I have recently been listing for sale a number of books from my personal library. When I started to list Ray Brabury's Dandelion Wine (his first novel, published by Doubleday back in 1957) I discovered that I had kept a copy of the ABE listings for that title. I had done the search in November 2001, before I bought the title from a local, used bookstore.
The comparison between the listings and prices from today versus more than 16 years ago provides indications about how the collectible book business has evolved as the Internet has grown.
In 2001 there were 7 first printings of the title offered on ABE. Prices ranged from $500 for a copy with serious problems, to $975 for the next copy, to $2,000 for the highest-priced copy.
Today there are 21 copies of the first printing up for sale on ABE. Prices range from $250 to $2,250. Several of the lower-priced copies have serious condition problems, or are lacking the dust jacket. In contrast, the highest-priced copy is offered at a price that is $1000 higher than the next copy offered. Most copies online today are priced from about $400 to $1000, depending condition.
Not only has the title suffered price depression, but the number of copies available has tripled, and there are many more dealers with this title for sale. Of the 7 dealers offering this book in 2001, only three are currently selling online.
It has been quite a roller-coaster ride since I started selling back in 1994.