Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best methods for buying first edition books?

The best method for purchasing first edition books in terms of lowest cost is to check your local thrift store or garage sale. You can usually find a first edition book for a dollar or two. One major drawback is that you need plenty of patience to wait for the exact title you want to show up on the shelves, and plenty of time to keep checking. But when the right book does come your way, FirstEditionPoints.com can help you verify it by showing you specific identification points for many collectible first edition books.

The best method in terms of time-savings is to purchase online, but you have to be willing to spend a little more money - and in some cases a lot more money. The best online sites in our opinion for buying first edition books are AbeBooks.com and eBay.com, and we have made searching these sites very simple. If you go to any of the FirstEditionPoints.com book identification pages, and look on the right, you will see pre-filled fields and associated buttons for eBay.com and for AbeBooks.com searches. We pre-fill these searches with the best keywords to bring up the most amount of first editions for a particular book.


1. AbeBooks
Let's say, for example, that you are in the FirstEditionPoints.com window for The Grapes of Wrath. If you click on the Find Book button in the AbeBooks.com box, you will get a new window that lists all of the copies of The Grapes of Wrath currently being offered by independent book sellers world-wide. You will get the list in order of highest price to lowest price. We did this because the highest priced books tend to be first editions. But be careful because this is not always the case. So always check the seller's description against the description at FirstEditionPoints.com. In the case of The Grapes of Wrath, purchasing a book near the top of the list will require most of us to take out a loan. But the top books usually have full descriptions and are great examples of how dealers communicate that the book meets all of the guidelines for a first edition. Keep running down the list and see if you can find the least expensive book that meets all of the criteria on the FirstEditionPoints.com page - you can put both the AbeBooks.com and FirstEditionPoints.com windows side-by-side for quick comparisons.

2. eBay
In a similar way, if you click on the eBay Search button, you will go to eBay.com under an equally optimized search. There you will find a mixed bag of editions. Some will be firsts, others will not. Some will say they are firsts when they are not; while others will not say, but the pictures indicate that they probably are. Be careful here because on eBay, highest price doesn't always mean it is a first edition. In fact there are one or two sellers that often sell high priced items, and when you read the fine print they will disclose that the dust jacket is a facsimile or that it is a second printing. Only buy something when you can see from the eBay pictures and descriptions that they match up with the first edition points from FirstEditionPoints.com.

3. Wish List
Also, try using the FirstEditionPoints.com Wish List. From any FirstEditionPoints.com book identification page on the site you can add books to the Wish List. Then you can go to the Wish List window (from the menu) and quickly go into the identification pages for books that you would like to buy. From each page you can in turn quickly search eBay and Abebooks. The Wish List is a great way to check the book market daily for particularly hard to find books.