Why I Collect Books: Confessions of a Bibliophile

The Appeal of Acquiring Books

A few of Jaye's books...very few....
A few of Jaye's books...very few.... | Source

Why I Love Books

When I was four years old, my mother taught me how to sound out words. From that simple beginning, I quickly learned to read with an enthusiasm that never diminished. The amazing power of words to form an abundance of riches when strung together in sentences and paragraphs opened a window onto the world in 1947 for a little girl in rural Mississippi. A lifetime addiction was shaped and reinforced each time I hid beneath our long dining tablecloth reading when I was supposed to be outdoors playing in fresh air. I was hooked on books.

Since then, there have been few days when I haven’t read at least one entire book. I started school at age five, immensely bored listening to classmates who struggled to read aloud words already familiar to me.

And so it went throughout elementary school. Living in the country meant riding a school bus for an hour to and from school. Every semester I borrowed the reader—later, the literature textbook—of a girl one grade ahead of me, and read each of these books in entirety before I ever encountered them in the classroom. Boredom was a steady presence during my early school years.

My mother arranged for me to have a card of my own at the public library in the nearest town. It wasn’t long before she had to speak to the librarian and explain I was not to be limited to checking out children’s books deemed appropriate (by said librarian) for my age. My mother gave permission for me to read anything that struck my fancy. How insightful that my Southern Belle mom, intelligent, but not college-educated, should realize how important learning from the printed page already was to me.

By the age of nine I was reading non-fiction that dealt with such diverse topics as hypnosis, Freud and psychoanalysis, the concept of reincarnation, Margaret Mead’s writings about her anthropological studies....my reading tastes were broad. I also read every book in that library about ballet, of which I was enamored after discovering its existence. A chubby child, clumsy and with doubtful equilibrium, I would never dance in the ballet. That didn't stop me from sketching numerous ballerinas in attitude en pointe or arabesque pencheẻ on page after page of my notebooks. I dreamed of being a famous classical ballet artiste —a dream that could not survive. Still, my reading introduced me to the enchanting world of the ballet and fostered my love of the art and its music.

My eclectic and unguided reading, encouraged by a natural curiosity, led me to discover other countries, different cultures and in-depth information about various topics that were only touched on lightly in my school texts.

I became engrossed by literature, particularly that of British origin. I read Dickens, the Brontes (I re-read Wuthering Heights annually for more than a decade), Hardy, Stevenson and Conan Doyle. By the age of twelve, I was already a fanatical Sherlockian. When I entered high school, I knew a little about a lot of things. And my love affair with books was still developing at a steady pace.

It was in the mid-‘60s when the urge grew to, not only read books, but actually own my favorites.Money was then scarce, so I began by choosing the cheapest hardback copies, book club editions. Later, when my income increased, I bought new trade editions at bookstores.

My motive for buying, and collecting, books was simply the wish—no, the need—to possess the copies I loved. I had the physical and emotional need to reach onto a shelf—my very own shelf—pick up a book, hold it in my hands and leaf through the pages. I re-read those books I enjoyed the most, justifying to myself the cost associated with so many purchases. I began to acquire bookcases.

Fifty years later, I've accumulated thousands of volumes that fill the many bookcases which proliferate throughout my home. Many of their shelves are “double-rowed”, with smaller-sized books stored in front of larger tomes. Other books, for which no room at all exists on the shelves (and there’s certainly no floor space available for more bookcases), are stored in packing boxes.

What is a Book Scout?

It wasn’t until a couple of years ago, when I read John Dunning’s mystery novels, The Bookman’s Wake and Booked to Die , that I encountered the phrase “book scout.” Those stories and the information they contained about a reason for acquiring books hitherto unknown to me sparked a flame in my imagination.

For those of you who have read the hub by jstankevicz, Discover John Dunning, the mystery book writer/bookscout , you’re aware that author Dunning is not only a mystery writer and old-time-radio expert, but has been a book collector—a book scout, if you please—for years.

