Define: Book Value

Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Book Value

Quick Summary of Book Value

The book value of an asset or group of assets is the price at which they were originally acquired, in many cases equal to purchase price.

What is the dictionary definition of Book Value?

Dictionary Definition

The value of a security or asset as entered in a firm’s books.

The book value of an asset or group of assets is the price at which they were originally acquired, in many cases equal to purchase price. Book value is therefore relevant in-so-far as it forms the basis of various calculations.

e.g. of nominal capital gains (current value divided by book value), of amortised value (book value adjusted for depreciation) and of several financial ratios (e.g. price to book value [P/BV]).


Full Definition of Book Value

Book value has two accounting meanings. Book value is the value of an asset on a balance sheet, which is the cost of the asset minus accumulated depreciation. Book value also means the net asset value of a company. This book value is calculated by adding all the assets of a firm and subtracting intangible assets and liabilities. A value investor compares a company’s book value to its market capitalization to determine whether its stock is undervalued. A growth investor tends to believe a company is more valuable than its book value suggests, given the expectation of growing profits. Capital-intensive industries usually have higher book value than high-tech industries. Corporate raiders in the 1980s scrutinized book value in numerous U.S. companies. They found companies whose market capitalization was lower than their book value, then purchased shares of stock in those companies. When they gained a controlling share, the raiders frequently sold off the assets of the companies they took over.


Examples of Book Value in a sentence

Liabilities are recorded at book value so that the book value of net worth is zero.

The insured value of the sports car was greater than its book value.

Stocks are selling at more than three times their book value.

An organisations capitalised value may be greater or less than its book value.

According to the MSCI, World financials currently trade at 1.2 times x book value.

We have to assume that the owners of those enterprises acquired them at book value.

Synonyms For Book Value

at book value, carrying amount, carrying value, accounting value, equity value

Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Book Value. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. April 07, 2020
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Book Value. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: April 07, 2020).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Book Value. Retrieved April 07, 2020, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for Book Value are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 4th February, 2020