Most people will attend this weekend's West Virginia Book Festival to search out new books, but Jim Presgraves has his eyes peeled for the old ones.
Presgraves, 73, of Wytheville, Va., is an antique book appraiser. He has attended the festival for the last decade, helping book enthusiasts learn the cash value of their favorite tome.
Appraisals cost $5 a book unless the book isn't worth anything.
"If I don't see any value, they haven't really gained anything," he said.
Presgraves has sold books since he was 12 years old, so he can spot a loser pretty quickly.
He opened "Bookworm and Silverfish," his Wytheville, Va. bookshop, in 1967. He entered the antique book business a year later
"One of my neighbors knew I bought and sold old books. Her uncle passed away, and he'd left his books to a library and they needed an evaluation," he said.
Presgraves said the most valuable book he had was worth $35,000. He doesn't remember the title, but the book was the first to feature realistic-looking pictures of women.
"Before that, they'd always used a stock figure of somebody in long skirts and that was it," he said.
Presgraves won't bring any price guides with him to the book festival - he has almost everything in his head. If a book truly throws him off, he'll break out his laptop.
"If I'm not familiar with the book myself, I'll check it online," he said.
He said seven main factors determine an antique book's worth.