It was from those two Bookman mysteries by Dunning that I learned what the book scout does. Had I been in possession of this fascinating information when I was young and energetic, it’s unlikely I’d have pursued the career I chose (or more accurately, that chose me). I was already obsessed with books. Add to that obsession the thrill of the hunt for valuable collectible books, and I can’t imagine any more satisfying occupation in which to spend your life.

When I began buying books, however, I knew nothing about the potentially lucrative business of book collecting. I simply wanted to own books, lots of them. Over the years, books became my obsession. My family and friends--in fact, anyone who ever helped carry many heavy cartons of books whenever I moved, will attest that I was truly obsessed with the acquisition and custody of books. It was difficult for most people who knew me to understand this passion.

Putting my book-buying into perspective, I daresay I could pay off my mortgage today if I’d saved every dollar I paid for books at retail price during the past 4 ½ decades.

It would be nice at this stage of my life (when my income is limited) to have a lot of pricey mint condition collectibles resting in my bookcases. One or two rare and much-in-demand first editions that appreciated in value by hundreds or even thousands of dollars would be quite a jackpot!

Unfortunately, many of my early books, such as the book club editions, have worth only as reading copies. They are not collectible in the advanced meaning of the word. Even after I began buying trade editions—and many were first editions—I committed what was tantamount to “book murder” (pursuant to book collecting for profit or to own a prized collection) by engaging in a most terrible practice: I wrote my name and the year of purchase in ink on the flyleaf of each volume!

My initial reason for this was simply to indicate proud ownership. After lending many books that were never returned to me, the custom, barbaric though it was, seemed even more important.

If only there existed a magic eraser that would completely eradicate ink from paper.....

All is not lost, however, because a few years ago I discontinued the defacing practice of scrawling my name inside my books. I still didn’t realize the effect it had on collecting. Remember, until I read John Dunnings’ Bookman novels, and the light bulb went on, I still knew nothing about the process of book collecting. I only decided that it was not a good thing to write inside books. Am I glad I finally came to that conclusion. How I wish it had happened decades earlier!

Now, I’m excited about the prospect that I may already own some high-ticket books among my collection. It’s time in my life to begin downsizing: first, my possessions, then my domicile. Parting with a large number of the books I own is the obvious first step. That is not to say I won’t be on the lookout for other books that I can also trade or sell. As I mentioned, learning about the business of book collecting showed me a new avenue to pursue. Besides, I’ve never had the fortitude to pass any type of bookshop without entering its doors.

I’ve been searching through my accumulated volumes, looking for unmarked first editions. Those I’ve found are stored carefully on shelves separate from mere reading copies. I haven’t yet covered the dust jackets with sheets of Mylar, a method for protecting them. That’s next on my agenda—after I complete my search through the many storage boxes where I stored my overflow of books. Alas, I was not methodical in this storage, not organizing them by author or subject. The search so far has been fraught with surprises, most of them not good.

There’s no way I could possibly remember every book that’s crossed my threshold, but I do recall buying many favorites and making some delightful choices upon discovering a new writer whose work I liked.

For example, I’m certain I bought Amy Tan’s first book, The Joy Luck Club , as soon as it became available. I also know it’s one of those titles of which a true first edition is now quite valuable. What I don’t know is how to put my hands on my copy of the book.

I’ve looked through all my bookcases, to no avail. Is it stored in a box? Did I lend it to someone who didn’t give it back to me? (This is the most likely scenario.) If I do find it, will it have my worthless signature scrawled across the flyleaf, making the book essentially worthless to a collector? Until I find it (if I do), I won’t know whether I have an edition of Tan’s book that I can sell for a nice profit or whether it will remain just another reading copy for which to find space. Meanwhile, I can hope, can’t I?

Using reference books and the Internet for assessing value (plus engaging in a lot more study about how to do this well), I plan to price any unblemished first editions I own that are in demand and sell them. While I don’t expect to earn enough to pay off my mortgage, who knows? My books may at least make a few house payments.

Not a bad exchange, from my point of view....especially since I also had the great pleasure of reading them...many of them more than once.

