Is there a way to keep down the cost of reprints and books in lesser condition?
It doesn't matter if you collect books, toys, cars, dolls or anything else the first of any item is always going to be the most valuable.
Most of you have seen people trying to sell a five-digit Disney title like Dumbo for $10.00. As collectors, you know how to tell the different editions. I would very much doubt that any of you would buy it. Why? Because for one thing you can figure on finding a 42 page reprint for $10 - $15. So why buy a 24 page one for $10.00.. Now you knew that, but someone who remembers that story of Dumbo would probably not. All they know is "I have to have that book", so they pay the price. Now the sellers thinks" If someone is going to pay me $10.00 for that Little Golden Book what can I get for these others that are only a little worn." *Sellers definition of Little Worn: a book that has been teethed on two comers, back cover held on by 1" of paper, Little Johnny colored the faces but it is done neatly) and are you sure this page wasn't supposed be tom in half. I've exaggerated but I'm sure you get the picture.
Now you see this 1st edition of the little worn book and it has a price of $8.00, can you imagine what they would ask for the book in mint condition. $40.00? Do you buy it at this price? If you said yes I either hope the book is very rare and/or it's the only book you need to finish your collection because you just made it harder for anyone to get a fair price from this seller in the future. As with any collectible it is only worth what you feel it is worth. If you feel its worth only $2.00 as a filler until you can find a better copy then buy it. But always keep in mind when buying a lesser quality book, you're probably going to spend more to upgrade it. When you bought that poor book for $ 8.0 0 you just told the seller to charge you more next time for a nicer one.
If you're finding them at garage or flea markets you may get a chance to find a deal. But if you're flea markets are like mine out here everybody's an antique dealer. There are quite a few respectable dealers but we're seeing more and more people selling many different items and experience in none.
If you were to ask fifty dealers where they got their prices that their selling Little Golden Books for, you'd get almost 50 different answers.
They might say, "I got the prices out of the price guide." Did they now. Did they read the price guide to find out about different editions or when the book was really printed. You all have seen books that seller has written 1956 printing on the tag and yet the book shows a picture of Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street on the back cover. I have politely said, "This is not correct". "What do you mean it's not correct the copyright says 1956, see." "But it shows Bert, right here on the back cover , and he didn't become famous until many years later." At his point most dealers say, "Thanks for pointing that out I didn't know". I have also had a few get upset with me for poking my nose in their business. The later being a minority.
Some other methods sellers use to price books are, "Oh, this is an old book.", "Anything that has to do with Christmas people pay more for.", "I just thought it up.", "Well, this book is doll related." and "I think it's cute''. We have all heard remarks like these and many more when out on our quest for Little Golden Books. Because of the different types of people that sell Little Golden Books we are going to see many different prices and hear many different reasons for their prices. I have met people that tell me they got their prices out of my guide. Yet the book is destroyed and they are asking the mint price. Why? Because most dealers do not read guides, they just use the values without any idea of what the mean. I'm not saying that when you see a price in my book that you will buy it for that amount. The prices shown are a guide, they are meant to show which book or type of book will be worth more then another and to give an idea of the approximate value. I had a dealer come up to me the other day with a 7th printing of The Three Little Kittens. She wanted to know if the price she had on the book was a good price. The book was in less than Good condition. The price a mere $45.00. She was really sincere about the question. She said, "This is the first Little Golden Book." "Yes, it is the first story but it's a reprint", I told her. Even if it had been a 1st edition the book in the condition it was in was hardly worth $10.00 let alone $45.00.
So is there away to keep the price of reprints down? Probably not. If you think a book is over priced because it's a reprint, or the condition is bad for the price let the seller know. The seller may not have known that the book was a reprint or had a blemish. Quite a few times I've found that the seller will lower the price. If the price is still not what you feel it's worth don't buy it. Now that doesn't mean it's not going to be sold later to someone else, it just means it's worth more to someone else. Little Golden books are somewhat like a runaway train right now and I have no idea when it's going to stop.