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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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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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Rare Books By Women Writers

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

Topics: Book Collecting, Collecting guide

A large majority of books collected are not books by women writers. But right here, right now, you can help to change that! While book collecting historically has been a pastime, passion, and even mania inhabited largely by men for so many problematic reasons, many women collectors and women writers are helping to shape a shift. More women should collect, and more people in general should collect rare books by women writers. While there are so many novelists, poets, and short story writers to choose from, we want to offer you a broad sampling of some of the rare books by women writers that you, too, could be collecting.

     
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What Are Clamshell Boxes and Why Are They Important?

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

Topics: Book Collecting, Book Care, Collecting guide

If you are a book collector or a collector of rare ephemera, you already may know about clamshell boxes and their importance for preserving rare books and paper. In short, a clamshell box is a particular type of bespoke archival box that is made individually for a specific book or collection of papers. 

To be clear, clamshell boxes open up just like books and are usually custom-made according to the specifications of a particular book or object. As such, no two customized clamshell boxes are necessarily alike. They’re also frequently decorated with handmade papers, making clamshell boxes protective tools as well as decorative items for a library shelf. Anyone who owns rare books should learn more about clamshell boxes and should consider having them custom-made for particularly rare volumes.

     
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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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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 Brief Guide to Collecting Pat Conroy

By Brian Hoey. Oct 26, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, American Literature, Collecting guide

Pat Conroy, who died in 2016 at the age of 70, was one of the most acclaimed Southern writers of the 20th century. He mined material from his own varied life experience to write compelling fiction and memoirs on the military brat subculture, life at The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, and his experiences as an English teacher. His nuanced portrayals of subjects sometimes overlooked by mainstream literature have made him a beloved figure among many and a sought after author among collectors.

     
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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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