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Daniel_B
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Welcome and Introductions

Welcome to the Book Collecting Club. My name is Daniel and I’m the moderator for this message board – which means that I’ll be posting topics for discussion, answering questions, and reading your comments.

One of the most common misconceptions about book collecting is that it requires a great deal of money and expertise. In this forum, the only pre-requisite is an interest in books. All great collectors begin as great readers. What distinguishes a book collection from a book shelf is the unique taste and intellectual curiosity of the person who assembles it. The principles that we’ll discuss here will help novices and veterans alike build upon their interests and collect within their means.

Like many of I us, I began to collect books slowly and without quite realizing it. I spend an enormous amount of my time reading and as a result, I spend an almost equally enormous amount of time haunting my favorite book stores. At some point, I started to purchase hardcover, first editions of the books that I read whenever I was able to. Then one day I woke up and realized that my shelves were completely full and the piles of books on my floor had begun to form a narrow path from my bed to my door….

Of course, the fact that I work in B&N.com’s out-of-print, used and rare department hasn’t done anything to dampen by book-buying habits. During my six years here, I’ve visited countless book dealers and antiquarian book fairs. And in 2006, I was privileged to attend the yearly Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar, hosted by ten pre-eminent book dealers and rare book experts from around the country.

I look forward to talking with all of you about book collecting over the course of the next few weeks and months. Please take a few moments to introduce yourselves and tell us about what sorts of books you collect, or what sorts of books you would like to collect.

Daniel
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Nelsmom
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Re: Welcome and Introductions

Hi Daniel,

I;m Toni and if you have read any ot the other boards you have seen my posts. I read all kinds of books but mostly I like Scirnce Fiction/Fantasy. One thing I do know is that it is really hard to find the early authors especially on a limited budget so I have stuck to a few of my favorites. I am looking for Andre Norton's Children's books because especially here in Utah they are getting put in the rare collections and not being checked out and I would love to have some to read to my Grandnieces and nephew. Also for my own enjoyment. I look forward to what others like to collect.

Toni
Toni L. Chapman
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Everyman
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Re: Welcome and Introductions

Unlike Toni, unless you frequent the less savory corners of BNBC, you're unlikely to have seen my posts.

I'm not sure I belong here, but I'm sure Daniel will have no problem shooing me away if I don't. I'm not really a legitimate book collector; I'm just a book buyer who has lived long enough to have amassed a fairly sizable collection of books and married a woman who is also a book buyer (a couple of years ago, when somebody asked how many books we actually had, I estimated our library at around 12,000 volumes, and it's grown quite a bit since then.) But a book collector, as I understand the term "properly" used, is someone who buys books in some sort of organized process; maybe looking for first editions of certain writers, genres, or ages, or collecting all the editions of a given author, or focussing on a particular period or field of interest.

Me, I just buy books that at the moment I buy them I have a particular desire for some reason to read. I don't think about how they will fit into my "collection," whether they're filling some unfilled niche, or whatever. I just buy what I want to read.

What I want to read is mostly classics and reference works about the classics, English and European fiction up to roughly WWI, philosophy and theology, and a totally random selection of history, travel, and biography. But I have a whole lot of stuff that doesn't fit into any of those categories.

It used to be that about 3/4 of the books I bought were second hand, out-of-print books, but that's less so today because many of the classics are being reprinted. Still, I often prefer a good, clean hardbound Everyman or Collins edition (the old Dent Everyman by preference) to a new paperback.

