Books, Glorious Books!
For the Love of Books
"The love of learning, the sequestered nooks, And all the sweet serenity of books." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow -
It is between the pages of books that I have traveled the globe, discovering, for more than fifty years, the world that I am a part of.
On numerous occasions it has been suggested that I “get with the times” and trade my collection in for the electronic, or kindle versions. Sure, they may be more convenient to read, collect less dust, and free up space in pretty well every room in the house, yet there is no comparison between reading content on an electronic screen and settling down with an old-fashioned book!
I am well aware that I possess multiple bookshelves and cases overflowing with books and magazines, covering an eclectic range of genres and subject matter. They have taken a lifetime to collect and I will not be trading them in for the electronic versions anytime soon.
I will surely continue to seek out thrift shops, garage sales, and jumble sales for gently used books. If a book shop happens to be along a route that I am walking it will be next to impossible to stop myself from entering, exploring, and becoming lost in the stacks and piles of books.
When the holiday season, birthdays, or special events occur my friends and family members will continue to receive a gift of a well-researched title that represents the topics and interests that they enjoy. If they would like to keep me happy during the exchange of gifts I would be quite pleased with the gift of a book.
I will continue to look forward to receiving and reviewing books from publishers. I adore the aroma of a freshly published book. In fact, if the scent of a newly inked volume could be bottled, or reproduced via incense, I would purchase it. Why? I adore books!
Calling All Bibliophiles
While written a written language has been around since the ancient world communicated through papyrus scrolls or clay tablets it was Johann Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press more than 500 years ago that made it possible for the mass production of books, beginning the “love affair” of the larger public and their books.
From bookworms to bibliophiles, many people love, admire, and collect books. Even before the invention of the printing press there were book collectors whose passion rises above the average reader. Atticus and Cicero are examples of Roman era collectors. Throughout history people of many ages and societies have been seduced by the ability to escape the moment as they get lost within the pages of a book.
Collectible Books Specialities
Within the pastime of book collecting are many sub-genres in which a collector may concentrate specifically towards a particular interest such as mystery fiction, the world at war, or atlases. For every subject there are enthusiasts. Many collectors select topics that are related to aspects of their life, either professional or leisure. Many bibliophiles are strict about only owning first edition books. Others may not have the budget to purchase expensive first edition and are just as pleased with acquiring their own treasure at a yard sale.
Beyond the many genres available there is a broad scope of the physical types of books including picture books, coffee table books, pop-up books, paperback books, comic books, company catalogs, series books, and infant’s cloth or board books. There is one rule that most bibliophiles will agree on. Owning a signed or autographed copy of a book is a bonus, especially when it is received, in person, with the author, illustrator, or editor!
Introduction To Antique Books
Condition - The Common Denominator
No matter what type of book that one selects there is one thing that always matters the most, the condition that the book is in. Books have not been constructed in a way that it will remain in perfect condition through the years, decades, or even centuries.
Unless the book is preserved as it it hot off the printing press and kept away from the elements there will likely be signs of wear and tear. There are, however, guidelines that will help to keep your books in relatively good condition.
Books should remain as clean of dust and soiled marks, without scribbles, notes, or dog-eared page corners. Hard-bound books do best when the dust jacket remains intact. It isn’t always possible to discover used books in mint or even very good condition. There will be times when you need to decide whether it makes sense to your collection to include a worn book. Especially if that book is the volume you are seeking as part of a series or collection. In this case I would always purchase the book, just in case I never have another opportunity to help complete a set.
Series books can become quite a challenge and putting together a set book-by-book can be considered as an accomplishment. Is the series is from a bygone era, or if the set was printed in limited production, a collector may regret not accepting a book because the condition was not up to the usual standards. Some bibliophiles are lucky enough to discover a better condition book at a later date to replace the book of lower quality.
Author Ian C. Ellis has been working as a book dealer for more than 20 years, specializing in science fiction and mystery.
Fresh of the Press
Most commercial neighborhoods offer commercial access to a variety of commercial options for new books. They can be found in corner shops, museums, grocery stores, gift shops, hobby centers, department stores, and the modern "gigantic" bookstore chain. One needn't leave home at all to search across the cyber-sphere for a particular title. Amazon and eBay have revolutionized and opened up so many possibilities for bibliophiles on both sides of the transaction. I have been successful in acquiring many book gems that I never could have located without the Internet.
Amazon and eBay are terrific online avenues, but if you are looking for some fun follow me! The real fun comes through scavenger and treasure hunts in your community or cities and towns you are visiting. The suggested locations and events often bring positive results:
1. Church or Association Rummage Sales
2. Charity Thrift Shops
3. Yard, Garage, or estate Sales
4. Independent Privately-Owned Book Shops
In my community the bibliophiles enjoy two seasons - Spring for the Library Bi-Annual Book Sale and Fall for the other Library Bi-Annual Book Sale.
If you plan on visiting a city and need a treasure map for bookstores the following is a handy trick via Google search.
1. From the Google Search page enter the city name followed by "book shops".
2. When results are displayed click on maps just below the search box.
3. A map will display complete with place markers for locations!
Where do you prefer to shop for books?
Book Storage and Care
- Keep all books on shelves in dry conditions. Humidity may invite the growth of mold if there is elevated moisture in the environment.
- Shelving should not be exposed to light or sun light which causes fading of the spines and covers.
- Give your books regular care, removing dust and looking for signs of insect damage of holes and discoloring.
- How to Care for Your Collectible Books: 18 Essential Tips
Explains how to handle, protect, and store books so that they retain their condition and value.
- Book Collecting: Tips for Beginners
Peter Harrington, rare book seller in London gives tips on book collecting to beginners.
- HowStuffWorks;How to Find the Value of Old Books
Finding the value of old books can sometimes be difficult. HowStuffWorks will help to get you started.
The most important outcome as a bibliophile is to enjoy the book collection.
I offer the best in luck as you add to your collection and welcome any tips or suggestions that you care to share in the comments below!