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

Recent Posts:

Is Book Collecting Worth It?

By Audrey Golden. Feb 13, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Books collecting, collectors, Collecting guide

As lovers of rare books and ephemera, it can be difficult to hear someone ask the question, “is book collecting worth it?” Establishing a collection can bring a lifetime of joy, from seeking out new objects at home and abroad to cataloguing those items with care. And if you’re lucky, your collection might just have great significance to others, too. A study conducted by researchers at King’s College London determined that upwards of 30 percent of adults participate in some form of collecting, from books and ephemera to travel souvenirs and memorabilia. Psychologists have long attempted to classify and define the impulse for collecting, or what Nicholas Basbanes describes as “a gentle madness” among book collectors. While we can’t provide you with a definitive scientific answer as to why book collecting is worth it, we can tell you about how the time, energy, and money you’ll spend in developing your collection can become a life-long project and passion.

     
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How Much Is My Rare Book Worth?

By Audrey Golden. Feb 11, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting, Rare Book Gift Ideas

Determining the value of a book or an ephemeral object can be very difficult. While certain texts are highly sought after under almost any circumstances, some items can be very tricky. Some old books are extremely valuable, yet some old books have almost no market value at all. Some books with inscriptions have significant market value, while many books with personal or sentimental notes have little to no market value. Although the condition of a book will almost always impact the object’s value on the market, some books in quite poor condition can still be extremely valuable depending upon the provenance. In short, determining a rare book’s value is typically a holistic enterprise that involves taking into account many different factors.

If you have a book that you believe to be rare and to have significant market value, you should get in touch with a rare bookseller who can properly appraise the object for you. In the meantime, we want to provide you with some of the key elements that go into determining the value of a rare book or paper object.

     
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Is Book Collecting a Dying Art?

Is book collecting a dying art? The scores of collectors, young and old, who travel long distances and scour the internet for new additions to their collections would certainly tell you, quite vehemently: No! Book collecting is not a dying art. Despite the fact that we’re now in the third decade of the twenty-first century and everything seems to have gone digital, the physical book—and the desire to collect it, to preserve it, to archive it—remains alive and well. From the rise of new rare and independent bookstores to book collecting prizes and coursework in rare books and ephemera, new collectors are springing up every day.

     
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How Do I Establish a Rare Book Collection?

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

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting, Collecting guide

Are you thinking about starting a rare book collection? The prospect of establishing a collection of rare books, ephemera, and other print objects can be daunting when you do not have much background knowledge about the subject. Yet we want to emphasize that anyone can create a rare book collection. If you have an interest in rare books and the desire to establish a collection, you’re already on your way. We want to give you some important tips concerning the logistics of starting your collection.

     
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What is a Rare Book?

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

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting, Collecting guide

We often hear about people who are starting or adding to rare book collections, but it can be difficult to know exactly what counts as a “rare” book. Indeed, you may find yourself wondering: What is a rare book? The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) defines something that is “rare” in a variety of ways, and some of them certainly apply to rare books. For example, the OED defines a rare object as “a thing or things . . . occurring infrequently, encountered only occasionally or at intervals, uncommon,” or “of a kind seldom found, done or occurring; unusual, uncommon, exceptional.” These definitions can help us to understand why a book might be rare—it is found infrequently, is uncommon to see or to hold, and is exceptional in some capacity. Yet, as you might guess, not all rare books are exceptional in the same ways.

     
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A Guide to Collecting the Works of Anchee Min

By Audrey Golden. Jan 14, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Awarded Books, Modern First Editions

Whether you’re just beginning to read the works of Anchee Min or are considering starting a contemporary literature collection that focuses on Min’s works, it’s essential to know more about her background to understand the potential ways of framing your collection. While many people simply collect all books written by a particular author, Min’s life story provides an interesting background for framing a larger collection that includes texts of the Chinese Cultural Revolution or the Chinese-American immigrant community in the U.S. and elsewhere.

     
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Homage to the Midwest: Building a Carl Sandburg Collection

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

Topics: Poetry, Modern First Editions, Books collecting

As a poet and writer born in Illinois in 1878, it might seem obvious that a collection of Carl Sandburg’s works would pay homage in some fashion to the Midwest. Yet more than many authors coming out of the Midwest, Carl Sandburg’s works truly conjure images of rolling prairies and Midwestern cityscapes. Although Sandburg ended up spending the last part of his life in rural Western North Carolina, the subject matter of his poems, biographical writings, and other texts always hearken back to the middle part of the country. From visualizations of cornfields and cornhuskers to biographical writings about Abraham Lincoln, Sandburg’s work is firmly rooted in Illinois soil. And although he spent more than two decades at his Flat Rock, North Carolina home, his ashes ultimately were buried in Galesburg, Illinois in 1967. Given the deep connection between Sandburg’s work and the Midwest, we want to give you some tips and advice for building a “Midwest” collection featuring the books of Carl Sandburg.

     
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Who Were Mark Twain's Publishers?

By Audrey Golden. Nov 30, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Book History, First Editions

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, or Mark Twain as he is known to many readers, wrote nearly two dozen books over the course of his career, not to mention the wide variety of essays that appeared in various literary magazines. He’s a popular author for new and seasoned collectors alike, and his fiction and essays have appeared in dozens of different editions for more than a century. Yet unless you’re extremely familiar with particular editions of Twain’s work, you may not be too knowledgeable about his many publishers. So, who were his publishers?

     
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Louisa May Alcott and the Continuing Relevance of Little Women

By Audrey Golden. Nov 29, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book History, Movie Tie-Ins

As you may know, a new adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s much-loved novel Little Women will appear in U.S. cinemas on Christmas Day of 2019. The recent film adaptation, directed and adapted by Academy Award-nominated Greta Gerwig, stars Meryl Streep as Aunt March, Emma Watson as Meg, Saoirse Ronan as Jo, Timothée Chalamet as Laurie, and Florence Pugh as Amy. Given the recent fascination with and interest in Little Women, we thought it would be a fantastic time to revisit the numerous cinematic adaptations of the novel across the last century, and to consider how the continuing relevance of Little Women might inspire you to start a single-author, single-novel book collection.

     
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The Fame and Fiction of William F. Buckley, Jr.

By Audrey Golden. Nov 24, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, Legendary Authors, Learn About Books

When most people think about William F. Buckley, Jr., they don’t think about Cold War spy novels or interviews with Beat poets and dramatists. Instead, they often think about Buckley's prominence in conservative politics. Yet he also made a name for himself when it came to fiction. We didn’t just reference Cold War spy novels and Jack Kerouac—two seemingly incompatible topics—out of nowhere. In fact, although you might not suspect it, Buckley wrote eleven novels about espionage and even interviewed Allen Ginsberg, Norman Mailer, and Jack Kerouac on television. Are you intrigued? Let us tell you a little bit more about William F. Buckley, Jr.’s fame and fiction.

     
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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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