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The Joy of Reading a New Book

Opening a brand-new book for the first time is like Christmas morning and my birthday all rolled into one!
Opening a brand-new book for the first time is like Christmas morning and my birthday all rolled into one! | Source

© 2010 Jaye Denman

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Comments 51 comments

Julie K Henderson profile image

Julie K Henderson 22 months ago

I think little compares to the smell of books. My friends do not understand why I don't buy a Kindle and start reading books on a screen. I insist on having books I can touch and smell. Thank you for sharing your story of that long ago summer assisting in the library. Take care, Julie

JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 22 months ago from Deep South, USA Author

I've always felt the same about libraries. I even love the smell of a building full of books! When I was fourteen, I spent the summer as a public library assistant, doing all sorts of tasks and reading stories to children. I got first dibs on any new books that arrived. That was a heavenly summer. Regards, Jaye

Julie K Henderson profile image

Julie K Henderson 22 months ago

Even as a young child I thought the library was the most fantastic place. It's hard for me to resist visiting libraries when I travel. Take care.

JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 22 months ago from Deep South, USA Author

Julie - In spite of the wide gap in our ages (I'm 71), we are sisters under the skin. I, too, cannot imagine a life without books ... in every room! Thanks for reading and for your comment. Regards, Jaye

Julie K Henderson profile image

Julie K Henderson 22 months ago

Fantastic hub. I understand the appeal of being able to grab a favorite book off the shelf in order to reread a chapter or the entire thing. I cannot imagine life without books, and people who know me well know this about me. Voted up.

JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 2 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Hi, Rachael - Yes, we do have a lot in common. I have many books in my personal collection that mean a great deal to me, which I will keep for the remainder of my life. Reading has always been something I enjoy tremendously, and only someone else who loves books can understand the depth of that enjoyment from, not only reading, but owning books.


awordlover profile image

awordlover 2 years ago

Hi Jaye

I am a book lover from way back in the 1950s and as soon as I could save up enough money, I bought my first edition of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. It may not be worth anything to anyone else, but to me it is not the worth - not how much I can sell it for, but the value - how much it means to me to own it and look at it whenever I want to. It has a place of honor along with about 400 other first editions. Someday my family will have to deal with selling them or donating them, but until then, I just love collecting them. Your hub was like reading my own life story. My Grandma introduced me to books and I was reading by my 5th birthday. My parents were not "readers" and they thought this was a phase and it would blow over. It never did.

Great hub, voted up and shared.


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 3 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Vandynegl - Thanks for reading and for your thoughtful comment. Aren't books wonderful?!! I don't think board-and-paper books will ever be completely replaced by e-books because there are too many of "us"--people who love the touch, look and even smell of real books.

Your children are fortunate to have a mom with a passion for books who takes them to the library and encourages them to read.



vandynegl profile image

vandynegl 3 years ago from Ohio Valley

I love that you have a passion for books like me! I have two young children and promote the use of reading actual books in my home. We visit the library frequently too! I still cannot bring myself to read on kindles and "readers" on my phone. It's just not the same. I have to have the actual paper!! Thank you for sharing!

JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 3 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Randy....I so enjoy learning that other people share my lifelong love of books. I smiled when I read your remark about reading the encyclopedias, as I recall being teased by friends for doing the same thing when I was young! Not only encyclopedias--I found it fun to peruse a variety of dictionaries.

While I tend to agree in spirit that one can't have "too many books", I've learned that uncontrolled book acquisitions eventually take over too much of one's living space.

I keep those books I treasure--the ones that are like "old friends" to be read and re-read periodically for the joy they still convey. It's also fun going through my collection and choosing books that I'll "re-home." When I find one that brings a tidy profit, that's a bonus.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 3 years ago from Southern Georgia

My wife and I are indeed "book scouts" and our two story home is filled with too many books. Well, there is no such thing as "too many books" I tell her. Similar to your experience, my mother loved to read and instilled this love of books into me at a very young age. When I got my first set of encyclopedias at age nine I was in heaven and read the entire set cover to cover. That was over 10,000 books ago! lol! Enjoyed the read, Jaye! :)

JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 3 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

LongTimeMother....Thanks for the read and your comments. Many of the books on my shelves are like old friends, read and re-read, and these are the volumes I treasure (and keep) for the joy they give me. In fact, I re-read two of my favorites during the past week.

