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Turn books into bucks at library's 'roadshow'
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GAINESVILLE — Nestled between worn paperbacks and dust-covered yearbooks, there could be hidden treasure sitting on your shelf.

If you have inherited an unusual tome or found interesting books at a yard sale, they may be worth much more than you paid for them.

Whether it’s your great-grandparents’ family Bible or a first edition of "Huckleberry Finn," bring it to the Hall County Library’s Gainesville branch on Tuesday for the Book Lovers’ Roadshow, modeled after the popular television series "Antiques Roadshow."

Valuable books "are not always what you think they would be," said Lisa MacKinney, assistant director of human resources and public relations for the library. "A lot of people assume any old book is a valuable book, and that is not necessarily true."

At 5 p.m. Tuesday, antiquarian book dealer Cliff Graubert will give a brief presentation on how to identify valuable books.

Graubert has run the Old New York Bookshop since 1971, and is a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America.

For 25 years, he ran a store in Atlanta where autograph parties for authors Pat Conroy, Anne Siddons, Terry Kay and others were held. In 1996, he went electronic, and now sells rare books from home via the Internet.

Participants can drop in any time from 5:30 to 8 p.m., and Graubert will give appraisals of their books. The library is requesting that participants bring no more than four books each. Light refreshments will be served.

So how is the value of a book determined?

According to the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America’s Web site, a book’s value is affected by a variety of factors, including the "intrinsic importance" of the work, its scarcity and collectors’ interest in it.

In general, the books most sought after are the great works in the humanities and the sciences, usually in the first editions.

"Condition is very, very critical," MacKinney said.

She said books that sell for a lot of money online, such as old textbooks or craft books, are valuable, as well as anything rare.

Art books, poetry books and African American literature are worth more because there are fewer copies printed, MacKinney said. And you never know what treasures you may find sitting on the shelf.

"A signed first edition in great condition is valuable, but that rare quilting book your grandma handed down to you might be worth even more," MacKinney said.

For more information about the Book Lovers’ Roadshow, call 770-532-3311, ext. 134.