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Determining the Fair Market Value of Books You Donate

Posted by Admin Posted on Nov 30 2018

When you are cleaning house and have a lot of books that you need to get rid of, you might not be sure of their fair market value. Some books are more valuable than others. Factors that go into their value include rarity, condition, age and binding type. If you plan to work with an accountant in Las Vegas for itemizing your taxes, you can use some of these strategies for determining the value of books that you donate to a school, library or another organization.



Type of Book

The type of book plays a role in its value. Mass-market romance novels and mysteries will have a low resale value. In many thrift stores and garage sales, these books are priced around $1 each. Old books with obsolete information may also have a low value unless the book is considered to be rare.



Binding Style

Hardcover books have a higher initial sales price compared to soft cover books. The donation value should be adjusted accordingly. If the binding is made of leather, this is worth more than a cloth binding. An exception to this would be a book made in the 1800s or earlier, which could have a high value if it is in good condition.




For rare or historically significant books, appraisers use a guide that consists of very fine, fine, near fine, very good, good and fair to poor ratings. Those ratings are given based on the conditions of the cover, binding and pages. Books with missing or torn pages would get a lower rating than books that are intact. Stained pages in books would also elicit lower ratings. It is never a good idea to donate books that have been exposed to water or pest damage because pests and mold can spread.