If a totally random, eclectic book buyer with totally weird and unpredictable tastes is allowed here, I'll stick around. Otherwise, Daniel can send me packing.
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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Wildflower
Posts: 212
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Re: Welcome and Introductions

I too am not sure that I am the sort of "collector" that you are talking about Daniel. My husband and I currently have about 35 shelves of books (Unlike Everyman I am not sure how many books that is). Right now we just paw through new and sometimes used bookstores and purchase whatever interests us (which is alot). We collect, classics, mysteries, some science fiction/fantasy, some contempary fiction, religious, psychology, history, biography and a whole mess of non-fiction in our varied interests like golf, art, photography, nature, cooking, travel etc. I would, however, love to learn about how to search out some nice finds at used book stores - what's worth spending your money on and whats a waste.
I look forward to seeing what direction this board takes.
"It's never to late to be what you might have been" -George Eliot
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Nelsmom
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Re: Welcome and Introductions

I might not be what you call a collector either I just know what I like and go looking for it and still stay within my budget. I think that is the way with most of us. I'm not an expert by any means.

Toni
Toni L. Chapman
Everyone needs some Tender Loving Care
Melissa_W
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Re: Welcome and Introductions

I would collect seriously if I had the money - lack of a disposable income free of school loans, mortgages, and credit card payments seriously cramps my style. Being at the University of Iowa, I have access to a wonderful collection of rare and unusual books, particularly some medical books in the John Martin collection at the medical library (Hardin). The UI Center for the Book is also dedicated to book artistry and printmaking; the students often have wonderful displays of their work.

I've started small with collecting, having first ed/first prints signed by the author while on book tour. I've got books by Jasper Fforde, Jeffrey Eugenides (not a first), Diane Setterfield, and Elizabeth Kostova. Renee Fleming signed not only her book, but also all her CDs I brought along with and was very gracious about it while I made a blathering idiot of myself. My father surprised me a few Christmases ago with a 40th anniversary edition of Fahrenheit 451 signed by Ray Bradbury. Talk about magic.

I love Nicholas Basbanes' books; I started with A Gentle Madness, then moved right along through Patience and Fortitude, A Splendor of Letters, and Among the Gently Mad. His newest, Every Book Its Reader, is a wonderful group of chapters about people who not only collect books, but read them and promote reading.
Melissa W.
I read and knit and dance. Compulsively feel yarn. Consume books. Darn tights. Drink too much caffiene. All that good stuff.
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Melissa_W
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A Tangential Tidbit - A Censorship Display at the UI

On a sidenote, the reason why certain books are so collectible is because they have notoriety. The UI Libraries is has an exhibit (running through June) called "Making No Compromise with the Public Taste" - the censorship/obscentity trials of Joyce's Ulysses and Ginsberg's Howl (the UI Libraries exhibit website - the link is essentially what is contained in the exhibit brochure; if you click on the Bibliography, some of the titles are graphic - just a warning). The neatest things about this display are the original copies of The Little Review and the first editions of Ulysses and Howl on exhibit, on loan to the University. I had a good time walking up and down, reading all the information. Then I wondered how much the books were worth (Howl is signed, it's beautiful) - more than my entire income of my adult life. It made me a little nervous (what if the display glass was alarmed and I got too close???)
Melissa W.
I read and knit and dance. Compulsively feel yarn. Consume books. Darn tights. Drink too much caffiene. All that good stuff.
balletbookworm.blogspot.com
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einsteinscience
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Registered: ‎06-23-2007
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Re: Welcome and Introductions

hi daniel,

i am very interested in collecting some rare books on history,and science. where is a good place to buy or at least look at rare books. right now i am just getting books that i am interested in such as all the dan brown books,freemasonry,holy blood holy grail. someday i want to have my own library with a ladder. is there any book auctions or fairs in virginia that would help out with collecting? i would like to get some of einstein's rare books,writings ect as well as the knights templar documents or whatever still exists.


stephen
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Daniel_B
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Re: Welcome and Introductions


Nelsmom wrote:
Hi Daniel,

I;m Toni and if you have read any ot the other boards you have seen my posts. I read all kinds of books but mostly I like Scirnce Fiction/Fantasy. One thing I do know is that it is really hard to find the early authors especially on a limited budget so I have stuck to a few of my favorites. I am looking for Andre Norton's Children's books because especially here in Utah they are getting put in the rare collections and not being checked out and I would love to have some to read to my Grandnieces and nephew. Also for my own enjoyment. I look forward to what others like to collect.