The remainder of my huge collection provides me with an enjoyable hobby--selling books--and, sometimes, a tidy profit. I also like the feeling of passing along books to new readers who will enjoy them and reap their benefits as I did, while freeing up some of my shelf space.

Congratulations for being author of a book that's increasing in value. Your husband's suggestion seems like a pretty good idea! However, simply knowing the words you wrote twenty years ago still attract a readership must be immensely gratifying.


LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 3 years ago from Australia

Hi Jaye,

Good luck with making money from your book collection. I'm sure you'll find a few surprises in there.

Second-hand copies of a book I wrote 20 years ago are selling on the internet for more than they cost new. There was an autographed copy of it for sale in Germany for a ridiculous amount of money. My husband says I should track down old copies, autograph them and sell them on ebay. lol.

There is nothing nicer for an author than knowing that people treasure their books. On behalf of all the authors featured on your shelves, thank you. :)

JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 4 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Thanks, Donna. I can certainly relate to another lover and collector of books. By the way, I'm sorry it took me so long to respond to your comment, but I didn't receive notification of it until this evening. Some changes in the HubPages site have made a number of strange things happen during the past couple of weeks, and this delay may be one of them. It's never before taken ten days for me to be notified of a comment. Not only that, the notification told me that another HubPages member left a comment. Go figure!

Thanks for reading, and I hope you'll find something else that interests you on my profile page where all my hubs are listed.



Donna Kay Bryan profile image

Donna Kay Bryan 4 years ago

Jaye, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your hub. You truly have a gift for sharing through the written word. As a fellow book lover/collector, you had me from when you were four. Thanks for sharing.

JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 4 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Hi, quatrain...My favorite reading places are (1) in a comfy chair with a good reading lamp or (2) propped up on pillows in bed before I go to sleep (also with a good lamp). My absorption of a book's material depends largely on my level of interest (the greater my interest, the more I absorb and retain), with one exception. Other than slow-tempo music at low volume, I don't like background noise when I read. When I was younger, I could concentrate on reading material regardless of what was happening around me, short of chaos. Now, I require a calm and quiet environment when reading a book.

gmwilliams...Thanks, and I'm glad this essay inspired you. Aren't books--"real" books--wonderful? It's always a pleasure for me to meet another bibiliophile, and there seem to be quite a few on HP.

I think many, if not most, writers are lifelong avid readers, but so many people are switching to the e-readers there are fewer who still cherish the look, feel and smell of a paper-and-boards book versus words on a back-lit screen. I read some e-books on my computer as I still don't own a Kindle or Nook; however, I've finally realized it isn't an "either-or" situation. It's possible to own both physical (tangible) books and e-books simultaneously. As long as I have bookshelves, I'll never be without the "real" thing!

Thanks for stopping by, quatrain and gm....Jaye

quatrain profile image

quatrain 4 years ago

Hi JayeWisdom,

This post encourages me to keep looking for space for books.

I'm wondering--do you find that you read things, absorb words, take it all in differently depending on where you read a book?

I swear that I can remember details more vividly if I read a book in front of a fireplace. Not so on a park bench.

gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 4 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

Jaye, this is such a beautifully inspirational hub. Books are wonderful. Books open one to a myriad of worlds which are unfamiliar, new, and exciting. Books also exposes one to new ideas and perspectives.

It is so sad that the art of book reading is slowly eroding due to television and the internet. I do not mind the internet and if one is knowledgeable and knows a lot of subjects, great information can be obtained there. However, the internet is not like a book. Books contain extensive knowledge while information on the internet is oftentimes very cursory.

I am too a collector of books. I love to read voraciously. My favorite subjects are New Age, sociology, history, psychology, and science fiction. Books are wonderful companions. There is nothing like sitting down with a good book. Glad to meet a fellow bibliophile, voted up for extremely interesting, awesome, and useful!

JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 4 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Thanks, Epi, and thanks also for recommending Dim Flaxenwick, whom I'll check out right away.

