'd better sell it. Money is tighter for me right now than it's ever been before.
 

ROC

It is what it is
"Back then" when very few people could afford to take advantage of it?

Very few in the USA anyway.

The Aussie dollar just peeped over 90 US cents and we were just rated the second best world economy (for several interrelated, complex and boring reasons).

Things are looking pretty good here.
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
Things may improve a bit, they may get worse. They may get much worse. I doubt we'll get back to where we were in 2007 in my life time. Hope I'm wrong. I don't think this current "depression" is a cyclic thing. I read way too much about the economy, and it seems more like a raiding/pillaging has been occuring. Like, where did all the trillions go they gave the banks? But anyway, some rare books will appreciate, even if the economy stays in the toilet. As long as some people have money, they will buy luxuries, including rare books.
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
"2007 was a bad year" for buyers. The prices were overinflated from the shock of two high end collectors hitting the market at the same time and driving up prices artificially. They are low now, but will go to more realistic levels soon. Don;t expect them to get to the dermaface/stnickl levels for decades. They should not have been there for decades and the ebay wars made many people feel that these were really worth what they were paying for them.

Bill
 

mjp

Founding member
Don't forget that there are people who discover Bukowski every day. You don't have to look any further than this forum to see that. A certain number of them will stay interested, start making money and want the "old" books. That cycle will never end, regardless of what any economy does.

Unless the entire world devolves into a Road Warrior scenario. In which case they will still need the books to use as raw materials for their interesting costumes. Signed colophons on each shoulder pad...a headdress made up of shredded You Kissed Lily dust jackets...that kind of thing. You'll see.
 

LickTheStar

Sad Flower in the Sand
If my copy of At Terror Street ends up as toilet paper for Mel Gibson, I'll be very upset (though I think it more likely he'd use the Torah or something).
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
If we go Road Warrior, all books will become rare because most books will go to being used as fuel. A common Stephen King paperback will trade for a can of beans because it can entertain you during the tv-less evenings, assuming you have candles. A Bukowski paperback will trade for something better, like a box of ammo. A signed Buk with a painting might get you the rifle.
 

Ponder

"So fuck Doubleday Doran"
RIP
Don't forget that there are people who discover Bukowski every day.
Bukowski revival in Holland this year because...
"Buk", a Dutch play in theatres all over the country.

I didn't feel the need to watch this play...
 
It is a market and like any market it is fluid. Chinese jade can be sailing over the moon while English tea cups are free falling. What Bukowski has going for him is that he has really important, solid, inspired work much to do with personal liberation. That is, he seems almost be a tool to help people free themselves to be themselves. Nick and Ross did have a lot of sword fights on eBay but the thing I noticed was that very few collectors fell for hyper-prices. Maybe it made a lot of collectors sorry they didn't sell to them and get in on the action but Nick and Ross made their own bubble. They paid what things were worth to them. It is not like the entire market was up there with them. What is good about the current market is that it shakes out some of the invented collectable stuff and the endless number of Bukowski associated people that wanted to ride his coat tails and make a buck off Buk. Some of that stuff is good but a lot is god-awful. It is Bukowski's work that is important and will continue to be strong. Look at where some of the rare Hemingway items are. Goodness! Bukowski is still way down in the cellar. What also is in his favor is the fact the books are wonderfully unique and limited. How can there be any fun collecting a Stephen King or Updike when every second step your foot hits another one. And as far as supply and demand go, several major collections hit the market in the past five years but they are done and gone. And with no fresh supply (or flood) where can the prices go but up. I never spent a cent on the stock market and I never bought Bukowski because I wanted to sit and watch numbers go up and down and up. I bought his books because I loved the writing, the man and these incredible books Black Sparrow and Loujon put together. A few years passed and I learned they were worth more than I paid. Well what do you know. I want to keep them anyway. I only got into selling when I trimmed my duplicates and sold lesser copies when I found better ones. It is not just about the money it is about the man and his work and those are rock solid.
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
toastedtwice: I'm curious, when you said " And as far as supply and demand go, several major collections hit the market in the past five years but they are done and gone" do you mean the Ecco hardcovers are o.p., or are those titles also o.p. in paperback? I haven't paid much attention to the Ecco releases, other than to buy them as they come out.
 
