About Us


We're grateful that you've stopped by the site for a visit and hope you will return often.

Jon Speed: The Book Scout was established in 1995, just as the internet began to revolutionize the selling of used and rare books.  I got into the trade because it runs in the family: my uncle was Craig Ross, one of the old school gentlemen booksellers who specialized in Americana.  Many of the established booksellers in New York State knew Craig well; he was a great guy to learn the trade from.  He taught me about customer service, pricing, and how to develop an eye for the rare and unusual.  

When we started, we issued printed lists and built a customer base the old fashioned way: we went to book fairs and even ran an open shop for a year or so. We bought and sold whatever we could find (hence, the DBA) and sold a wide range of interesting items in our early years.  The book that started it all was a first American edition of David Livingstone's travels and researches in South Africa.  Other interesting finds included scarce first editions of Agatha Christie, Stephen Crane, Tim O'Brien, John Gardner, John Reed, and many other literary figures.  We also picked up a rare CDV of John Wilkes Booth (the Lincoln assassin), Civil War documents and maps, stereocards of Yellowstone National Park, and more.  

We took a hiatus from the trade from 2005-2007 and are now back selling all manner of used and rare books again.  From September 2014 to September 2019 we sold books from a brick and mortar store in Syracuse.  We moved the business and are now located in Azle, Texas, operating online from our home.  

A Word About Professionalism

Back in the day, a bookseller had to know something about books.  Gentlemen booksellers used standard reference works to research their books and at least attempted to use a standardized format to grade condition of books offered for sale.  Unfortunately, the online bookselling community is not guided by these same principles.  Anyone with a computer, internet access, and the time can become a bookseller.  While there are benefits to this democratization of the book business, there are drawbacks as well.  Shortcomings in accurate descriptions, professional shipping methods, and knowledge of the book trade are common amongst the big database bookselling sites.  

Our goal is to provide you with accurately described and researched books.  If you should have the book, we want you to know why.  If it is rare, we want to prove it.  Our books are shipped quickly and are carefully packaged.  Occasionally we get it wrong, but when we do you are entitled to a full refund, with no questions asked.  

Weekly Theology Email List

If you would like to receive our FREE weekly email update of new arrivals in theology & biblical studies, discounted 20% from our online listings, please email me at [email protected] with the word "add" in the subject line.  These lists are sent weekly and include 25-50 books each week, with at least one featured item which has special significance.  Many of our books never make it to the website because they get snatched up off of the email list.  What does not get snatched up is listed for sale on this site.