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Early and Rare Books of Leonard Cohen

By Audrey Golden. Jul 6, 2024. 5:37 PM.

Topics: Poetry, Rare Books, Music

Leonard Cohen (1934-2016), songwriter and musician extraordinaire, is best known for the music he made during his lifetime, with albums like Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967), Songs from a Room (1969), Songs of Love and Hate (1971), and Death of a Ladies’ Man (1977). He continued recording albums throughout his life, releasing You Want It Darker (2016) the year of his death.

Yet Cohen was also a poet and novelist, and early first editions of his written work are quite valuable, rare, and elusive. Whether you’re interested in Cohen’s music and want to expand your vinyl collection to include rare books, or you’re starting a book collection made up of works by musicians (yes, there are quite a few musicians who have also published books of poetry and fiction), we want to supply you with some of the information you’ll need to start collecting. We’ve put together some details for you about some of the earliest and rarest Leonard Cohen books to seek out for your collection.


Collecting from the Hogarth Press

By Audrey Golden. May 19, 2024. 8:07 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting, Literature

If you read or collect modernist literature or focus on the early twentieth century in any capacity, you’ve likely heard of the Hogarth Press. While the press is still in operation today after a relaunch of sorts in 2011, it originally operated from 1917 until 1946. As you might already know, novelist and writer extraordinaire Virginia Woolf established the Hogarth Press with her husband, Leonard Woolf, in 1917 to publish great works of modernism by writers of the time.


Rare Books in American College Towns

There are many places to shop for rare books in the United States, and rare book collectors often think about major cities and urban areas where antiquarian bookstores are open for browsing and antiquarian book fairs come to town annually. Yet there are also many smaller towns and cities across the country that can be exciting locations for rare book shopping. We want to introduce you to used and rare bookstores, as well as special collections libraries, in some of America’s best-loved college towns.


Buying Rare Ephemera: Some Reference Terms

By Audrey Golden. Jan 19, 2023. 10:07 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting

Are you thinking about expanding your collection of rare books to include promotional objects connected to a book’s release, advertisements, textiles, photographs, and other objects? What you might be thinking about doing is expanding your collection to include ephemera. Many rare book collectors and sellers focus on ephemera, and the term can have a variety of meanings. For some people, the term ephemera is defined narrowly referring to print materials that were not designed to last, such as postcards or newspaper advertisements. For other people, the term can be applied much more broadly to include many different objects, which may or may not be paper-based, that speak to the notion of ephemerality in one way or another. If you’re considering a shift toward ephemera in your collection, you’ll need to acquaint yourself with some terminology that can help you to shape your collection and to understand the condition of objects that you might be thinking about purchasing.


Punk Research: The DC Punk Archive

There are many ideas about what constitutes a library and what should be contained in a special collection library or archive. Naturally, different people have their own opinions about what is and isn’t worth preserving, what constitutes a collection of rare books and ephemera, or what kinds of materials should be housed in research centers.

While the subject matter at one time might have fallen squarely outside the bounds of academic subject matter, punk in general has become a target for collectors and researchers in the US, the UK, and various other parts of the world.

While you can’t buy any of the materials for your own collection, if you're hoping to expand the boundaries of your collecting knowledge or you want to think about ways to organize and develop your own collection of music, zines, handbills, books, and other materials, the DC Punk Archive could be the perfect place for you to get started.


Rare Books and 20th-Century South American Publishing Houses

By Audrey Golden. Sep 30, 2021. 7:40 PM.

Topics: Rare Books, Literary travel

So you say you’re interested in rare books, and you’re particularly intrigued by Spanish-language presses? While many different language and national traditions have given rise to incredible rare book presses over the decades, some of the presses in Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Spain, and the Philippines. As a result of centuries of colonization and migration, Spanish-language presses exist around the world. If you collect Spanish-language books in particular, or if you have a large collection of a particular author or specific title and you’re looking to expand to foreign-language editions, we highly recommend exploring some of the exciting presses that existed (and some that still persist) in the regions we mentioned. Today, we want to tell you more about two of the most prominent South American publishing houses that have contributed to enormous amounts of Spanish-language rare book collecting.


Redefining the Rare Book: An Interview on Andrew Stauffer's Book Traces

By Audrey Golden. Feb 26, 2021. 12:37 PM.

Topics: Rare Books, Libraries & Special Collections, Libraries

What makes a book rare? Can books have afterlives? And when might markings and ephemera in well-loved texts actually increase the worth of the object? Andrew Stauffer's new book, Book Traces: Nineteenth-Century Readers the Future of the Library (U of Pennsylvania Press, 2021), investigates the personal and collective narratives that arise out of nineteenth-century library books in circulation at varied institutions.


Is My Inherited Book Collection Worth Anything?

By Audrey Golden. Feb 4, 2021. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting

So you say you recently inherited a book collection from your grandparent, your parent, a distant family member, a neighbor, or a family friend? If you’re not familiar with the rare book trade and you don’t have too much experience buying or selling rare books, you might feel lost among the boxes or shelves. Most likely, you’re wondering if this inherited book collection is worth anything. Many rare booksellers and archivists have tales about being approached with old books that the owners believe to be valuable solely based on age or incorrect assumptions about the book’s provenance. Of course, terms like “worth” and “value” are always relative, and we’ll say more about that in just a few minutes. But before we do, we want to tackle the complicated question of whether an inherited book collection has any market value and what that means for your inheritance.


Should I Buy Rare Books at Auction?

By Audrey Golden. Jan 21, 2021. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting

If you are a rare book collector, or if you’re thinking about starting a rare book collection, you might be wondering about buying at auction. Whether you’re going to travel to an auction in person or you’re browsing online auction offerings, you’ll need to think about the pros and cons of buying rare books at auction. Certainly, adding to your collection by participating in an auction can be great fun, but we want to make sure you know precisely what it is you’re getting yourself into. Here are some key questions to consider before you place a bid.


Fore-Edge Gilding and Decorating

By Shelley Kelber. Jan 12, 2021. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting, Condition

Storing books standing on their edges is a relatively new practice. The most common storage prior to the 16th century was to pile them horizontally with the fore-edge facing out. The fore-edge is the edge opposite the spine of the book. Identification issues were resolved by marking the books with a design on this edge or writing the book's title 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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