Sunday, July 30, 2006

Book Collecting

Books are not one of those items, like stamps, that have become synonymous with collecting. Still there are a lot of people out there who enjoy a good time collecting books. If you want to be among them, there are a few things you should know first.

Books are not as common as other items that you may be thinking about collecting. Some people believe that there are tons of copies of every book out there just because they see hundreds in mass market bookstores. That has not always been the case, however, and is not even true with all books printed today. Indeed, many books had runs of only a few hundred or fewer copies. These books are not as easy to find, which is part of the thrill for the book collector.

If you are going to collect books, then you should begin by determining what types of books you want. You may want to start generally. You can collect books from the 1880s or books about Hawaii or something similar. Begin collecting, and when you have a decent number of books, then you can sit down and figure out how you want to focus your collection.

Another strategy is to begin with a small scope. You may want to gather all books about a certain species of bird or all books by a certain author. By doing this, you will be limiting your scope to only a few books. For example, let us say you pick Walt Whitman as the author whose books you want to collect. Well, you are in luck. Whitman only wrote Leaves of Grass, but there are a number of editions of it. I believe there are 12, but I am not absolutely right on that. You would have those 12 editions to collect. Of course, the first couple will be tough to find, but you get the idea.

Collecting contemporary books may be more your thing. You could collect all of the Tom Clancy books there are. He has written, say 20 or 30 books. Start with him and get them all. Go to garage sales or to secondhand shops to check out what they have. Then once you have his books, look for similar authors. You may want to pick Robert Ludlum, John Gardner, or Jack Higgins. Collect their books and then move outward. You would be creating a collection from a very narrow interest to one that has a wider appeal.

To begin your collection, make a listing of the types of books that you would like to collect. Then think about how you will begin your search. Perhaps you will raid the homes of family members. Offer them a little money for every book they have that fits your collection. Then go to the library and find out when they have book sales. Every time you see an ad for clearance sales at bookstores, check it out. You also can check used book sales online, though with shipping, this option may be more expensive.

You can house your collection in a simple bookshelf, which is the beauty of collecting books. If you collect very rare and very valuable books, then of course you will want to keep them in a glass case. Otherwise, you can pick up an inexpensive bookshelf unit and put your collection there. Arrange it so that you can find what you need and then let it sit.

One of the best parts about a book collection really is the fact that you can use the collection. Some collectible items are just for show, but books are useful. On a rainy Saturday afternoon, you can pick up that novel you found but have not read yet. Your children can never claim to be bored, and you have your whole retirement planned with reading.
This collection will be useful in many ways, and it is one that you can keep in a public area of your home. People will be able to check it out anytime, and you can be excited about putting up your new finds. Those reasons are only a few of the ones for you to enjoy your book collection, however. You surely will find more.

By Julia Mercer

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