books: exceptions to the rule

One of the challenges of the used book business is knowing when to break your own rules, which is tangled up with that perennial question "what books do you buy?"

A while back a fellow brought in a few boxes of bestselling hardcover mysteries.  It's what you'd call a Low Probability Buy- stuff we see constantly in a section with limited turnover.  But you should always keep an open mind when looking at a buy, however unlikely it seems.  One, all it takes is one book to make it worthwhile. Two, because of exceptions to 'the rule', whatever the applicable rule is.

So, this buy didn't have that one great book.
It did have an instructive exception to the rule.
Most of the titles were junk, but he had a long run of the Harry Bosch series by Michael Connelly.  As with any popular series, the first couple of books can be valuable- he didn't have any of those.  What he had were the last ten or so in pristine shape- flawless copies that looked like they'd just been unpacked.  I'm thinking about it.  I check the edition- all Firsts.  I decide to make an exception.

Now these aren't books that are "worth" anything as collectibles, or even as objects usually- there are a billion copies out there and the print runs on the First edition were so massive as to make the designation practically meaningless.

So why buy them?

The amazing condition makes them interesting- not as collectibles, but as objects.  Connelley is a guy who has a following and someone who got into him late and didn't catch the hardcover editions when they came out is going to like them.

Which is what just happened.
A guy bought five of them yesterday and came back today for the rest.

I priced em to move, between seven and nine bucks.  I could legitimately have gone 10-15, but then most of them would still be sitting on the shelf.  Price to sell, not to keep, especially when you're already making an exception.

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