Friday, November 25, 2011

More Chess Books for Sale-- Holiday Special

We have now updated our extensive collection of library books, which includes over 2500 unique titles and more than 500 duplicate books for sale.

You can find the updated book sale prices posted in our club-- BUT-- from now through the end of the Herb Healy event on New Year's Day, club members can take an additional 20% off the listed prices.

We have some real gems and interesting titles among the offered books-- here is a tiny sample.

If you liked Endgame, maybe you should check out Frank Brady's original Fischer biography, written at the height of Bobby' career.

This Averbach book is one of the most respected tactics books ever made.

We have both the hardback and paperback versions of this Polgar book for sale.

How to Beat the Russians, a companion book to Mednis's How to Beat Bobby Fischer, also on sale.

1234 Endgames is another classic, filled with great studies.

Are you stuck at the Class A level? Check out Alex Dunn's advice on How to become a candidate master.


Howard Goldowsky said...

Jason, some of the prices for these books are way too expensive. You can't just go by the Amazon Marketplace price. These prices tend to be inflated for books that have just a few copied available. The sellers inflate prices based on their impression of low supply, but what they don't understand is the very, very low demand for these books. You need to cut prices by 75% on just about everything, if you plan to get rid of stuff quickly. eBay is a much better indicator of current supply/demand dynamics.


Rihel said...

Hi Howard,

Yes, I realize that we are charging a lot for some of these books based on demand-- especially some of the crummy monograph types that are yes rare, but also, not interesting. I will probably cut those. But for other books, we aren't exactly in a super hurry to get rid of the books, and so I encourage the players to think of buying a book as also a donation to the club.

Some of the books are also too pricy because I didn't have time to research properly. Based on eBay searches, I've already dropped some of the prices, especially for Averbach's Tactics book but also for some of the other ones. If people can show me a cheaper online price for a similar quality book, we'll beat that price, let's put it that way.

Andrew Tichenor said...

Hi Jason. This is Andrew Tichenor from the past and I know a good amount about chess books. I would say if you are not in a rush to sell the books, put regular prices similar to Amazon. The club though could sell some at events and increase their revenue though. One thing I saw was you stated items such as "possibly autographed" and one was Fischer. If you send me a copy of the item in question for autograph I can verify it as I specialize in chess autographs. Please email me the Karpov and Fischer ones at and we can go from there. Thanks.

Tony Cortizas, Jr. said...


I feel more like Howard - and I say this as someone who paid $10 for a book. My orientation is strictly Mo' Money! Mo' Money! for the club.

I would approach this much more simply: no research or spreadsheets necessary: not worth anyone's valuable time.

Just simple sticky dot system: e.g. 50cents, $1, $3 and custom price (like the hardcover version of the giant Polgar book.). If it takes more then 1 hour to mark everything for sale, you're putting too much thought into it.

Here's my thinking.

* You may not be primarily driven by getting rid of the books asap; but the books represent an chance to earn a few bucks for the club. But this opportunity diminishes with time, so speed matters. And for much of this material I suspect the chance is zero anyway.

Sentiment aside, chance to sell vs. put them in the trash, that's the reality here. I suspect in most case, you're trying to convince someone to take "trash" home with them.

* No doubt you have a good instinct for the special cases that are worth handling differently.

* Given some super simple pricing scheme, it the book case isn't empty in a year, the rest goes in the trash to make room for more timely donations from members.

Howard Goldowsky said...

I agree with Tony. It's a win-win for both the club and the buyers if the buyers get a real bargain and the club drains, say, even half the books on the list. There are 322 books on the list, and if the mean book price is even just $3, the club can make a quick $500 to $1,000, by selling a fraction.

I would do a quick sort into the following categories:
(1) $0.50 to $1 stuff nobody wants. Even the old MCOs fall into this category. Who the heck is going to want an old MCO, unless they need to fill a hole in their collection? And who collects MCO?
(2) $2 to $5 the majority of books, even if they're selling for $10 at Amazon.
(3) Special cases. Autographs, etc. Even Encyclopaedia of Middlegames doesn't fall here. Put a $5 price tag on it and be done with it. Somebody will be happy and the club will make $5.

At the end of the day, the club could make close to a grand. There are 322 books here. Whatever doesn't sell within a few months, sell as a whole lot or a few lots at eBay.

The other option is to just put the whole set of 322 books on eBay, and be done. That will probably fetch $500 to $1,000, with only a few minutes of effort (plus a trip to the post office and packing). You already have the spreadsheet, which can be copied to the eBay listing.


Rihel said...

Hi everyone,

I appreciate the feedback. We have already actually made over $500.00 on the books since I started selling the duplicates last year, so I know many people are interested in these books. I am also motivated by my recent visit to the Antiquarian book show at the Hynes Convention Center. I saw books in my scientific fields, and other first editions by even recent semi-popular items going for crazy prices. I chatted extensively with a science antiquarian bookseller about various science books I have, and he told me, "Essentially, if there is no market for it, we can create a market for it." Along those lines, I actually suspect that chessbooks are undervalued in the book market, given their high production values (e.g. lots of diagrams), and their out-of-print nature. A serious collector could possibly pay a lot of money for the rarer books.

However, this probably applies more to our actual rare books and not the vast majority of the books we are putting out for sale. I am inclined to try selling them as lots on eBay and make a quick $500-$1000, but, then again, I made $500.00 on just a fraction of the sale collection. So, maybe we should just unload them. If someone has a few hours to spare to organize a massive sell off, it would be a nice benefit to the club.

Also, yeah, many of the books aren't in great condition, so that obviously should reflect on the price, too. Unfortunately, for most of the books, I priced them at home when I didn't see the specific quality of the book in advance.

Rihel said...

Hi Andrew,

We should take a look at some of these signatures. Some I know are legit-- Koltanowlski signed many of the books in our collection, but he signed lots of stuff so that is no surprise. I think the Karpov one is real, but that is only based on the provenance of that book. I could be very much mistaken. I also suspect we have a legit Bent Larson signature, too.

The Fischer one, needless to say, is highly dubious. I looked briefly on-line and discovered that there are many Fischer forgeries out there. I couldn't tell from the examples I saw how plausible this one is. I should add that there is a different signature right with Bobby's, that of the second author of the book, but again, I highly doubt this is will be a real example.

Anyway, I'll try to photograph them and maybe post them online for people to discuss. Could be a fun holiday post with a little detective work to be done.

Ken said...

I have some Karpov, Nunn, Soltis, and Speelman signatures, plus Tal's scribble, all signed in front of me, if those are handy for comparison.

I also have Kolty's signature on a book I mail ordered.

I'm happy to donate a signed photo of a young (~1985?) Kasparov to the club -- maybe it could be sold to raise money, though I don't know how valuable it would be considered. I'm pretty darn certain of the veracity of the signature, although it was not signed in front of me. I believe it was part of his promotional materials circulated for one of his visits to this area. I did use pushpins in the white border to affix it to the wall years ago.