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Audrey Golden
World literature scholar and erstwhile lawyer. Lover of international travel, outdoor markets, and rare books.

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Rare Book Terminology You Should Know

By Audrey Golden. Nov 26, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting

When you first enter into the world of rare books, you might think you’ve encountered a new language in some ways. Rare booksellers, collectors, and archivists use many words and phrases that can be difficult to parse. In addition, there are simply a lot of those words and phrases to learn. Some refer to the condition of the book, others refer to the way the book was made or to its style and aesthetic, and yet others still reference information about the book’s publication or ownership. And in many cases, there are multiple terms in use that refer to the same thing! We couldn’t possibly provide you with every word or phrase you might see used in a description of a rare book, but we can certainly get you started. We’ve separated some of those words and phrases into distinct categories to help you get acquainted with the language of the rare book trade.

     
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Collectible Irish Literature

By Audrey Golden. Nov 12, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Literature

 Whether you already have a collection of Irish literature or you are thinking about starting one, you should begin thinking about where you want to start and, ultimately, where you want to end up. There are many different ways you could approach an Irish literature collection, from eighteenth-century Irish literature up to the present. You might, for example, consider a collection made up entirely of Irish poetry. Or you might develop a collection that focuses on Irish independence and is linked to the 1916 Easter Rising. There are a lot of different possibilities. We don’t want to frame your collection for you—that’s your job! But we do want to give you insight into some of the most collectible and sought-after works of Irish literature. If you ultimately want to add these texts to your collection, you’ll need to do some serious reconnaissance work, and you’ll need to start saving your money.

     
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San Francisco's Rare Book Scene

Do you live in the Bay Area, and are you just starting to put together a rare book collection? Are you traveling to San Francisco at any point in the near future? The Bay Area is truly an antiquarian and rare book treasure trove. From rare bookstores to antiquarian book fairs to rare book archives, you couldn’t ask for much more than everything the Bay Area has to offer. While our title centers in San Francisco, we want to introduce you to the rare book scene in the Bay Area more generally, and to encourage you to plan several days of book hunting in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland. And, quite frankly, several days probably won’t be sufficient. You’ll want to keep coming back for more.

     
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How to Find the Value of a Rare Book

By Audrey Golden. Oct 29, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Literature

Whether you have your own rare book collection and have questions about the overall market value of the items, or you recently inherited some older books or purchased a book that seems like it might be valuable at a flea market, you’re probably trying to figure out how to determine that book’s value. When you’re hoping to figure out how much a book is worth, it’s important to distinguish between market value and other forms of value. To be sure, a book may be considered rare or valuable to a particular person, but it may not necessarily have significant market value. We’re assuming that you’re trying to find the market value of a rare book, so we’ll tell you about some options and issues to consider.

     
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How to Display Rare Books

By Audrey Golden. Oct 20, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books

When you’re developing a rare book collection, chances are good that you want to be able to display it. After all, one of the joys of having a rare book collection is getting a chance to look at it. Yet you may know that some ways of displaying your rare books are better than others for purposes of preservation. To be sure, you don’t want to display your collection in a manner that puts the books at risk of damage. For most collectors, displaying closed rare books requires considerations for exhibiting the objects on shelves (i.e., when you’re not opening them or showing them to someone else), and displaying open books (i.e., when you’re viewing the pages inside the book). Collectors who also own pieces of rare ephemera will need to consider additional options for display.

     
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Most Wanted Rare Books

By Audrey Golden. Oct 15, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books

What are the most wanted rare books? Yes, yes, we know—this is a wholly subjective question. Certainly, the definition of a rare book extends far beyond its market value, and what may be the most desirable rare book to one person might not be desirable at all to another. Today, however, we want to talk about the most wanted rare books in terms of market value and what kind of hefty price you might expect to pay for certain rare books at auction. As times change, rare book values also change. Accordingly, the “most wanted” rare books today may not be the most desirable rare books in 10 years. In the meantime, though, we want to give you a sense of the vast rare book market and to let you know what kind of competition you could be facing for some of the highest priced rare books that have recently hit the market.

     
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The Library of Congress and Rare Books

By Audrey Golden. Oct 6, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Libraries & Special Collections, Libraries

Have you ever looked into the resources held by the Library of Congress? Are you interested in a wide variety of archives and exhibits dedicated to rare books, materials, and related ephemera? Washington, D.C. obviously has a number of notable attractions for anyone interested in history—and book history in particular. Yet you’d be crazy to visit Washington, D.C. without making a stop into the Library of Congress. And if you’re interested in conducting research into a specific writer or thinker, there’s a good chance the Library of Congress has some holdings that could be of specific interest to you. We want to tell you more about the history of the Library of Congress, information about conducting research there, and some of the specific items and collections that are housed there. When it comes to rare books and objects, the Library of Congress has one of the most amazing collections you’ll ever find.

     
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Austin's Rare Book Scene

By Audrey Golden. Oct 1, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Literary travel

Yes, it’s a cliché, but it’s true: Austin, Texas is one of the most creative cities in America, and it has a very cool book scene that reflects its immersion in music history. As you may already know, Austin is home to two of the most prominent music festivals in the country—SXSW and Austin City Limits (ACL). The city is also home to a wide variety of bookshops, small presses, and book events spaces. And there’s more, still! Some of the most prominent art and music exhibition spaces in the country are in Austin, and many offer rare photography and art books for collectors who focus on music ephemera and memorabilia. Finally, Austin hosts the annual Texas Book Festival, which brings together writers, readers, and collectors for a couple days of readings and talks. We love Austin as a book destination, and we want to tell you more about the reasons you should add it to your list of must-travel places.

     
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In Defense of Book Collecting

By Audrey Golden. Sep 3, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Collecting guide

There are so many different ways to collect books, and never-ending variety when it comes to shaping a book collection and deciding what you will collect. Some book collectors focus on completion, or collecting all of a particular author or publisher’s printed works. Other collectors are more esoteric, making their own rules for what belongs (and what doesn’t) in the collection. Book collectors have widely disparate sums of money to spend on book collections, and developing a collection certainly does not have to involve spending a substantial amount of money. To be sure, many collectors do spend a lot of money on individual items for their collections, yet there are also many book and ephemera collectors who bring together inexpensive items that, when placed in conversation with one another, have the capacity to produce great meaning.

     
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The Difference Between Having a Book Collection and Having a Library

By Audrey Golden. Aug 26, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Libraries, Collecting guide

Do you have a personal library, or do you have a collection? And is there really a difference between the two? It depends on who you ask. In general, we do think a book collection is distinct from a personal library, although the two are not necessarily separate from one another. Why does it matter? Well, the way in which you might conceive of and shape a personal library is likely to be quite different from the way in which you might conceive of and shape a book collection.

     
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About this blog

How can I identify a first edition? Where do I learn about caring for books? How should I start collecting? Hear from librarians about amazing collections, learn about historic bindings or printing techniques, get to know other collectors. Whether you are just starting or looking for expert advice, chances are, you'll find something of interest on blogis librorum.

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