National Library Of Australia | FAQs


Find recent, topical or questions of interest here.

Our FAQ information is continually expanding. It contains answers written by librarians in response to questions already asked. Type your keyword into the box and click on “Go”.

Can't find the answer? Submit your enquiry online.

Can you give me information on rare books?

Books become rare only when the demand for them is greater than the supply. The demand for a book is generated by a number of elements which affect a book's desirability and therefore its price. Some of these elements include:

Author's reputation;

Illustrator's reputation;

Publisher's reputation;

Quality of the binding;

Scarcity of the edition;

Whether the books literary genre is fashionable.

Rare books are, by their nature, less common than second-hand books. While there is no clear boundary between rare books and second-hand books for the most part, a second-hand book is a used book that is not distinguished by its edition, provenance, binding, or overall condition; its retail price generally is quite modest.

For more information, including general answers to some frequently asked questions about rare books, see the website Your old books.

The National Library Magazine Sept 2010 includes an article on rare books within our collection.

See also the FAQ Can the Library value an item for me?

Find this topic in E-Resources.

Last update: 2013-04-16 15:36
Author: General Reference Enquiry