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Building Your Rare Book Collection During a Pandemic

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

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting

A global health pandemic is devastating for a wide variety of reasons, from tragic illnesses and deaths to the closures of beloved community businesses. Of course, not being able to add to your rare book collection during a pandemic due to limited travel and funds is probably the least of your worries. Yet we also know that thinking about your rare book collection can be a welcome reprieve from a world that feels as if it’s in chaos with no clear light at the end of the tunnel. So, if you’re following all of the social distancing rules, and you’re taking the pandemic seriously, sheltering at home can offer a new chance to fall back in love with your collection and to dream up new ways of adding to it. So, in the spirit of self-care, we want to give you some tips for building your rare book collection during a pandemic. We hope these ideas will help you to get through the long months ahead until a vaccine becomes available, and we also hope that you’ll be able to use some of the tips and tricks even when you return to book-buying travel again in what will hope will be the not-too-distant future.

     
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What is a Bookplate?

Let’s say you found a rare book you want to add to your collection, and the bookseller’s description says it has a bookplate. You might be wondering precisely what a bookplate is, whether it is a newer addition to the book, and how it affects the value. These are all good questions, and there’s not a single answer to any of those inquiries. In all cases where a book contains a bookplate, it depends. We’ll give you some basic information about bookplates to help you understand how these additions to books came to be and how they can affect the value of an object. We’ll also tell you a little bit more about sources for discovering new information about bookplates if you get particularly interested. In the end, you could decide to establish an entire rare book collection around the bookplate, seeking out objects that contain them or seeking out the bookplates themselves.

     
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Boston's Rare Book Scene

By Audrey Golden. Dec 10, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting, Literary travel

Are you thinking about a trip to Boston at some point in your future? Boston’s rare book scene is unparalleled when it comes to a city featuring stellar rare bookstores, literary historic sites, and fabulous special collections libraries and archives. Whether you are planning to shop for rare books while you’re in the historic city or in Cambridge just across the Charles River, or you’re hoping to learn more about rare books and ephemera through research in archival collections, Boston has more than something to offer. If you’re traveling to the Boston area for work or pleasure, there are a wide variety of rare book options that you might consider indulging in while you’re there, and the options get even better if you decide to visit during Boston Rare Book Week.

     
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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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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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A Look Inside Presidential Libraries

Today is the anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's birthday. In addition to having been an exceptional statesman, Lincoln, like many of America's forefathers was also a prolific reader, amassing an impressive personal library. In honor of the late, great president, we've put together a post to give you a look inside presidential libraries.

     
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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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Best Bookish Podcasts for Collectors and Book Enthusiasts

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

Topics: Book Collecting, Book History

Would you currently describe yourself as a book collector? Are you interested in becoming a book collector anytime soon? If you’re intrigued by book collecting and you also like podcasts, we have some recommendations for you. For example, perhaps you want to learn more about tips for book collecting while you’re jogging, riding public transit, or driving in your car? There’s a podcast for that. Or, maybe, you’re interested in learning more about recent rare book acquisitions at special collections libraries. There are also podcasts that can give you access to the information and stories you’re seeking. The following are some of the most recent bookish podcasts for collectors and book enthusiasts.

     
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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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