Welcome to Peter Harrington Books

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Frequently Asked Questions

Orders, Accounts & Shipping

Can I place an order over the phone?

Yes, of course. Please call us on +44 (0)20 7591 0220 and one of our booksellers will be happy to arrange your order. If you’re calling outside our usual business hours, please leave your contact details on voicemail and we’ll get back to you.

How do I re-set my account password?

You can change your password from the dashboard of your account when logged in. If you have forgotten your password, you can change it here.

Can I return an item?

Yes, you can. All our books are understood to be sent on approval and can be returned if found unsatisfactory for any reason within 14 days. Please see our Returns & Refunds page for more information on returning items.

When you send books, how are they packed?

We have a dedicated shipping department to ensure all our books travel safely. Every book is wrapped in paper, encased in plenty of bubble wrap and other packing material, all enclosed in a sturdy cardboard box. We send books out every working day.


Do you ship books outside the UK?

Yes, we do. We ship worldwide every working day. We offer a variety of shipping options to suit your needs; to see these, click here.


Is there any additional sales tax to pay?

No, there isn’t. Printed books and maps are zero-rated for VAT (Value Added Tax), so there are no additional sales taxes to be paid (or refunded) on printed books or maps. Our prices for prints include VAT, which is refundable for sales outside the EC. Our VAT registration number is GB 701 5578 50.


Are your shipments fully insured?

Yes, they are. Our insurers are Hiscox Syndicate. Our worldwide shipping policy also covers books sent to us for sale; you need to have an agreed provisional value from us before you ship and to keep proof of posting in case of loss.


Do your books come with a certificate of authenticity?

Every one of our books comes with a printed description on Peter Harrington letterhead which acts as a certificate of authenticity. Peter Harrington expressly warrants both the accuracy of the information given in the description and the authenticity of all our books. If you’d like to have a separate certificate for your files, please let us know at the time of your order.

You have two copies of the same book at different prices; why is that?

The prices of our books can vary according to condition. A copy in more appealing collector’s condition will have a higher market value. A signed, inscribed, association, or specially-bound copy will also be more valuable than a regular copy of the book.

Is my personal information kept private?

Yes. Your details will only be used by Peter Harrington to send your orders by post, send requested catalogues or send requested email newsletters. If for any reason you would like us to change or remove your details form our system, you can write to mail@peterharrington.co.uk


I’m having trouble logging in to my online account. What should I do?

Since our new website has launched, existing customers will need to create a new password before they can access their accounts. To do so, look for the 'forgot your password' link on the accounts page, or the bright red 'reset password' button you'll see during the checkout process. If you have any further problems in logging in, please email rob@peterharrington.co.uk


Selling items to us


Do you buy books as well as sell them?

Yes, we do. (We’d go out of business pretty quickly if we didn’t.) We buy books all the time, from all sorts of people and places. If you have something to sell us, you can find out what we need to know here.


If I sell you a book, do I have to bring it to one of your shops?

No, although often that’s the quickest way of doing it. But you can send it to us by post. Our insurance policy covers valuable items sent to us; you will need to keep proof of posting. We’ll also ask you to sign a form confirming that you have full legal title to sell the books and we’ll need some form of ID. But please don’t send us a book until you have our confirmation that we’re interested in buying it.


How will you pay me?

We pay by direct bank transfer to an account in the owner’s name. We can arrange payment in any currency.

Can you sell my book for me?

We don't sell on commission. If your book is suitable for our stock, we’ll make you an offer to buy at fair market value.


Do you auction books?

No, we don’t. We sell our books at an openly advertised price, with no hidden buyer’s premiums. It's a much simpler model.


Do you offer a valuation service?

Unfortunately we don't. But if you tell us about a book suitable for our stock, we will make you an offer to buy at fair market value. Even if you decide not to accept that offer, you will have our professional opinion as to the book's value. If you do happen to be passing us one of our shops with a book, we are happy to give informal appraisals.


Are all rare books valuable?

Rare books are only valuable if people are still interested in reading and collecting them, and if they are in good condition. A book can be both old and rare, but if no one cares about its content, it won't have any significant value. Similarly, a sought-after book in poor or incomplete condition


I have a book with misprints or missing pages – does that make it valuable?

No, it doesn't. Printed books aren't like stamps. Sometimes you’ll read in our descriptions that we identify misprints because they help identify a specific edition or impression, but a book with poorly printed text or bound upside down is just a print-shop accident. It's much less desirable than a copy in perfect condition.


About Peter Harrington


How did Peter Harrington get started?

You can read a history of our company here


I’d love to work in a book shop like yours – how can I get a job with Peter Harrington?

You can find current vacancies here.


Do you find time to read all your books?

We did read them all, once upon a time, but now we’re mostly busy reading bibliographies, bookseller and library catalogues, and the emails we get offering us books. Our specialists are highly educated and experienced; they spend a significant part of their time keeping abreast of their specialist fields.


What’s the oldest book you have?

We regularly have incunabula (books printed before 1501) in stock, which have in the past included the Gutenberg Bible and Werner Rolewinck’s Fasciculus Temporum, published in 1484.


What’s the most expensive book you have?

Our stock changes regularly, but you can view our most expensive items here.


Are rare books a good investment?

Like any investment, there is an element of risk involved in investing in books. Historically, rare books tend to hold their value and have proved to be a sound investment, but we do not advise customers to purchase books solely for this reason. Instead, we recommend collecting based on personal tastes, encouraging our customers to buy something with personal as well as financial value.


Do you attend book fairs?

We regularly exhibit at fairs internationally and are always happy to meet new and existing customers in person. If we’re exhibiting in your area and there’s any particular items you would like us to bring, do get in touch.

Similarly, if you have any items for sale that you would like to bring along to a fair to show to us, contact us in advance. You can see a full list of fairs we’ll be attending in the coming months here.