A Beginner's Guide To Starting A Book Collection

Religion & Spirituality Blog

Book collecting is the practice of collecting old books for the purpose of preservation. It's a quiet hobby for a person who has time, loves research and books, and has room in his or her house. 

Collect Around a Theme

Before you can start an effective collection, first you should narrow your focus to a specific genre and type of books. The more specific, the better. For example, the theme "children's books" is very broad, and the books that you amass for your collection may start to seem random and unrelated. Narrowing your theme to "French children's books of the 1930's" is much more specific. Pick a theme that is meaningful to you, because this will help you retain enthusiasm for your hobby and will also heighten your excitement when you come upon the perfect book for your collection.  

Develop a Relationship with a Few Book Stores

Some used bookstores specialize in specific types of books. Find a few used bookstores, like pioneerbook.com, that you trust. Search their inventory on a regular basis, and develop a relationship with the bookstore owner. If the owner knows what titles you want and/or what type of books you look for, he or she can contact you as soon as something becomes available.

Keep a List of Goals

Once you know which authors in your collection are your favorites, start a list of goals based on the work of these authors. In addition, check the bibliographies of all your books to find more ideas for future books that need to be added to your collection. 

Create a Dedicated Place to Put Your Books

Books need to be kept in a location where they're unlikely to be exposed to temperature extremes and where they're kept dry. A dehumidifier will be necessary if the room is not climate controlled. The shelves where you keep the books should be roomy enough that each book is able to stand on its end without being stacked on or under another book. Keep the book shelves away from direct sunlight. Invest in mylar book covers to ensure that your books are protected from light and damaging UV rays. 

Get Good at Identifying Books in Good Condition

The idea is usually to collect a book as close to its first edition as possible. In addition to being as old as possible, the books in your collection must also be well-preserved. Folded pages, missing pages, broken binding, stains, odors and other damage can lessen the value of your book.  To check the condition of a book, open it up and observe whether or not it lays flat on the table. Look for wrinkled pages (indicating water damage), marks or handwriting on the inside of the book, and evidence of damage from pests (chew marks, stains, etc). 

Looking at many books will make you more capable of identifying which books have the qualities you want. Over time, your collection will grow and your love of your books will deepen. 


12 August 2015

Bringing Prayer Rugs To The Masses

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