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Bookstore Blog

Collecting Australian Military Unit History Books

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Australian Unit History books are growing in interest rapidly. The interest is not only from family and relatives of those who served in these units, but book collectors also.

Most original 1st edition books, on these Units were done in small print runs and in some cases only available to family members or relatives. This automatically placed them in the rare category, even upon release. Over the years some of these copies, like all books, were damaged, lost, or accidently thrown away, reducing their numbers even further.

Today, due to the increased interest in Australia's past involvement in World War I, World War II, Korea, Malaya, Vietnam and beyond, these books are considered very collectible, and in turn has increased their price.

Luckily, most of these books are now being reprinted in larger numbers, so for those of us who do not own an original copy, will now have the chance to read and own a copy.

If you are a Military book collector already, you would have noticed the difficulty in obtaining a copy of the older rare histories, and no doubt noticed even further, the price you may have to pay to own one.

Rarity & Price?

The rarity of any book will always make a huge contribution to that items sale price. But, rarity does not account for interest or demand. There are no doubt many books that are rare, but if no one has an interest in that title, it won't be worth much. Demand can be the bigger factor in determining what you may/will pay for a book. Auctions can make that point very clear, and some of those high auction prices, are for books that are not that rare!

So, when you are searching for books on Australian Military Units, especially older rare copies, you have to consider that they are rare, and in demand, hence the higher prices. If owning a 1st edition copy is something you may be after, it is no doubt going to be a good investment, as the rarity and demand for these books is growing, and from our experience, quite quickly. This of course should not be your only consideration when collecting these books, the information and histories they contain will always surpass the monetary value.

A great book we recommended is called " Shapping History, A Bibliography Of Australian Army Unit Histories. Syd Trigellis-Smith, Sergio Zampatti Max Parsons. 1996.

This book lists the vast majority of all Unit History books written up to about 1995. This is a valuable addition to a collector’s arsenal, to help you 'tick' off all the books you own, and the books you are still hunting!

Here at booksforever, we have contacts from around the world, and it surprises many of our Customers, that a lot of our books, actually come from outside Australia.

We stock many of these rare and high demand Military books, and some do not come online, as we also offer 'Want Lists' for Customers, who we can sell direct to once we obtain a copy. Due to the scarcity and demand, there are no set times or days when copies may arrive here, they just appear randomly, as we search them out. Hence the reason we always tell our Customers, to check in often, as they do come and more quickly leave, without much notice.

Some collecting pointers:

These are some points to consider when collecting books, whether it be Pre-read 1st editions or Reprints.
1/Quality: Is the book in good quality condition, or is it damaged, falling apart, yellowed/discoloured or does it have a storage odour?

These are questions you should ask before you purchase, so you don't end up with a book in less than collectable condition. Good online bookshops, where you do not have the opportunity to handle the book beforehand, will be happy to answer questions on book condition, or better yet, like booksforever, list them in the description, so you have the information up front!

Are there exceptions?

Yes, some books as mentioned above are so rare, and in some cases so old, it may be a case of buy what you can, or miss out. Under this circumstance, just ensure the price at least matches the condition, (i.e. a good specimen may cost $500, where’ as a poor quality copy may cost $300, so the condition has influenced the price).

You can also buy with replacement in mind. Purchase that copy now, with the idea you will replace it, or upgrade to a better copy in time, then you can sell that one, and put that money towards another rare book.

3/ Is it Hardcover or Softcover?
Hardcover’s are always more desirable than soft covers. The main reason is the quality of the binding and overall presentation. And as mentioned above, hardcover’s usually have a dust jacket, which alone, is worth its weight many times over. The other reason a hardcover is considered better than a soft cover from a collectible point of view, is that 1st editions are more times than not, released as Hardcover’s, and later editions/reprints, or mass market paperbacks, are soft cover.


2/Does it have a dustjacket?
If your book is a hardcover, does it have a dustjacket? Some books are released without dustjackets, or are soft covers, and usually don't have them, but if the book you are purchasing should have a dustjacket, it is always more collectable with one, than without. In most cases, a dustjacket will increase the sale price by a decent percent. As a matter of fact, some rare dustjackets are more sought after than the book itself. The main reason for this is a dustwrapper can have the wonderful original artwork, to visually display the content inside. Also, over time, a lot of dustjackets can get torn and damaged, and searching for a nice clean replacement, can be difficult. When a book is reprinted, the artwork on the dustjacket can change, so the same book can have more than one cover. From a collectors stand point, the 1st edition cover is the best.

At booksforever, we use the above point’s discussed, when we purchase books, for sale on this site. This allows our Customers the option to shop at a bookstore, that has done the hard work for them. We list all the details, and condition of our books, and even go one step further and add a photo, or photos of our listings. This comes close to you being here in person. You are then given the power to buy a book, knowing what you are buying, without concern.

We are also more than happy to provide additional photos when requested.

Booksforever

Copyright

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