It takes one bibliophile to appreciate another! Isn't it marvelous to find a rare first edition? The post cards left inside your Howard Carter first edition were "icing on the cake."


epigramman profile image

epigramman 4 years ago

...this is my absolute favorite hub presentation by you Jaye - I am quite an avid book collector myself - mostly hard cover and I have a first edition from 1880 on Napoleon Bonaparte and a first edition from Howard Carter a year after he discovered King Tut and it had 5 postcards in it from a previous owner who had mailed them in 1918 from Cairo to Montreal, Canada.

As you know I love promoting and hooking people up so please check out Dim Flaxenwick and a hub she has called To the making of many books there's no end - you will love it and I will her to check you out too.

lake erie time ontario canada 11:29pm and sending you warm wishes and good energy

JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 4 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Hi, Ashley...Can I relate to the amount of space your books take in your home! I can't live without books, though, even if they take up more than their "fair share" of room....

It is nice to find others who share one's passion for books--especially another "Wuthering Heights" fan.

My mom was amazing and very wise to let me read what interested me from a young age. It's due to her that I learned to love reading, which has stayed with me all my life.

Thanks for stopping by, and "happy reading" to you! JAYE

ashleybunn profile image

ashleybunn 4 years ago from South Carolina

I have so many books that I'm running out of places to put them. I've been told by quite a few people that my apartment is less of a home and more of a library!

Thank you for sharing, I really enjoyed this hub. Your mother sounds amazing - it's great that she didn't try to limit what books you read, even at such a young age. It's nice to find someone that you have so much in common with when it comes to the world of books - I even re-read Wuthering Heights annually!

Take care, and happy reading :)

JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 4 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

vox vocis....Thanks for reading, the "thumbs up" vote and your comments. I was simply a very inquisitive child, and--faced with an entire library and armed with my mother's approval for me to read whatever I liked--I delved into an eclectic mix of topics. During different phases of my life, I've concentrated on a single genre for a while, then switched to another....For the past few years, I can't get enough of mystery fiction, but I also read many autobiographies, biographies and general non-fiction.

Had I been a real prodigy, I'd likely have been reading advanced math and physics at nine years! : )


vox vocis profile image

vox vocis 4 years ago

Freud and psychoanalysis at the age of nine? You were a prodigy child, that's for sure. I love reading and collecting books, too. I guess, I inherited that from my mum - she's a bibliophile as well. I remember reading books for children ever since I learned to read, and started reading books for grown ups at the age of 12 - Agatha Christie and Danielle Steel, then shifted to world classics in high school. Fell in love with Italian and English literature, read even more at university, and now I read a few books at the same time because I can't decide what to start reading first. I enjoyed reading this hub! Voted up!

JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 4 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Thanks, Redberry Sky....It takes one bibliophile to understand another, and it pleases me a great deal when book lovers read this hub. Thanks for sharing with others who have a similar passion for books.


Redberry Sky profile image

Redberry Sky 4 years ago

Absolutely beautiful Hub, and one that I'll enjoy returning to. It captures the spirit of what it means to really, *really* love books (something I too am guilty of - I can pass a bookshop no more than I flap my arms and fly to the moon!) . Voted all kinds of up and awesome, and shared with HP followers to share the sheer joy of books and reading :)

JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 4 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Hi, Rusti...It's a delight to make the acquaintance of someone else who feels about books as I do--as though they're each and every one old friends. At times when the electricity has gone off in a storm, I've read by candlelight, so I can relate to your firelight reading, too. I smiled when I read about your double row of books. I now have numerous bookcases "double-rowed." Someone recently called me "obsessed" and "possessed" by books. I think he's right!

Congratulations on your upcoming remarriage. Saying your vows on a cruise ship should be memorable.

By the way, your name is the same as my granddaughter's, spelled alike as well...one of my favorite names, of course.

Thanks for reading my hub and joining the other book-lovers who congregate here.


