Finding the best pinball books can be tough. A lot of them are old and out of print or hard to find. I’ve tried to make a list of the 5 best pinball books for collecting, pricing, and repairing your pinball machine. For the person just starting out who is buying games, I’d definitely recommend the Mr Pinball Price Guide below. Although people who have been buying for a while won’t really need it, it’s a very handy guide for those who run into games to buy that they’re not entirely familiar with.
The prices aren’t 100% accurate but they’re close enough to give you a baseline at least. The other books below are good for general pinball knowledge and history. I’ve include Amazon affiliate links to the ones that are actually available there, sometimes these books go out of stock and don’t come back for a while (if ever). So if you’re wanting a copy of some of these books, I wouldn’t wait forever as you never know when they’ll go out of print for good.
The Pinball Compendium series has been described by most as the best overall pinball book today. The 1982 to present edition is the most popular edition, but note that ‘present’ is actually 2011 and not today. It has a lot of interesting facts and background on all of the games made during that period.
Similar to the first book mentioned above, this one is just from a slightly earlier time period.
This book has a lot of fans but like the Pinball Compendium is somewhat out of date with newer titles. It’s also not a complete book like the books above, rather it picks and chooses its games.
Unlike the other books, this book is about competitive pinball and all that goes along with that. The author was a top player before dropping out due to lack of time. The book details his attempt to rise back up the ranks.
The definitive guide for pinball prices, it’s major issue though is that they never seem to produce enough of them. Most of the prices are good for ballpark estimates on average machines. Most collectors use pinside.com for prices but this is a good alternative to have.
Hopefully this list of the 5 best pinball books has helped you find the book you were looking for. Unfortunately a lot of the other books are out of print and hard to find, at least these are still available. Most of the out of print ones though are also pretty outdated, so they may not be as useful as the newer books either. For instance Roger Sharpe has a book that he did in the late 70’s which is one of the original pinball books. It’s hard to find now though, and there are better options available currently. As a book though that captures a moment in time, it’s great (Roger Sharpe is the man who made the shot that helped get pinball legalized in New York in the 70’s).