Selling Your Collectible Cookbooks
Cookbook Village receives a lot of e-mail from customers asking us how they can sell their cookbook collectibles. The following article covers some considerations for selling your cookbook collection. Though we do not buy-in from private parties, we are happy to share tips on selling so that customers can enjoy the most value from their cookbooks.
Catalog Your Cookbook Collection Prior to Selling
We often get e-mail request for buying-in cookbooks and there is no list attached. Be prepared. You can't spark interest with a buyer or list a vague description of what you are selling. Create a simple old-school list or use a service like eatyourbooks.com to create a library. This will help you stay organized. Later you can reuse details from your catalog in correspondence or sales listings.
Determine The Value of Your Cookbooks
Figure out what each cookbook is worth. This can be a challenge if unfamiliar with pricing. We have several articles on our store blog that will help you assign a monetary value to each cookbook. See How Much Are Your Vintage Cookbooks Worth? and our library of articles under Cookbook Collectibility Reviews, and Top 10 Most Collectible Cookbooks and lastly Cookbooks That Fetch the Highest Prices at Auction. Here below are also some general values you can use as a ballpark guideline:
- Cookbook booklets or pamphlets generally sell for on average for $2/piece. Some can go up to $20 if from the 1800s or very early 1900s.
- Booklets after 1920 will generally sell under $10, wartime booklets may be more easily sold than their 20s and 30s counterparts.
- Vintage and signed cookbooks have a broad pricing range. Please review the articles above to help determine values.
- Other categories of contemporary cookbooks will range from $8-25 on average.
Where to Sell Your Cookbooks
This is one of the top questions we receive. We don't have the perfect answer for you, but can tell you that most used and vintage cookbooks are worth less than $60. There are of course special cookbooks that can sell for several hundred dollars--even a thousand if a rare antique. But, the truth is individual cookbooks are not what will bring you a sudden windfall.
Sell to Book Dealers
You need to look at your collection in its entirety for the numbers to climb. Book dealers don't usually pay more than a couple dollars max (if not cents) per book. If you have something rare--you can better sell it online, on your own. You will earn more. It's comparable to going to a car dealer for a trade-in or selling the car yourself. The direct route will get you a lot closer to market value. If you are on the brink of throwing out or donating the books, and earning market value is not your key goal, then taking your collection to a local used bookstore may be your best bet. They will often trade you for store credit.
Sell as a "Lot" on eBay
If you are trying to earn some quick cash, but want a bit more out of your investment, we recommend selling the collection as a set or "lot" on eBay. The eBay marketplace in our opinion is the best when you want quick turn and the most for your collectibles. Amazon is a good marketplace, but it's hard to get noticed and isn't geared toward selling "lots"/collections. With a "lot" you can sell all the cookbooks in one listing making it less time consuming for you. Sell for at least 7 days. Sell it at auction and start with the lowest price you would be happy with receiving. Don't risk giving it away for a under a dollar. Selling as an eBay "lot" is our favorite option for those unfamiliar with their cookbook values. Let the market tell you what your collection is worth! One important tip is to set aside and pull out any cookbooks you know are worth over $25. Sell those individually on eBay if you have the time (see next option).
Sell Individual Cookbooks on eBay or Amazon
This is for those of you who have a comfort level with selling online, understand the value of your individual cookbooks, and have time for a lengthy sales cycle. If all of the above are true...this route will get you the most money for your collection. We recommend eBay vs Amazon if you don't want to be selling for over a month. If you have a lot of time, Amazon works well for books and draws the largest audience. For quick turn, we prefer eBay. As noted in the "sell as a 'lot'" section above, choose the auction option and start with the lowest price you are willing to accept for each book. If you feel you have a rare find, take it to an expert to get it.
Let a Middleman Sell Your Collection
If selling online doesn't appeal to you and you still want to try to get more than a few cents or dollars per cookbook, take your collection to an eBay middleman. Let them sell your collection for you on eBay. You should be able to find a local resource on Yelp or in your local yellow pages. You'll pay a fee and/or commission on the items you have them sell for you.