Yesterday I went into a local used book store, looking for a deal on some new table-top role-playing game books, when I was confronted with some of the most outrageous prices I’ve ever seen. For a USED copy of Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes they wanted $49! For a beat up box of Tarroka cards they wanted $10. And then there was this:
Now I get that if you’re a collector you might be willing to pay $100 for this book, but you’d be a fool to do so. I went on ebay and found a seller offering the very same book with the Loremaster’s book as a companion for $79.19.
Look, you can do with your money as you see fits and if you want to spend collector’s premium prices you can – but don’t do it at a used book store.
Take it from me; I buy a lot of my ttrpg products in second hand stores because I tend to look for older products (I’m a big 2e and 3e nerd). This means that I’ve gotten used to looking for things that are a good value. A bent corner isn’t such a big deal for me, but I’ll be damned if I pay $50 for a regular 2e Monster Manual or Player’s Handbook (which I saw at the bookstore) that’s been used for decades.
When I’m buying older books I expect them to be at a reasonable price. That doesn’t mean a dollar off the cover price. I want them to at least half off, and often I want them to be under $10. Some examples of the kind of deals that I want when I’m looking for used rpg books. A couple of years ago I bought all the 1e hardback for $12 in a used bookstore They were in good condition, with some slight wear on the corners from use. I bought the both Blackmoor d20 setting book Player’s Guide for $7. Last year I got the 3.0 PH, MM, and DMG for $8 combined. These are the sort of deals that I expect when I go into a used bookstore.
They’re the sort of deals everyone should expect to find.
If, however, you’re walking into a used bookstore and finding the price $0.95 off the cover price for a USED copy then it’s time to walk away. That store is telling you that they’re going to be charging you fool prices. They aren’t looking for people who are going to be playing the game and actually reading the books. They’re looking for people who are too foolish to know that they’re getting swindled.
So let’s get back to those 5e books that I was talking about earlier.
Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes was a regular version of the product. There was some slight wear to it and a hint of smoke residue. They wanted $49. At my local game shop, Sci-Fi City, they have the same book for $34.99, new.
What I’m saying here, for all of my readers, is shop around. Find the best deal and never give full price for a used product.