Toni




Welcome to the Book Collecting Club Toni, thanks for introducing yourself. I think that a lot of collectors are starting to take an interest in sci-fi/fantasy books, which may be one reason that some of your favorite authors are becoming harder to find. But if you're interested in the genre, you're probably aware that some of the best authors aren't well known (yet) and are still relatively easy to find ... best to get your hands on their books while you still can. Who knows, maybe some day you'll have a classic on your shelf. Looking forward to talking to you about book collecting Toni.

Daniel
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Daniel_B
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Re: Welcome and Introductions


Everyman wrote:
I'm not sure I belong here, but I'm sure Daniel will have no problem shooing me away if I don't. I'm not really a legitimate book collector; I'm just a book buyer who has lived long enough to have amassed a fairly sizable collection of books [...] But a book collector, as I understand the term "properly" used, is someone who buys books in some sort of organized process; maybe looking for first editions of certain writers, genres, or ages, or collecting all the editions of a given author, or focussing on a particular period or field of interest.

Me, I just buy books that at the moment I buy them I have a particular desire for some reason to read. I don't think about how they will fit into my "collection," whether they're filling some unfilled niche, or whatever. I just buy what I want to read.




Don't worry Everyman, I'm not going to shoo you away or send you packing. The club is really for anyone who has an interest in books and wants to learn more about collecting. You don't actually have to be a collector to participate. In fact, some of the topics that we'll discuss -- such as how to find hard-to-find books, the history of the book, terminology related to books, and how to care for books -- are related to collecting but should be of interest to anyone who reads a lot. You sound like you fit the bill. And frankly, you sound like as much of a collector as anyone I've met. I should qualify my statement in the other post to the effect that most collectors focus on a few particular areas of interest by saying that all collectors love books and love to read and inevitably end up with many books whose subjects lie outside of their areas of interest. Collecting doesn't mean that you only buy books as objects and only specialize in your area of expertise -- it means that you do these things in addition to reading and buying books for pleasure. It's impossible to be a good collector without also being a good reader. So, welcome to the club Everyman. I look forward to hearing from you in the future.

Daniel
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Daniel_B
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Re: Welcome and Introductions



pedsphleb wrote:
I would collect seriously if I had the money - lack of a disposable income free of school loans, mortgages, and credit card payments seriously cramps my style. [...]

I've started small with collecting, having first ed/first prints signed by the author while on book tour. I've got books by Jasper Fforde, Jeffrey Eugenides (not a first), Diane Setterfield, and Elizabeth Kostova. Renee Fleming signed not only her book, but also all her CDs I brought along with and was very gracious about it while I made a blathering idiot of myself. My father surprised me a few Christmases ago with a 40th anniversary edition of Fahrenheit 451 signed by Ray Bradbury. Talk about magic.




That's great Melissa. I really don't think that you need to be wealthy to collect books. If you like to read, you probably buy a fair amount of books to begin with. The difference between being a collector and being an avid reader really only amounts to choosing to spend a few extra dollars for a first edition of a recently published book that you're interested in, rather than waiting for the paperback to come out. Or better yet, knowing how to find the first edition for a few less dollars than the paperback. Starting small is the only way to start. The best collectors don't pay hundreds of dollars for Hemingway first editions -- they find the future Hemingways of the world and buy their first editions for $10 before the rest of the world catches on. Anyway, it sounds like you're doing this already. Bringing your books to readings to be signed is also a great way to get started. And remember that the extra few dollars you spend on a first edition can turn into an extra few hundred dollars if the book is signed....

