There's so many factors that go into grading and evaluating a book before buying it. One of the biggest things that can come after the sale is buyer's remorse. So it's a good idea to get into the habit of asking just one additional question about a book. What would that be? I've listed what I would ask in order to make sure I made an educated decision.
- Ask for a picture of the back of the book.
- Ask for closer pictures of anything that you have any doubt on.
- Ask if the book is complete.
- Ask about the condition of the staples.
- Ask to see the inside of the book.
- Ask to see the centerfold to check the staples.
- Ask about how the seller ships books.
- Ask if a video is possible if the pictures leave anything to doubt.
- Ask another friend for their opinion of the book.
- Ask your presser for their opinion of the book.
You'll never know what you could miss. There could be a tear, foxing, fading, writing, wrinkles, staining. All these little things can downgrade your book from the grade you believe it was in. And some times even if it's a good deal, it won't mean anything if the book isn't shipped properly. That's why I always ask about how a seller ships books. Lastly another set of eyes and another perspective will always be a great insurance policy on your opinion. They may bring up something you haven't considered or even knew about a certain book.
Don't worry about annoying or bugging a seller. There's a reason they're selling and if they're professionals they will oblige you. As they know as collectors, often time themselves, that it's important to ask/answer questions. I do recommend if a seller pressures you or if your gut doesn't feel right, respectfully leave the conversation. This is a tactic to pressure you into a sale and can lead to issues in the future.