I'm aware the questions about the value of a chess set are off-topic, however I'm wondering if questions about book values are on-topic. Specifically, I'm curious about why a certain book tends to be somewhat difficult to find, and is priced so high.

  • As a non-collector, I know when I read about an out of print book, I'd love to know if it's worth the money. Even though I check a lot of books out via interlibrary loan/worldcat, this would be a useful resource to me so I don't use my interlibrary loans on weak books. So I think this is a great question, though I don't know enough site rules to know if it would fit in stackoverflow chess.
    – aschultz
    May 16, 2017 at 1:20
  • 1
    @aschultz: Just look at reviews on Amazon, or read it yourself. If you see value in it when no one is leaving reviews, it's good to ask for someone to leave a review. It's good to ask why it's valuable (the book's main ideas); it's not good to ask why it's difficult to find (the lack of supply or the excessive demand). May 25, 2017 at 19:42

3 Answers 3


I think it's a fine question, as long as you don't ask people for (an estimate of) the value of the book, which is primarily opinion-based (not off-topic, but it will be closed anyway). Incidentally, there's no reason why this shouldn't apply for chess sets, chess clocks and chess computers as well.

The close reason 'primarily opinion-based' reads:

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.

(emphasis mine). I think this could be one of those 'good questions' the reason refers to.


You can ask about the general valuation of chess books in the context of chess, it is probably a valid question. But these days a strong chess engine with a group of humans (seconds) to help with the interpretation of engine evaluations, should render most books unnecessary or obsolete.

Also, similar to computer books, chess books are in a niche market with limited value as their content becomes outdated quickly (reduced information value), even publishers are increasingly switching to ebooks which are sold for a lower price.


No. The answer is simply supply and demand. We can extrapolate this to any valuable object, and find that the answer is the same.

  • 1
    The more I think about it, the more I think that questions like this should be marked as a duplicate. "Why is product X worth P price?", and the answer always has the format of "because of supply and demand".
    – user1108
    May 25, 2017 at 8:19
  • That's not completely true, see money.stackexchange.com/q/79848 for example.
    – Herb
    May 26, 2017 at 5:22

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