No, no, I am referring to large and wonderful collections of rare Bukowski books and collectables that have come onto the used and rare book market in the last five years or so. First editions. Signed copies. Books with original art done by Bukowski and so on that go back to the 1960's. There was the big Michael Montfort collection that ended up as a Simon Finch (out of London) special catalogue, the Richard Jones collection that Skyline and Jeff Maser (both very fine and outstanding California book dealers) got, The Thomas Groff collection PBA handled at their San Francisco auction, The Don Klein collection then finally the Black Sparrow publisher's collection that Ralph Sipper of Santa Barbara handled. These were vast and wonderful LARGE collections of Bukowski work collected over decades that hit the rare book market in wave after glorious wave. I'm just saying books from all of those collections are 90% sold and gone and there are no new big collections in sight. With supply cut off, once people realize how dry it really is out there for the very best stuff competition can become very great for the few bones we are thrown. Now the second and third rank material or books are another matter and are all over abebooks.com, eBay and so on. And Bukowski books with troubles like the ex-library copy of Crucifix or the damaged copy of Post Office, recently on eBay, DO NOT TOUCH they are collector poison. Condition, condition, condition! Meanwhile sit back and let's hope another big collection comes along that we can all feast on. The new titles (Ecco Press, City Lights, etc) can easily be obtained from the usual suspects that sell new books. They are there in abundance. My only request is that they bring out a few mass market pocket books of Bukowski. But to answer Buk Babe's original question about pricing on abebooks; I'm going to guess that many booksellers list thousands of titles and they are really not able to go up and down with the market because they are overwhelmed with work. They list things and just keep it where it is and go on frantically listing new things. Not looking back. BUT listings just appearing on abe tend to have more current pricing so when doing a search put in the title and also search under newly listed. And of course as everyone knows, some of the tip top prices on abe are from utterly delusional dealers that obviously have no interest in selling, perhaps they are exhibitionists and they really only want to show off. Steer clear. -tostedtwice, Tokyo
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
Ah, right. "Collections" as in collectors, not as in collected poems. It does seem like bad timing with so many top quality collections all coming up for auction in such a short period.
 
David, excuse me, no, they are not "coming up", they have come and are GONE. And only one of the collections went thru an auction house. The others were handled by book dealers. They came and went. -Tt
 

jordan

lothario speedwagon
not to put too fine a point on it, but stop acting like a self-important blowhard. disturbing news: you're not the only one with "insider" info about the book business or the only person who knows who "jeff maser" or "ralph sipper" is. your first couple posts were pretty informative and well written, but it seems like you're a little too interested in telling everyone what's what. first, there will most likely be more large collections that go on sale in the future, so it is not correct to act like the ship has sailed without us. second, would it make you happier if he had said "coming up for sale" rather than "coming up for auction?" you're awfully hard to please for someone that found this forum a day ago.

okay, everyone, PLEASE make an effort to be a little more precise in your wording, because toastedturds really gets upset when you refer to an "auction" instead of a "private sale" or when you say "coming up" instead of "came up."
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
I bought one book at that PBA/Groff auction and I paid about 25% of the value of the book. I could not have been happier to get that book that I had been seeking for over a decade. If only I had more money, I could have cleaned up. I seem to remember a HB signed 1st of "the Days Run Away" in fine condition selling for a bit over $200. That is an $800 book any day of the week....

Bill
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
David, excuse me, no, they are not "coming up", they have come and are GONE. And only one of the collections went thru an auction house. The others were handled by book dealers. They came and went. -Tt
I meant that in the past tense. I should have said: "It does seem like bad timing for them to have planned yet another auction with so many other top quality collections all coming up for auction in such a short period." or something like that. Sloppy writing on my part. But I understood these all already happened, and remember several of them.
 
wow....thanks for all of that. sounds like someone really knows their stuff.
what in your opinion constitutes a big collection? is it merely a matter of titles, numbers of editions or condition of those editions?
some editions are obviously more coveted than others. but it seems even the most collectible of copies are not moving.
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
These collections that were being talked about were extensive. As I heard it, one of them was (2) copies of every edition of every Black Sparrow book.

Montfort's collection was amazing. Check on abe and you can probably buy a catalog from the Simon Finch Booksellers. Also, the Groff was handled by PBA, and they put out a print catalog.

Bill
 

mjp

Founding member
I don't think the Montfort catalog is available from Finch. I tried to get it from them a long time ago but eventually had to find it on eBay. I suppose it might be on abe too.
 

hank solo

Just practicin' steps and keepin' outta the fights
Moderator
Founding member
I don't think the Montfort catalog is available from Finch... I suppose it might be on abe too.

I think that's what Bill meant. You can always download the pdf from Finch [1.7Mb file], although it is missing the many photographs that were present in the printed version. It certainly was one incredible collection.
 
Abe does have its drawbacks. My wife bought me a birthday present the other day, and it turned out to be no longer available. Some sellers don't update their listings as well as they should.
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
True. My wife works in a bookstore and it's common for them to order a book for a customer off ABE and have it not available, or no response from the seller. On the other hand, I've gotten some great buys on ABE.
 
Goodness! Jordon! What the hell did I do o deserve being slapped in the face and spit on by the likes of you? I thoroughly enjoy things related to Bukowski. I know several fine good people that contribute to this site. I have known about this site and observed from time to time a few years. I merely wanted to step in and say some words in support of the Bukowski market. So, let me see. The first was someone telling me how a keyboard is laid out. Another says they can smell my stink. Ok, ok, got people on a bad day. I add some more remarks and I get another response suggesting they don't get my point at all. Ok, ok, a little bit lost in translation but Jordon your comments are entirely out or order and unforgivable. You do not know the first thing about me or what I do know or don't know about Bukowski. I was not explaining who Ralph Sipper was or the others I was giving a short list of recent major collections sold. Hell Jordan it's like you stood up and took a piss all over my diner plate. Happy? And guess what...I don't need it or you or whatever game your into on this site but watch very carefully you will never..I mean never see me post anything ever again. Hey, nice work jordon.
 

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