Simon Raven, an author who started writing in the 1950s but who’s work is primarily from the 1960s and 1970s, is an excellent read. His greatest work is a 10 part series of novels called “Alms for Oblivion” which are published in 10 separate volumes or in three Vintage omnibus editions published by Random House.
For those of you who haven’t read Simon Raven, he writes in a very funny way, sending up the English Middle and Upper classes and is sometimes disarmingly honest about his bi-sexuality. I can highly recommend his books.
They were introduced to me by a friend of mine with whom I often swap books. Here’s the point. There are three volumes of Alms For Oblivion. Volume one is out of print and will cost you around £25 for a second-hand copy as opposed to the cover price of £9.99. Volume two is also out of print, I was lucky enough to get an ex-library copy at less than £10 but prices are rising fast. Volume three is still available new, for around £5.99 on Amazon but for how much longer?
So, when a book goes out of print, even a paperback which is of no real intrinsic value, its worth rises very quickly as people like me want to complete their set or read an entire collection. Let’s face it, not many people start at volume three and work back to volume one but those who have, and have enjoyed, one book in a series or by a certain author, will pay over-the-odds for a companion book. I should know, I do so.
If you want to make money from dealing in books, the time to buy-in is just before the supply runs out. Of course, investment in, and buying books with the intention of re-selling is a specialist market but it gives you a great feeling if the book that you bought for £5 is now sellable at £10 and you’ve enjoyed reading it in the mean-time.