The Book Scout

Christina Cooke profiles Wayne Pernu, master of a dying profession:

On the job, Pernu keeps a few principles in mind—first and foremost, the importance of condition. For example, with its original dust jacket, the value of a first-edition “The Great Gatsby” can multiply from two thousand five hundred dollars to more than two hundred thousand. “That little piece of paper on the book is often worth thousands and thousands of dollars, much more than the book itself,” Pernu says. “Specificity is really crucial as well. A book called ‘World History’ isn’t going to do well, but a book called ‘Peruvian Shovel Makers in the Seventeenth Century,’ that’s going to be worth a lot of money to someone. You always get excited when you see something that specific, no matter what it is.”