Readersforum's Blog

January 30, 2013

Book Collecting 101

CasinoBy Richard Davies

A champion of the physical book, Richard Davies from AbeBooks.com offers advice to anyone thinking about collecting rare books.

It might just be me, but I believe far fewer ‘Physical Books are Dead’ articles are being published these days. Just as well because book collecting is alive and well, and co-existing happily alongside digital media. Avid readers are still becoming book collectors. Beautiful, rare and interesting editions are still being bought and sold.

The first question for any potential book collector to answer is ‘What should I collect?’ The answer is simple – collect the books you love. I always advise collecting for love rather than financial gain. It could be an author or a literary group, every possible edition of a single title, a genre or a sub-genre, an era or a publisher, first editions, signed copies or books illustrated by a particular artist.

Can you make money from collecting rare books? Yes, but like the stock market, the value of books can decrease as well as increase. Can you build a collection of valuable books? Again yes, but, again like the stock market, it takes knowledge and research to strike gold. Are books a good long-term investment? It depends – can you identify books that will gain value over a couple of decades?

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