Rusti Mccollum profile image

Rusti Mccollum 4 years ago from Lake Oswego, Oregon

Oh my I have a closet double row of books! I just hang on to them.When the power goes out I read by firelight. On a long trip. These don't happen very often except the road trips every year. This year we are remarrying after 30 years on a cruise ship! Long way from Oregon to Florida ,so some of those books are going to come in handy.I have always believed you learn something every book you read ,even if it's a comic. new words things like this.Great hub!

JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 4 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Molometer...In spite of Kindle and other eReaders, there are still many of us who prefer the feel, smell and words-on-the-page content of paper-and-board books. Even if much of the world goes electronic for reading, there will remain many "hoards" of well-worn and re-read books filling shelves in our homes and, as you stated, following us around when we move. (Boxes of books are heavy, too!)

I believe intensely that a love of reading serves one well throughout life. You're fortunate that your parents passed their joy of books on to you. Thanks for reading my hub and your gracious comments.

Pavlo...I delight in your analysis of my writing! How astute you are to recognize it as a "confession." I am indeed a "possessed" reader and have been since I first learned at age four that marks printed on paper could be translated into words, and the words told a story.

Your son no doubt likes to read because his early memories include watching you enjoy books. Like most reading parents, you probably read stories to him before he learned to decipher words by himself. This is a great gift that parents give to children, and it ensures that the love of reading will continue into future generations.

Books rule!



Pavlo Badovskyy profile image

Pavlo Badovskyy 4 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

It is not a hub. It is a confession. Thank you so much for it. When i was reading your article i had a feeling that i am reading a letter of a woman about someone whom she passionately loves. Absolutely wonderful! I loved it so much! Believe it or not i was the same posessed reader as you were. I have got my first library card at the age of six and was probably the youngest reader at that library at that time. But it did not transform into a passion to collect books due to many reasons. Now my son goes to a book store and brings a new book almost every week. Life is going on and I am happy about it. Thank you.

molometer profile image

molometer 4 years ago

A very interesting and beautiful read. I too was lucky to have a love of reading from my parents. I spent many hours in many libraries. By the time I started school my vocabulary was extensive compared to my peers. I too have many boxes of books, They have followed me on my travels around the planet.

I re-read many of them too.

Great read thanks for sharing.

JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 4 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Thanks for your thoughtful and intriguing comments. (Now I must check out your hubs.)

A love of reading is one of the most important intellectual legacies parents and other significant caregivers can give children. Your own childhood, with daily word play initiated by your English teacher mother, strikes me as idyllic.

I agree--your choice of profession allows you to give back what your parents gave you, and it's obvious you enjoy your work. I'd be willing to wager that your students enjoy your lectures as well!

Thanks so much for reading, voting and sharing....


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Oh, my goodness. How did I not know you were on HP? What a delightful essay about reading, books, passionate love for books, and book collecting. I know the pain of downsizing and letting go of precious books and the great joys of language and reading.

My mother was a voracious reader, an English teacher, and had a phenomenal vocabulary (which I inherited from her) and I grew up with the pleasure of daily word play with her based on the Greek, Latin, and Germanic roots of words. My father an Air Force NCO loved history, geography, the dictionary, and science and taught his four children to love them as well.

In college I was a history major and an English minor. :) For twenty years I have been teaching college history classes with an emphasis on the literature of the time period. My students and I have daily word play. Many of my upper level courses have military themes and address geography, and one of my favorite courses is "History of Science." I think I have done a good job leveraging the interests my parents instilled in me into a wonderful life-long profession. Needless to say, I love what I do. :)

Voted all kinds of Up and Sharing with friends and followers. :)

JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 5 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Hi, craftarrific, and thanks for stopping by my hub. It's one of those coincidences that, as an HR management professional before retirement, I wrote training and employment manuals of all types for more than two decades.

Still, it's always been a quirk of mine that I absolutely MUST read something in the evening--no matter what I've done during the day--or I'll feel cheated (which keeps me awake). Even when I was working 60-plus hours a week, that idiosyncracy survived. Isn't that odd? It's fortunate that I'm a fast reader.

