Second Story Books - Out-of-print, used and rare books in all subjects
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Terms & Conditions

Condition Guidelines

Within our catalog descriptions, we identify the condition of the book first and, if applicable, the dust jacket second. Thus, "F/VG" means that the book itself is Fine and the dj is Very Good. Anything less than VG will be described in more detail for collectible books, while lower-priced books may not warrant a great deal of condition detail in their catalog description.

“Remainder” indicates that the book was returned to its publisher by a new bookstore and is now being sold in a secondary market such as Second Story Books. Publishers mark remainders in a variety of ways and we describe the clipped dj, magic marker dot or line on the textblock or any other “branding” of a remaindered book

“Dampstaining” is mildew residue or what it has left behind. "Water Marking" is actual water spotting or other damage caused by liquid.

In modern usage, octavo refers to a standard sized book, like most novels, approximately 6-8 inches high and 5-6 inches wide. A larger book, between 8-10 or so inches in height or width, is a quarto, while an even larger book is called a folio or elephant folio. Most "coffee table books" are folios. A 12mo is smaller than an octavo and a 16mo is even smaller. Miniature books are usually around 1" x 2".

  • Fine (or mint): In “As New” condition, barely or never opened, often still in plastic shrinkwrap.

  • NF: Only different from Fine in that it has probably been opened, but the dj has no stains, chips or wrinkles and the book itself is pristine.

  • VG+: Some light wear, usually around edges, or what is called "shelfwear" with minor imperfections in the edges. Panels are free of stains or stains are minor, spine may be slightly faded.

  • VG: Has some or all of the following: chips, abrasions, especially corners and spine ends, some staining, spine may be seriously faded, but no major flaws. Minor water marking or dampstaining, minor chips or tears in dj

  • Good: Has some or all of the following: heavily water stained or dampstained, faded spine, abraded corners and unusual wear to the book. Joints and hinges may be shaky as well. At least one serious chip or missing part. Wrinkled closed tears, chipping at the corners of a more than minor nature, long closed tears across either panel, water stains or dampstaining.

  • Fair: Boards detached but present, reading copy only. Major portions of dj are missing but the dj is still intact and all parts are present and hanging together.

  • Poor: Book and dj, if present, are severely compromised. Textblock may have parts missing and pages underlined or annotated.

Payments Accepted

We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover cards, checks made out on U.S. banks, and PayPal. Orders that are placed through our website secondstorybooks.com are 100% secure. Click herefor more information about Privacy & Security.

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If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail us at internetdeskssb@secondstorybooks.com, or phone us at the Internet Desk, at 301-770-0477 ext. 14.


Shipping Information

Our default shipping method for domestic orders is Media Mail, for a charge of $5.00. Expedited shipping via UPS Ground or USPS Priority Mail is available for domestic orders at a rate of $9.00. Additional books in a single shipment via Media will cost $1.50 each and for expedited service, $3.50 for each additional book. You may also add insurance to your order through our shopping cart. Even though we carefully pack each item and our shipments are rarely lost or damaged, we recommend that you insure your purchases. Insurance through UPS and USPS is very affordable. UPS automatically insures items up to a value of $100. If there are any additional costs involved in shipping, we'll email you first to let you know before you are charged. International shipping costs will be billed at "actual cost", plus a modest handling fee.


Buying Guidelines

Second Story Books seeks high quality hardback and paperback books in at least very good condition. We do not buy mass-market paperbacks. Second Story purchases antiquarian, out-of-print and current in-print titles in most disciplines. Second Story purchases both nonfiction and quality fiction with emphasis on books in their original state (dust jackets preferable), advance or review copies and books either signed or inscribed.

Second Story Books actively buys autographs, collectible photographs, signed and unsigned historic documents, newspapers and ephemeral material.

Within those general guidelines, Second Story Books seeks saleable books in almost all categories with the following exceptions: textbooks, magazines (we do buy vintage pre-1960 magazines), encyclopedias, Book Club books, “pop” psych-diet-humor and other “fashionable” or “trendy” types. We also do not buy romance novels, ultra-violent or pornographic material.

We also purchase LPs, CDs, DVDs, art (framed or unframed) and antiques. Second Story Books will purchase entire estates or manage their sale. We travel daily to purchase and/or appraise collections and individual items.

  • The Dupont Circle store buys daily from 10 am until 4 pm. Store credit is offered for most second-hand books; however, cash is given for valuable items (e.g., signed, rare, first editions). We DO offer cash for CDs, DVDs, antiques and artwork. This store does not purchase LPs. 
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