Reference Price Guide for Books

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Apr 19, 2004
For people relatively new to this field, I was wondering if there is any data regarding pricing of books-mainly the older collectables. I have seen several people's ten most wanted lists etc and it would be nice for informational purposes to have a gauge. As Michael Tennaro has pointed out to me Ebay is a poor place to determine book value. If there was a listing, of say the top 20-30 books, with prices for fine, very good, and good that would be wonderful. I realize prices are subjective but having ball-park figures would be advantageous to new collectors. Since most people already have their lists on computer I am hoping that a minimal amount of effort would be required. Thank you in advance for any help.
Oct 13, 2000
Michael, the short answer is that there is no such price guide for Titanic books, older or otherwise. Speaking as an insider in the used book business, I can tell you that determining a price for a book is as much art as science.

The proliferation of the availability of books on the internet has taken a lot of the art out of the equation, but only for common books. Most used book sellers will go on-line to research pricing and availability. The more copies there are available, the lower the prices are likely to be. Yet even with this resource, you are likely to find a wide range in pricing.

For scarcer books, the internet is not much help as few, if any copies are on-line for comparison. The other part of the equation is that one doesn't know just how long a book has been listed on the net for sale. If you see three or four copies of a title and they are all priced in the $500 to $600 price range, does that mean the book is really worth that much? Or have those books been up there for several years and are simply overpriced? No easy way to tell, unfortunately.

For people new to this subject, the best advice I can give is to use the mega-used book search engines and sort the results by price. The best two sites are AddAll's used site, and good ol' Both these sites search numerous used book sites, so you will get a moderately accurate feel for how available or scarce a title is. Compare condition and pricing and go with what is comfortable for you. This solution is neither perfect, nor foolproof, but it is the best answer to your question.

Here is the link to those two sites:

As time goes by, you will start to get a better feel for what is reasonably priced and what is overpriced.

all the best, Michael (TheManInBlack) T

Patty Miller

Jan 10, 1998
Hi Dr. Michael...I agree with what Michael Tennaro
has to say about book pricing. There are web sites, you can go to as stated by Michael, that
will search several sites and give you many prices. Ebay, quite often, has the scarcer books,
but due to many Titanic collectors , also looking
on Ebay, the books can get very pricey. However,
I have managed at times, to acquire some of the
scarcer books, on Ebay, for a very good price..
simply, I think due to luck and being in the right
place at the right time.

As an added note here, some of the "instant disaster" Titanic books, are common and you will see them listed on many sites and Ebay as well. I would not pay a lot for those books, because you will see them listed every day, on some web site.

And in my case, the value and cost of the book, depends completely on the condition of the book.
I will not buy a scarce book, that is in poor condition, regardless of the scarcity. In time, I have found that the scarce ones, I am seeking,
eventually turn up in pristine condition, it is just a matter of waiting.

Hope this helps, Sincerely Patty Miller
Jul 9, 2000
Easley South Carolina
>>As an added note here, some of the "instant disaster" Titanic books, are common and you will see them listed on many sites and Ebay as well. I would not pay a lot for those books, because you will see them listed every day, on some web site.<<

Some are listed as modern day reprints on Marshall's book for example. Getting the 1912 original may be worthwhile if you're a bona fide collector. If you're simply out for the information, it's probably not worth the bother. Especially since some of the "information" in these "tomes" is often grossly inaccurate.
Apr 19, 2004
Patty and Michael(s), thank you for the feedback. A little while ago someone asked about the general cost of the Filson Young book and I just thought that a range of prices for the most desired books would be of some use. I just do not want to bother the group for guidance unless I have to. However when one spends $400-500 US I guess I will ask. The more time spent "shopping" does give one a general idea and I realize people will come across great deals occasionally. In a way, we are in "competition" when it comes to pursuing an edition we so greatly desire. With collectables, unlike normal consumer products, the web allows us to locate items which years we could never get our hands on, but at the same time drives up the price because the playing field is enlarged. I just come from the school of liking to deal with 3-4 dealers more or less exclusively. If anyone has some names (I have Michael's) I would greatly appreciate it. Tarn has suggested "wish lists" (see marketplace) or exchanges. I am interested in fine/very good only and I expect people to make a profit when selling something, I just don't want to get ripped. Thanks again.


Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us. -Woody Allen
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