Daniel
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Daniel_B
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Re: Welcome and Introductions



einsteinscience wrote:
hi daniel,

i am very interested in collecting some rare books on history,and science. where is a good place to buy or at least look at rare books. [...] is there any book auctions or fairs in virginia that would help out with collecting?


stephen




Hello Stephen, thanks for participating and welcome. I'm a bit partial but I think that one great place to find rare and out-of-print books is in Barnes & Noble.com's very own Used & Out of Print store (click on the Used & Out of Print tab at the top of the page). But to be honest, there can be great rare books just about everywhere you look -- local thrift stores, yard sales, estate sales, even the bargain book bin at the store in the mall. The key is knowing how to find them. This is something that we'll be discussing frequently in the club so stick around. I'm certain that there are some local fairs and auctions in Virginia that I can point you to (and I recommend that everyone with even a passing interest in book collecting take any opportunity that comes their way to visit antiquarian book fairs and auction -- these can be incredibly interesting and educational, even if you're not buying). Let me check on this and get back to you. Thanks Stephen.

Daniel
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CallMeLeo
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Re: Welcome and Introductions

Hi, I'm Leonora. One transition I made fairly recently (in the last five years or so) is from buying paperbacks to buying hardcovers almost exclusively - some new, many old - and that's because of the rising prices of books. I would rather buy an old, inexpensive hardcover than a new, glossy paperback and still feel I've come out ahead because I have generations of wear left on the hardcover, compared to the paperback which can fall apart in my hands as I read it.

I buy fewer books now, mostly classics. I take comfort in my array of books, in the feel of an old book in my hands. When I purchase an old copy of fifty years or more, I feel like I'm carrying on a tradition, that this book has been entrusted to my care. Romatic imaginings, I know.

I'm not a collector, only a book lover, a book buyer, and an avid reader.
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Everyman
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Re: Welcome and Introductions


Daniel_B wrote:
The difference between being a collector and being an avid reader really only amounts to choosing to spend a few extra dollars for a first edition of a recently published book that you're interested in, rather than waiting for the paperback to come out. Or better yet, knowing how to find the first edition for a few less dollars than the paperback. Starting small is the only way to start. The best collectors don't pay hundreds of dollars for Hemingway first editions -- they find the future Hemingways of the world and buy their first editions for $10 before the rest of the world catches on.

Which is fine if you like to buy and read contemporary or reasonably contemporary writers. But if you're a classicist, there are no first editions out there to collect, or if there are, the museums are paying top dollar for them -- try to buy a first edition of the First Folio or of Paradise Lost!

Is there any way for people who prefer pre-20th century (or pre-pre=pre 20th century!) works to get into collecting at a reasonable level?
_______________
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Laurel
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Re: Welcome and Introductions

I'm Laurel, and I collect books mostly to read them, but I do have a small collection of tiny books that must be read with a magnifying glass. Most of them are leather bound. I have recently begun collecting the early Oxford The World's Classics books--the little blue ones that were printed around 1920-1940 or so. I would very much like to find out a good way of locating them.
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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becke_davis
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Re: Welcome and Introductions



Everyman wrote:
Unlike Toni, unless you frequent the less savory corners of BNBC, you're unlikely to have seen my posts.

I'm not sure I belong here, but I'm sure Daniel will have no problem shooing me away if I don't. I'm not really a legitimate book collector; I'm just a book buyer who has lived long enough to have amassed a fairly sizable collection of books and married a woman who is also a book buyer (a couple of years ago, when somebody asked how many books we actually had, I estimated our library at around 12,000 volumes, and it's grown quite a bit since then.) But a book collector, as I understand the term "properly" used, is someone who buys books in some sort of organized process; maybe looking for first editions of certain writers, genres, or ages, or collecting all the editions of a given author, or focussing on a particular period or field of interest.

Me, I just buy books that at the moment I buy them I have a particular desire for some reason to read. I don't think about how they will fit into my "collection," whether they're filling some unfilled niche, or whatever. I just buy what I want to read.

What I want to read is mostly classics and reference works about the classics, English and European fiction up to roughly WWI, philosophy and theology, and a totally random selection of history, travel, and biography. But I have a whole lot of stuff that doesn't fit into any of those categories.