I hope the information in this hub is useful to you relevant to your own book collection. As you continue to collect books...happy hunting!


craftarrific profile image

craftarrific 5 years ago from California

I can relate to this in some ways. I remember my love for reading blossoming at a very young age. My love for reading went on hold for a while due to writing training manuals for a living, I read and wrote all day and didn't want to read when the day was done. I rediscovered my love of reading about a year ago and my collection is growing! I never thought about the value of the books outside of my own desire to have them to hold and read. I will delve into that further thanks to your hub here. I didn't know book club editions were of any lesser value. That's good to know as I'm a member of a number of book clubs!

JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 5 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Thanks, baygirl, for your comments. It's nice to make the acquaintance of another confirmed reader and bibiliophile. Aren't books great?


baygirl33 5 years ago

Hi Jaye!

loved that about loving books and starting early.

I know that I read adult books and magazines long before I was ten.The weird thing about that is that in those days if you failed one subject ,you repeated all. So here was I failing every year but reading The Star Weekly and pocket novels too old for a ten-year-old.

Never figured out how I learned to read though.

Right now I have books I will not let go of and others I may or may not.

I have Dostoevsky,Robertson Davies,Atwood,James Mitchiner,Charles Dickens, Edgar Allen Poe ,all the French Revolution writers... and I love them all

I'll be reading your stuff. voted you up.

JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 5 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Isn't reading a wonderful activity? You were lucky that your mom read to you and gave you that love of books through osmosis.

I'm selling some of my books on various online sites, but (so far) haven't hit the Motherlode. The sheer numbers of good-to-great books available out there make for massive competition. There are some online booksellers who undercut prices to the extreme because their volume of sales allows them to make a small amount of profit on each book. That hurts small-volume sellers.

The upside is that every book I sell and send on its journey to a new owner leaves a few inches of space on my bookshelves. Now, if I can just tamp down my penchant for buying more books....!

Thanks for reading and commenting, happyboomer.

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Happyboomernurse 5 years ago from South Carolina

Great hub. Your love of books really shines through and your Mom's support of your reading was wonderful. I could just picture the look on the librarian's face when your Mom advised her to let you check out any book that interested you.

When I was almost three my Mom was pregnant and the doctors prescribed bed rest due to complications. That was the beginning of my love of books as Mom let me curl up next to her and read to me for hours on end. Though she didn't try to teach me reading, I learned through sheer exposure and like you, remember being bored in school as many of the kids struggled to sound out words.

I'm glad you're now going through your vast collection and trying to categorize and determine financial worth for some of them. As you already pointed out, the internet makes it easier than ever to do so.

I'll be reading your other book hubs to see what you find out about your collection.

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JayeWisdom 5 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Hi, Duchess...Thanks for stopping by.

I still haven't located The Joy Luck Club, and am beginning to wonder if perhaps I loaned it to someone who never returned it. (I've been known to do that, too! )The only worse thing than not finding it would be to find it with my name scrawled across the flyleaf, so perhaps its disappearance is for the best. Seeing it defaced would make me feel truly awful!

I enjoy hearing from other adults who spent a lot of time reading as kids. Did you ever read by flashlight after you were supposed to be asleep at night? Sometimes I couldn't bear to put aside a book until I'd finished the last page! I still like to finish a book when I pick it up. Fortunately, I read rather fast. The only downside is that it takes a lot of books to keep me reading....JAYE

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Duchess OBlunt 5 years ago

I thought that is was a normal thing to want to take time to myself, find a quiet place and read when I was young. I didn't know that kids were supposed to enjoy playing outside over reading books...Really? who knew?

I can remember in most places that we lived, I would find a perfect tree with it's perfect branch and climb up on it to spend many hours hiding in the shade away from the other kids and the noise, so that I could enjoy those books.

Like you, the joy of reading has never waned.

I really enjoyed your hub, and I hope you have been successful in finding The Joy Luck Club. I hope you had given up the signature thing by the time you purchased it:)

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JayeWisdom 6 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Believe me, I understand the pull of a bookshop. I can't walk past one and, once inside, can't leave without more books! I love Sherlock Holmes, British mysteries and police procedurals, biographies of writers, etc. I will read your Dunning/Bookman hub soon. Thanks for telling me about it, and thanks for your comments. JAYE

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Docmo 6 years ago from UK

I am delighted to find a fellow bibliophile. You have mentioned John dunning in your hub and I don't know whether you have seen the elaborate Dunning/Bookman hub that I have done following on from jstankevicz's excellent hub.

