Category Archives: Internet Resources for Booksellers and Book Collectors

Chapter 707 Lots of Links

From time to time, on the various bookseller and librarian chat lists, people share links to resources they’ve found handy for research. Thinking that these might also be handy for me (and maybe you, dear reader?), I want to save these links, so I’m posting them here.  Following are a list of a few of the most recent sites that have come to my attention:

A Chronology of Office Copying Processes, derived from Luis Nadeau’s Encyclopedia of Printing, Photographic, and Photomechanical Processes (1993). It lists 64 processes and describes them and the papers and inks used.

From the blog Bibliofile:  “Photo+Design (a division of Yale University ITS / Academic Technologies), has produced a free introductory guide to handling rare books and other works on paper in libraries’ special collections … which was vetted by Yale conservators and curators. “Rare Book Photography: An Introduction” explains handling and photographic practices that support libraries’ preservation aims and the needs of researchers in clear language accompanied by many illustrations.

From the University of Barcelona, “The database Printers’ Devices of the Ancient Book Section of the Library of the University of Barcelona, was launched in October of 1998.

The working methodology used is directly tied to the cataloguing process of ancient books, approaching the printers in parallel to the elaboration of the bibliographic records. In this way, the printers’ authority records incorporated to the catalogue, are made available to the public thorough the database Printers’ Devices, together with the corresponding image or images.

Given this approach to the input process, the criteria of inclusion of the different entries are neither chronological nor geographical. And so, the database covers from the XVI to the XVIII century, and geographically from all around Europe but mostly from Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, Germany and Low Countries, reflecting the collection’s own personality.

The Database offers a link from the printers’ entries to the corresponding bibliographical records in the Catalogue of the Library of the University of Barcelona that includes them as a secondary entry, as well as a link to the bibliographical record of the book from which we have obtained the image of the device.”

For booksellers and collectors who use BookHound software to keep track of their book purchases and sales comes the welcome announcement that Bibliopolis is releasing an updated version of the software, BookHound 8.

Also, over the past couple of months I’ve added three new (to me) blogs to my sidebar, all written by booksellers, all instructive and entertaining, and all blogs you should consider taking a look at. The first is Greg Gibson’s (Ten Pound Island Book Company) Bookman’s Log. The second is Bibliodeviancy . . . Book Lust Unbound, the blog of Adrian Harrington Rare Books.

I’d also like to introduce you to the blog of a bookseller who recently joined our ranks, Triolet Rare Books. Jesse Rossa was recently featured as one of Fine Books & Collections’ “Bright Young Things” and recently exhibited at the San Francisco Antiquarian Book, Print, and Paper Fair.

Well, that’s a lot of links! Hope you’ll find them useful.  I’m off to two basketball games (Tom) and one flag football game (Huck).  I haven’t posted about the boys in quite a while, but they’ve been busy growing up anyway.

Here’s Tom, now age 13 and caught mid-air at a recent basketball game, He’s a little over six feet (2 meters) tall and is in the white uniform, #3):

Here’s Huck, age 11, and ready to give an oral report in History on John Paul Jones, father of the American Navy.  He’s dressed in costume for the report.

See you in the stacks!


Filed under Internet Resources for Booksellers and Book Collectors

Chapter 706 No, The ABAA Is Not A Misspelled Fan Club for Disco Supergroup ABBA, Or, Benefits of ABAA Membership

When I started Book Hunter’s Holiday in 2007, I spent considerable time wondering whether I could or should become a member of the ABAA (Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America). I knew that the three book fairs sponsored by the ABAA are the largest in the United States, and I was fortunate to find a mentor who was already a member of this distinguished group of antiquarian booksellers. I was also lucky that my mentor invited me as his guest to local meetings of the Northern California Chapter of the ABAA so I could get to know some of the bookseller members of the group and check it out for myself. Not everyone is so fortunate. What is a new bookseller to do if he doesn’t know any members of the ABAA or doesn’t know about much about how to go about joining this grand organization? Keep reading.

Are you an antiquarian bookseller? Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be an ABAA  member or thought about joining this trade association of the best rare booksellers in the United States?

On March 7, at 2:00 p.m. ET, you can learn about the history of the organization, its goals, and its requirements for membership as well as participate in a question and answer session by signing up for an informational “Webinar” (an internet-based seminar). To learn more about it and to sign up to participate, be sure and click here.

UPDATED:  Read a report of a bookseller who participated in the last Webinar here.

Leave a comment

Filed under A Bookseller's Education, Internet Resources for Booksellers and Book Collectors, Organization

Chapter 660 Bookplate Junkies and Bits and Pieces of Print Culture

Recently, an interview with one of my blogging colleagues, Lew Jaffe, author of the blog, Bookplate Junkie, was brought to my attention. Lew Jaffe has been collecting bookplates for over 30 years and posts some marvelous examples of them over at his blog.

Click here to read the interview with Lew at Artifact Collectors blog.

Long ago, I wrote about how much fun it is to research bookplates, those little bits and pieces of print culture that tell us about a book’s ownership.

See you in the stacks!

