What Makes a Book a Unicorn?

Example unicorn books

Unicorns are books that are very rare. For a book to be designated as a "unicorn" on Reshelving Alexandria, it must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Least expensive copy available online is $50 or higher

  • Less than three copies available online

  • Publisher did a single run printing, with no plans to reprint


If the original book qualifies for unicorn status but one of the following criteria applies then the book will get the "Unicorn with Reprints Available" icon:

  • A paperback or hardback reprint has become available

  • A digital copy has been made available

Note: Even if a book has been made available on Internet Archive we will still designate it as a unicorn if the other criteria apply.


The original editions of classic books published before approximately 1915 are vintage and often rare, but that alone does not warrant a "unicorn" designation.


Unicorn designations are made primarily at the time the book was added to Reshelving Alexandria. We do our best to keep apprised of which books are highly sought after and have become rare, and will update the status of a book to "unicorn" to the best of our ability.