I will be following your book collecting hub with interest. I am now an avid collector of a very eclectic mix that includes classics, Sherlockiana, SF, mysteries, and old newspaper comic strips etc. - I am running out of space! I can't resist an old book shop...

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JayeWisdom 6 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Thanks for your comment, Dr. Lora. I love that you gave books to children as rewards for achievement. A great idea and an action that may have encouraged many youngsters to develop a love of reading.

My own love of reading motivated me to read to my children when they were small, and provide appropriate-age books for them when they were old enough to read.

I now give books to all children in my family and those of friends on every occasion calling for a gift. I've done this since they were toddlers to whom the books had to be read. I believe that reading to very small children encourages them to want to learn to read and establishes the reading habit.

I urge all parents to read to their children as soon as they show interest in picture books. You're giving them a priceless gift when you inspire a love of reading in children. JAYE

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Dr Lora 6 years ago from Boise, ID

I have dealt for decades with youngsters who have no interest in reading. When they encountered difficulties learning to read, they slowly withdrew from the process, often becoming very negative about it. So I started giving them books as rewards for achievement (I literally begged for donations to buy 'tons' of books to hand out.) I found that many children have difficulty reading because, first and foremost, they simply DON'T READ. They give up by third grade, at the very time when their brains need to build vocabulary and concepts through reading. That is the reading equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot. You were bored in school because you did and do read; other children are bored because they don't read.

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JayeWisdom 6 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Hi, J...Now I know why I don't need a psychotherapist. I've got bibliotherapy to keep me sane! I realized after reading what you wrote about a "secret personal therapy" that I've done that for years--grabbed a book and read when I've been depressed. The success rate is phenomenal and there are no side effects. Jaye

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JayeWisdom 6 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Hi, Linda...Thanks for reading the article and for your comments. I can certainly identify with your son and his wife. I've never believed a person can love books too much, though some of my family members might heartily disagree with me!

Every home I've had in adulthood has been crowded with books, all bookcases filled to capacity and overflow stacked on any available surface, including the floor. I've spent a lot of money on books, but the pleasure, knowledge and sheer joy I've gained from reading and owning them can't adequately be measured in dollars.

My advice to book lovers: Build floor-to-ceiling shelves across one entire wall of a room and then have fun filling them with books! Jaye

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jstankevicz 6 years ago from Cave Creek

Every passionate reader has a story about how they were introduced to the joy of books. For most, the self directed reading was an important part of education. Thanks for sharing your story. Many readers, like my son, just enjoy the content, and pass the books on. Many of us can’t easily let go of books and become collectors or just plain accumulators! For some of us, books are part of a secret personal therapy, bibliotherapy.

Linda Lander 6 years ago

Hi Jaye, Just read your first blog re: Reading and Buying books. Well done. I like the more personal touch you added to this one. I was never "bookish" and regret that sometimes. However, my son now 40 years old, was and still is. He was also bored in school because he was never challenged. He LOVES books; too much I think sometimes. When he was growing up he bought lots of books and we bought lots for him. We never tried to censor what he read so he read a wide variety of subjects and authors and probably educated himself as much if not more than the school system did. He treated each book with the loving care of a parent. He didn't allow others to read them because they bent the pages back when they read them and they no longer looked new. He married a young woman who is equally addicted to books. They have a small house and it's already busting at the seams with books. I wish you well on this new adventure, Jaye.

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JayeWisdom 6 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Hi, Stephanie...Thanks for your comments. Reading and buying books is a passion shared by many of us. If you're like I am, you wouldn't have missed it....Jaye

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Stephanie Henkel 6 years ago from USA

I really enjoyed your hub, Jaye, probably because I could relate so well to your experiences of reading and buying books! I look forward to reading your other hubs.

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