Selling Russian Books


I have been asked about selling Russian books.  I will give what advice I can, based in part on what I know about buying the same.

As ever, you can try eBay or Gumtree or preloved or Amazon–I suspect Amazon may be more successful if you manage to list on the US version.  The advantage of Amazon in general is that your offering should then get listed on various consolidators like bookfinder.

Then there are businesses who sell used Russian books online–they must get them from somewhere, after all.   Thornton’s (in so far as they are still purchasing–they suggest trying PsychoBabel) and Marijana Dworski Books come to mind.  People do also try selling books on specialist mailing lists such as SEELANGS or RUSSIAN-TEACHING.  I don’t know how successful these attempts are.

Finally, we can ask about second-hand booksellers who tend to carry a significant amount of  Russian stock.  I can think of Anthony C Hall and the Oxford Blackwell’s; possibly the Gower Street Waterstone’s as well.

The practical answer may be that if you already sell books on Amazon and the Russian books you want to  sell are already present in their catalogue, then it’s straightforward enough.  Otherwise, it may not be worth the effort.


8 Responses to “Selling Russian Books”

  1. xixvek Says:

    These are good suggestions, but I think they should be seen in the context of declining interest in used books of all kinds. The site, for instance, seems to focus more and more on e-books and e-audiobooks. Maybe this is an argument for selling as soon as possible, or for focusing on books that are new enough to be under copyright, but old or obscure enough not to be easily available in digital form.

  2. Dominick Says:

    I spent a good bit of time in Moscow 1990-94.when I bought many books written in both Russian and English. I acquired a very fine set (which had been published over several years)of the total architecture recording of all the main buildings in Moscow both from drawings, plans and photos. This is complete with maps and pullouts. There are three volumes and there was a very limited edition since this was meant for a specialist market. I feel that there would be some market here in the West for such volumns but don’t know how to reach that audience. What suggestions might you offer. Thanks

    • Jeff Shaw Says:

      Dominick, I am in a similar situation except that the books I acquired came from a university booksale and 6 of these are pre-revolution, which seems to indicate that these may have considerable value, especially since these art on art, architecture, and archeology. I am writing to you in hopes of learning of effective market approach if you found such. Your guidance, if available, will be appreciated. Thanks.

      • Dominick St Angelo Says:

        Thanks and yes I’m still checking it out an investigating the market.
        I will try some of your suggestions as well, i.e. SEELANGS.


  3. Jack Slep Says:

    Dominic and Jeff, I guess I’m in the same boat. I’m 85, former USAF linguist (interpreter, interrogator, translator–Korean/Cold Wars),and full-time freelancer of 70 different R>E sci/tech journals since 1966. I very recently retired. To the point: During those 6 decades I collected ~500 R, R>E, E>R, RE, ER dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc., many multilingual, on subjects from Astronomy to Zoology, many rare, like periglacial geomorphology, illustrated marine food fishes of the world in 90 languages, birds of Kazakhstan, petroleum geology, archaeology–well, you get the idea. Like you two, I’d like a site/client to sell this career-gathering invaluable (at least to me) collection or individually (I’ve already sold a dozen or so singly or in a batch) at any reasonable price. I’d hate to see them put in the garbage or donated to the basement of some historical/hysterical archive. My casket won’t be big enough to hold them all unless they dump my body in the backyard, and a masoleum to hold all of us is too expensive and depending on which way I go, they may burn up.

    • Dominick St Angelo Says:

      Thank you for your comments and recommendations. I will certainly give it a try especially with the Architecture and art Books.

  4. notesofanidealist Says:

    Dominick & Jeff: from the Russian point of view, what you want to do is look at the recommendations above and see who does art/architecture. Offhand I think that would be Thornton’s or Dworski Books–Marijana is very helpful in my experience. I know nothing about dealers in art books, but a quick Internet search shows that Thomas Heneage deal in Russian-language Russian art books.
    Jack: I think what people normally do is put a notice on SEELANGS and then email out a price list to interested parties.

  5. Rose Says:

    I inherited Russian books printed in Russia where do I sell these old books like volumes of Tolstoy sets

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