Where to buy Ladybird books
One of the best things about collecting old Ladybird books is that it can be an extremely affordable hobby. When I began collecting old Ladybird book, I built up the vast majority of my collection by picking up books at charity shops, second-hand bookshops, car-boot sales and jumble sales. It’s not so easy to do that now. Most shops, including charity shops have (quite rightly) latched on to the fact that Ladybird books are collectable and charge a decent price for them. But if you are able to pick your collection up in this way, it is by far the most satisfying.
When I started collecting, the internet was still fairly young and it wasn’t the best place to find books. That changed very rapidly; as awareness grew that these books were collectable the price you might expect to pay for a book actually went down rather than up because the internet increased availability so markedly. So once you have made the best start you can by picking up books from charity shops and car-boot sales today the cheapest, and certainly the quickest, way to close those annoying gaps in your collection is to buy them on eBay.
2) How to sell your books
“I’ve got some Ladybird Books I don’t mind selling. Do you buy Ladybird Books?”
Not really. Although I’ve always got masses of books available for sale, I’m a collector not a dealer. If you had a huge collection that you didn’t mind selling for peanuts I might be interested 😉 But this would be for the fun of sifting through them and finding possible upgrades. There are a few dealers around who specialise in Ladybird Books. They might be interested – you can find their names easily enough on Google. Or you can sell them on eBay or Amazon; it’s quite straightforward – especially eBay.
What you don’t want to do is spend ages researching them all and making spreadsheets of details you think are significant. This will take you ages and is unwilling to reward you financially. Of the hundreds of titles that Ladybird produced, only a small number have a value to the collector of, say, £50 or more. The vast majority will be worth between 50p – a couple of pounds in very good condition. The trouble is, it’s very hard to give simple advice on which books are valuable and which are not. Age is one factor, condition another – of course – but scarcity and popularity are the main factor and that varies hugely series by series and book by book.
So, as I say, the simplest thing to do is to use eBay. If you use the ‘completed items’ function of the search you can get a pretty good feel prices very soon. The fact is, most Ladybird books from the 60s, 70s and beyond were printed in huge numbers so are worth fairly little today because they are still readily available online. So you’re really looking for the exceptions.
If you have a lot of them and not much time or interest, I’d advise you
a) to only sell sound, usable books – no missing pages, big scribbles etc
b) take lots of photos. Then put them on eBay in large lots but where you can see each spine and cover. Collectors look on eBay. They know what they want. If you have a rare treasure lurking in your collection, it will be spotted by collectors and the bidding will reflect this. Your books will find a fair price.