Owning Rare Editions

A rare book in poor condition.

In this day and age of e-books, what has become of the personal library. It used to be that readers prided themselves by the size of their library. It was why we bought the more expensive hardback editions instead of the softback. We wanted a collection to build, one that would be durable. So, do people still collect books or is that going away? In addition, what has become of existing collections? Have they started to become devalued?

I did a little research and yes, rare books are alive and well. So, with that in mind, let’s look at some things you need to know. If you are new to the hobby, there are some ins and out

Rare Book Collecting Tips & Facts

Here are some tips and facts that you should know to build a good collection, enjoy your hobby and not waste all of your money in collecting.

Dust Jackets Are Important

Many people think that that paper dust jacket on the outside of a book do not count, but they do. All else being equal, a book with an intact dust jacket can have double the book value of what one without one has. For rarer books, that amount can go even higher.

This means that you should look for a good dust jacket when you buy a book. It also means not to discard them, even if they are not in perfect condition.

You Do Not Have To Spend Thousands

You do not have to be loaded to start collecting. Sure, you can get a 2000 dollar loan and buy a rare first edition, but you don’t have to go that big. Put together a book collection about things that you like and go from there. Not all of the books will be stand outs, but as a collection, they could be something very special.

You Should Network With Experts

It is impossible to know everything as an amateur, so you need to network with those that know a bit more. This means that you should join rare book societies and form a relationship with the owners of local book stores.

Protect Those Books

Try to find a good, safe place to store those books. There is a reason that most libraries that you see in fancy homes are in interior rooms. You want a cool place that is preferably away from sunlight. Also, the white glove thing is a myth, no need to use them when handling books. They can actually make it easier to tear pages so instead freshly washed and well dried hands work the best.

The Club Is Getting Diverse

Book collecting used to be an old white mans club, but this is not really the case anymore. Everything has gotten much more diverse and it will hopefully continue to do so. This has been a great thing for the hobby as the influx of different cultures and woman has expanded the types of literature being collected.

Pick A Niche

The idea is not to just collect books, it is to build a collection. To do so, choose a niche and a very narrow one. The more narrow that you can make it, the easier it will be to find books. Go too broad and the pool of books is too extensive and it can be overwhelming. Start with a very specific niche and then you can branch out from there later.

Buy In Person

When possible, try to buy your books in person. This gives you the opportunity to carefully examine the physical condition of the book. When you buy online, you are depending on the honesty of the seller and this is not always something that you should count on.

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