It used to be that about 3/4 of the books I bought were second hand, out-of-print books, but that's less so today because many of the classics are being reprinted. Still, I often prefer a good, clean hardbound Everyman or Collins edition (the old Dent Everyman by preference) to a new paperback.

If a totally random, eclectic book buyer with totally weird and unpredictable tastes is allowed here, I'll stick around. Otherwise, Daniel can send me packing.




Uh oh, Everyman -- I've seen your posts a lot! Does this mean the posts we frequent are unsavory? Actually, I like the sound of that -- at my age, I need all the excitement I can get!
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Everyman
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Re: Welcome and Introductions



Laurel wrote:
I'm Laurel, and I collect books mostly to read them, but I do have a small collection of tiny books that must be read with a magnifying glass. Most of them are leather bound. I have recently begun collecting the early Oxford The World's Classics books--the little blue ones that were printed around 1920-1940 or so. I would very much like to find out a good way of locating them.

Unfortunately, the BN out of print book site doesn't have an advanced search engine (or if it does, it's hidden, so Daniel will have to tell us where it is), so you can't search by publisher or even search only on, say, hardbound books, but if you go to Alibris and go to advanced search (I always wind up in movies first, but find the book advanced search boxes eventually) you can enter a publisher, date range, etc. I just ran a search with Oxford as the publisher, 1900-1950 as the date range, hardbound only, and Worlds Classics as keywords, leaving both the title and author fields blank, and wound up with 175 titles. The cover photo shown is often from a more recent edition, but at least it's a place to start, and you an always email the sellers to get specifics to make sure it's what you really want.
_______________
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Daniel_B
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Re: Welcome and Introductions


Everyman wrote:
[...] if you're a classicist, there are no first editions out there to collect, or if there are, the museums are paying top dollar for them -- try to buy a first edition of the First Folio or of Paradise Lost!

Is there any way for people who prefer pre-20th century (or pre-pre=pre 20th century!) works to get into collecting at a reasonable level?




Definitely ... classic modern (i.e. first half of the 20th century) first editions are the really expensive books these days. There's probably never been a better time for collectors of pre-20th century literature. Prices of antiquarian books were very high in the past not due to demand but because the collector relied on a chain of experts and book scouts to find and correctly appraise and identify the books. Now nearly every book available for sale in the known universe is directly available to you via the internet. And simultaneously, collectors are obsessed with 20th century firsts -- both because the literature is more recent, and because the "first edition" concept is a bit more rigid and firsts are more easily identifiable, and because the books have dust jackets and uniform bindings, etc .... So prices of antiquarian books have come down a lot in some cases. But I won't lie to you and tell you that you're going to find a copy of the first folio of Paradise Lost somewhere for $50. On the other hand, the Baskerville edition is really beautiful (Baskerville was a famed British printer and inventor of the eponymous font) and I've seen those go for around $300. Sure, it's not the first, but I believe it was the first edition produced after Milton's death. Not too shabby.
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Everyman
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Re: Welcome and Introductions



Daniel_B wrote:
prices of antiquarian books have come down a lot in some cases. But I won't lie to you and tell you that you're going to find a copy of the first folio of Paradise Lost somewhere for $50. On the other hand, the Baskerville edition is really beautiful (Baskerville was a famed British printer and inventor of the eponymous font) and I've seen those go for around $300. Sure, it's not the first, but I believe it was the first edition produced after Milton's death. Not too shabby.


What is a good resource book for learning about these editions? I have tended to buy either the earlier Everyman (Dent p;ublishing) editions or modern paperbacks, so really have no idea what's worth buying and at what prices.
_______________
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maude40
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Re: Welcome and Introductions

This sounds like a wonderful addition to the book club boards. I'am a book lover who owns about 2000 books in many genres. I love to read just about everything, especially books about books. I wish I could get my hands on a book that told everything about the book business, publishing, printing, everything. i really would like to know why some books have rough edges and some are smooth. I look forward to hearing about people's collections. Yvonne
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