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The pre-War book is a collectable item in Fallout 3 and a miscellaneous item in Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout 4.
A pre-War book is a book that has not been destroyed, burned, or otherwise rendered unreadable. In Fallout: New Vegas the books are extremely common, unlike in Fallout 3, and come in a variety of colors, sizes, and overall variants. In Fallout 3, these books can be sold to scribe Yearling for 100 caps each at Arlington Library.