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

Recent Posts:

Pablo Neruda: Rarest Spanish Language Editions

By Audrey Golden. Aug 4, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Awarded Books, Nobel Prize Winners

Many of the Chilean poet and diplomat Pablo Neruda’s books are extremely collectable. Nearly any edition of a Neruda book can see its market value enhanced significantly if it’s signed or inscribed by Neruda. Indeed, speaking of the latter, a presentation copy or association copy of a mass-produced paperback marked by Neruda’s hand can fetch thousands of dollars. Yet there are also a number of first editions, without any inscription to a particular person or in some cases even a Neruda signature, that are immensely valuable due to their rarity. Given that Neruda’s work has been translated into many different languages and employed at various political moments across the globe, it shouldn’t be surprising to learn that there are many translated editions of the poet’s work that are extremely rare and valuable. We’re going to focus here on some of the rarest Spanish language editions.

     
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Bookish Apps for the Avid Collector

By Audrey Golden. Jul 31, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, collectors

If you have a book collection, you’re probably like many other collectors of books and ephemera—you want to catalogue what you have. You probably also want to have an easy way to access information about your collection. There are some apps available that can help you to do just that. Beyond apps, some websites also exist for the sheer purpose of helping you to catalog your book collection, as well as to keep a “wants” list for new books that might pop up for sale. We’ve looked at a number of these apps and sites, and we’ve tested some of them out—some with benefits for serious collectors, and some that we just don’t like. We’ll tell you about a couple of the apps and tools we like best, but ultimately, we find that digital gadgets for book collecting leave something to be desired (hint, hint, app designers).

     
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Chicago’s Rare Book Scene

Planning a trip to Chicago anytime soon? Like a number of other major cities in the U.S. and across the globe, Chicago has its own vibe, its own pizza, and its own rare book scene. We want to tell you more about all the city has to offer for buying rare books at stores and fairs, and for delving into rare book research at some of Chicago’s special collections libraries.

     
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Book Collecting as a Woman

By Audrey Golden. Jun 2, 2020. 9:49 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Books collecting, collectors

As a woman who collects rare books, ephemera, and vinyl records, I think about the gendered aspects of collecting a lot more than some other people might. I’ve been collecting for years—well, for decades, really. I have a few different collections that I’ve been developing over the years, and those collections are quite disparate from one another. The variety of the items in these collections means that I end up interacting with many different kinds of sellers and collectors, so my experiences aren’t limited to a single temporal period, genre, or medium. What I continue to find, dishearteningly, is that women often are still treated differently than men when it comes to collecting. Certainly, there are more women collectors and more women rare booksellers than there were in previous decades and generations. Yet the playing field doesn’t feel quite equal.

     
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How to Choose What Kind of Book to Collect

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

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting, Collecting guide

If you want to start a book collection but you don’t know where to begin, we’re here to help. While many collections arise out of the collector’s enthusiasm for a particular author, genre, or field, book collections can have a wide variety of starting points. Depending upon the collection, the organizing principles might immediately be recognizable to an average onlooker, or the collection may look entirely disordered with categorizations and classifications developed out of the idiosyncratic mind of the collector. The types of books and ephemera you choose to collect ultimately will depend upon your own interests. One thing is true for all collectors, though: whatever kind of books you to select, make sure you’re passionate about the collection.

     
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Los Angeles's Rare Book Scene

Los Angeles has a rare book scene all of its own. With the city’s deep roots in cinema and Hollywood production, not surprisingly, many rare bookstores in the city have an incredible selection of film books, screenplays, and other materials tied to the silver screen. At the same time, Los Angeles is also a beacon for contemporary art, and many of the city’s rare bookshops reflect the modern and contemporary art scene. Like other major urban areas in the U.S., if you visit at the right time, you may find yourself in Los Angeles during a book fair. From shops to annual fairs, the Los Angeles rare book scene has much to offer.

     
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Are Paperbacks Worth Anything?

By Audrey Golden. May 5, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting

Whether you already have a collection of paperback books or are thinking about starting one, you might be wondering if paperbacks have any market value. The answer to that inquiry depends on a wide variety of factors, from the scarcity or rarity of the paperback book to the history of the specific paperback book as a physical object. For example, was the paperback owned by a prominent writer, or was it inscribed by a notable author? Or, is the paperback part of a limited first edition of the book? Is the book printed on handmade paper? These are just a few of the questions you might consider when evaluating the market value of a paperback book. While you might assume that hardcover books with dust jackets have greater market value than paperback books, this is not the case. While hardcover books with intact dust jackets can have significant market value, the same is true for many paperbacks.

     
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A Vincent Van Gogh Book Spotlight: Lust for Life

By Audrey Golden. Apr 30, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Biographies, Art

Vincent Van Gogh lived a short life and committed suicide when he was only 37 years old. For many painters, writers, and collectors, Van Gogh’s story is an interesting one, often shrouded in mystique due to the artist’s own struggles with mental health issues and psychic instability. After his death, when Van Gogh’s paintings finally received the acclaim that they never did in his lifetime, public interest also grew surrounding the artist’s life story. Rumors circulated about his madness and his creative genius. In the 1920s, a young Irving Stone (born Irving Tennenbaum) traveled with his then-wife Lona Mosk to Paris, where he began investigating Van Gogh’s life and works. Stone’s research led to the critically acclaimed biography Lust for Life (1934).

     
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What is the History of the ISBN?

By Audrey Golden. Apr 28, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting

If you’ve ever purchased a new book from a bookstore, a secondhand book, or a textbook for a course, you’ve most likely held a book that has an ISBN number. Sometimes college and university faculty will emphasize the need to buy a book for a course with a specific ISBN number to ensure that everyone has the same edition. You might even have entered an ISBN number if you’ve gone onto a publisher’s website with the intention of identifying or ordering a book. Anyone who has ever had to use an ISBN number already knows, most likely, that these numbers can have 10 digits or 13 digits. Even though many of us have identified a book by its ISBN number in some fashion, it’s rare to take a step back and to think about the purpose and history of the ISBN number. We want to tell you more about the history of the ISBN and why these numbers can be extremely helpful to book collectors.

     
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Questions to Ask When Visiting a Special Collections Library

By Audrey Golden. Apr 25, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Libraries & Special Collections, Libraries

Whenever you are in search of a particular rare book that you know a special collections library owns, or when you are seeking out information about a specific author and are hoping to find something exciting and new in that author’s papers, you’ll need to be prepared. Some special collections libraries require you to get permission in advance of your visit to conduct research in a particular writer’s papers (or in the special collections library more generally). Sometimes, especially if a library has recently acquired a collection, it won’t yet be open to researchers. You could really find yourself in a bind if you travel to visit an archive only to learn that you can’t access the materials within it. To prepare for a visit to a special collections library, we have some key questions you should consider before you go and while you’re there.

     
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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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