Since my high school days I have been collecting a multitude of RPG’s. This is largely in part because me and Curt loved trying new systems and new settings. Over the years we have both found some real gems but I also lost a few things as well. Now that I am older I have been getting books that I either traded or sold because I appreciate them a lot more now plus collecting RPG books is a bit of a hobby in itself.
Let’s face it, books are crazy expensive. Art and production values have skyrocketed book prices so that they reach easily $60 CDN. For someone with a family and a house to pay I have to find other means to get my books so here is what I do.
The used section of your local RPG store:
My local RPG store has a section dedicated to used RPG books. Other stores I have frequented in both Quebec and Ontario have had sections similarly for old books and that is the number 1 place to find your used books. The assortment varies but you get some whoppers sometimes.
Ex: Return to the Tomb of Horrors…$10 and the same for The Ruins of Undermountain 1 & 2.
Sometimes your local store will also have a liquidated section. Books of older editions and companies that went under generally fill these sections.
Wait, it’s not that easy…there is the internet
Be aware of market prices. With Amazon, Ebay, Kijiji and Varagesale (here in Quebec) you need to know your prices to recognize a good deal.
On Amazon sometimes they have an older book in stock still and it’s at a liquidated price. They also have their marketplace however I find the prices on hard to find items get ridiculous.
Ebay is a great place for finding stuff in general and RPG books is no exception however be careful. Some items seem like a good deal but if you look at the shipping for some reason it costs $40 to ship your book. Makes no sense at all but that’s how people scam you into buying their product.
Kijiji is also a great place and generally the prices are much better. People tend to be more reasonable and it’s more personal. Varage Sale is also the same in that your dealing with regular people just looking to get rid of their stuff at reasonable prices. Generally with these two services you arrange for picking up the items yourself or meeting the individual at a specific location so right there your cancelling out any shipping fee’s.
Patience is key
Often I have been wanting to grab a book right away. Who doesn’t get excited at new releases but patience is key. I don’t know how many times that I avoided buying something, felt horrible about missing out on it and only getting it weeks/months/years later.
Return to the Tomb of Horrors is a great example. In the days we played in person I always wanted to get that mega adventure. I looked online and found some at around $80 but for me that was way to much. However I eventually found it in mint condition for $10. It is weird but it happens…and often!
You also need to keep track of what you are looking for and what you have. When you have a lot of books sometimes things fall in a grey area where your not sure you have a certain book but then again you don’t want a double. Use your mobile phone and keep a list of have’s and want’s. Also there are site’s like Goodreads which is a virtual bookshelf of all you have read or want to read.
These days I have been focusing on collecting everything Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition. For me it represented a time where we played often and had some of the best tales. Also I find the books so much more detailed and user friendly. It’s probably because I am already used to them but I love that familiarity. To each their own though.
Finding RPG books both new and vintage at a reasonable price is not hard. It takes some work but if you are patient enough it will pan out in the long run.