Thursday, January 19, 2012

Guide to Collecting Rare Books

Being an avid reader and lover of books, I've always wanted to learn more about collecting rare and out of print books. I'm just beginning my research into the topic of collecting rare and out of print books and the 1st thing I stumbled upon was a series of 11 videos on YouTube made by book expert Erik Bosee of Aldredge Bookstore in Dallas, Texas. Each of the 11 videos created by Erik Bosee tackles a different topic important with regards to collecting books. The videos offer basic information and are relatively short in length.

I hope you find these videos informative and somewhat enlightening. For me they're a starting point on my journey to learning more about collecting rare and out of print books. I tried visiting the Aldredge Bookstore website in hopes of learning more about the bookstore itself as well as the email address for Erik Bosee in just in case I had any questions regarding collecting rare books. I soon discovered their website wouldn't load for whatever reason!

Do you collect rare and out of print books? If so, how long have you been collecting them? What valuable tips can you share with us on collecting books?


  1. I kind of stumbled upon collecting rare and out-of-print books while I was on holidays in the UK in 1997. I wasn't really looking for it, but I found an extremely rare copy of 'The Letter of JRR Tolkien' edited by Humphery Carpenter printed in 1981 in the hard cover format in a 4-storey bookstore. Now, this may not sound all that exciting; except you can find this book in paperback now and nothing else and its worth keeps on going up.

    Now, I am a collector of First Editions, signed copies and rare and out-of-print books. They fascinate me to no end; and once I find one I'm looking for, I will soon find another type of book - from the same or similar arena - that I'm looking for and be out on the hunt for it.

    Usually when I'm looking for such books, I look at the binding first. I like a book that I can read and not just have on my shelf as something to collect and look at - it must be practical as well as useful. A second edition book is just as good as a first edition; and if I can get my hands on one of those, I love it just as much. I have a 2nd Edition of 'Old Man And the Sea' by Ernest Hemmingway; where they used 2 artists because they couldn't decided which was better; so both were commissioned and paid to illustrate the book.
    I have just acquired a UK First Edition printing of 'Song of Susannah: The Dark Tower Series' by Stephen King. It's in hardcover and has full-coloured plates all through the book as well as its own built-in bookmark. This book was bought by my Mum (who was on holidays at the time and always keeps an eye out for any books I may like for my growing collection) and she scored this immaculate copy for $9.00! She got it for a steal! I'm most pleased she was able to get it for me; as I do wish to read this series at some point but I don't have all the books and having this one in hardcover and illustrated will be a lovely book to read!

    However, I do have some advice about First Edition books. When you find one at a market or a shop and you know they have underpriced it, don't tell them what it is. Just pay the money, put it into your bag and tell them to have a nice day and walked away smiling; knowing you've scored yourself a bargain that will be worth more than what you've just paid for it in a year's time.
    I've done that with an SK biography... I bought it and once the money changed hands and I had it in my bag, I thanked the lady and told her she just sold me a book that was worth much more than she sold it for. Her kids had been at home looking up the books they were selling and they raced up and asked if the SK book was sold yet and she said it was; to me. The kids told her it was worth around $500 on the black market. She looked at me and asked to buy it back... I said: "Sure, for $600." she told me I was a thief, I told her I wasn't and had to make a profit if she wanted it back.

    And that's another thing about books that are worth money... don't ever undersell what you've got. If it's worth $1,200 sell it for $1,300. At least you've made a profit on the book. Otherwise, none of my collection is for sale.

  2. Wow, great advice, Mozette! Thank you for sharing what you've been collecting.