Leave a comment

Filed under A Bookseller's Education, Ephemera, Internet Resources for Booksellers and Book Collectors

Chapter 658 The Privilege of Calling Myself “Antiquarian Bookseller”, Or, Book Hunter’s Holiday, ABAA

I am happy to say that today I reached a goal I set for myself a long time ago, a goal I pursued even though I wasn’t entirely sure I would ever reach it. Today, my application for membership in the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA) was approved at the Summer Meeting of the Board of Governors of that organization!

It still doesn’t quite seem real. Today I became a member of the ABAA.

How great!

How terrifying!

I must be dreaming. Someone pinch me. On second thought, don’t. I think I like this dream.

I can’t remember where or from whom I first heard about the ABAA, back in the days when I didn’t know any booksellers personally, I had babies running around the house, and I barely had time to even read about antiquarian books, but upon hearing about this association of booksellers who work hard to promote the trade, who have a Board of Governors (!), a written Code of Ethics, and exclusive book fairs where only their own members can exhibit, I immediately thought, “I probably am too old to learn to be an antiquarian bookseller and even if I could, I’ll never be a good enough bookseller to be part of that group.” 

Are you wondering why I said such a thing? You might recall one of my many longstanding phobias about bookselling — being told by a better bookseller than I that I am not a bookseller.  Recall:

“I may be a new bookseller, but I know enough to know that when I visit the shop of another bookseller I should introduce myself (oh, the horror!) and identify myself as a bookseller. Still, I always find this to be an awkward moment. I’ve no reason to make assumptions, but my insecurity makes me think the owner will tell me I’m not a bookseller (because I sell online) and to leave the shop. I cower in fear of being assailed with all of the ways the brilliant shop owner knows more than I do. This has never actually happened to me, and I realize there is no logical reason why I should think that it will, but I just do.”

What happened between my telling myself I couldn’t do it several years ago and now?  If you’ve been reading this blog, you already know the story, and if you haven’t and you want to know, then you can start here. What happened is that I decided to disregard my phobias and reach out to those around me — to other booksellers and other book collectors for their knowledge, advice, and friendship; to my family for their support in my home-based business endeavor; and to you, the readers of this very blog, who sometimes commented or emailed or introduced yourselves to me at book fairs and reassured me that I was not crazy to try to become an antiquarian bookseller, that I could do it. What also happened was a lot of hard work — learning how to start and run a business; learning the trade as quickly as possible by finding a mentor, reading, talking and corresponding with others; selling books on my website, in printed catalogues, and at book fairs; and going to educational seminars near and far as often as I can.

Does joining the ABAA mean I’m a different bookseller than I was yesterday? No. I think I’ve always done my best to select good books for sale and to conduct my business in a professional and ethical manner and that would continue whether I became an ABAA member or not. What ABAA membership means, among other things, is that I can be and do and learn more by being a contributing member of an organization that is larger than one person working alone in a tiny corner of her dining room in between driving kids in carpools and washing the dishes. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this time with regard to my joining the ABAA:

Does this make me a marquee bookseller? I certainly think not. Not even close. What it made me was someone who could be a small part of a larger team. I’ve since made friends with dealers of all kinds and and even occasionally sold books to those marquee sellers, those much higher in the bookseller food chain than myself. You know the ones. They are the quarterbacks who call the plays in the antiquarian book world, and everyone knows who they are and speaks their names with reverence, passing on the legends of some of their best book plays. Even though I’m not (yet) one of these sellers, it’s (usually) a real thrill and honor to sell them a book (or two or three or more).”

No, I am definitely not anywhere near the top of the bookselling food chain.  I do believe, though, that at long last I have earned the privilege of calling myself “antiquarian bookseller” and believing myself when I say it. May I always endeavor to be worthy of the title.

See you in the stacks!


Filed under A Bookseller's Education, A Family Business, Getting Started, Internet Resources for Booksellers and Book Collectors, Organization, Uncategorized

Chapter 643 And the Winner is . . .

Choice #2!

Thanks very much to all (41 people!) who voted on the various options for the look of the Book Hunter’s Holiday blog and to those who took time to send me comments and email with suggestions for improvement. Here’s how the final tally looks:

Choice #2 (above) received 37% of the vote.

Choice #1 (below) received 19% of the vote.

Choice #3 (below) tied with Choice #1, receiving 19% of the vote.

Choice #4, (below) the way the old blog looked, received 15% of the vote.

11% of voters chose “other” and a few of these readers sent me emails about what they would change.

More than one of you did not like the photo of the books that was in the header. Someone even generously said that the books I’ve offered for sale at book fairs and on my website look better than the ones in the photo. The photo was a stock photo of old books, not my books, but point taken. Still others felt that the dark brown background was too dark on the eyes and that the “blizzard white” background was to hard on the eyes, and encouraged me to find some kind of custom-color happy medium. Nearly all who commented felt that the Book Hunter’s Holiday logo (known as the Book Hunter) should be prominent on the page. There was almost equal disagreement about whether the blog ought to have one or two sidebars. The advantage of two sidebars is that one doesn’t have to scroll down so far on the screen to see the information in the sidebar. That said, the advantage of one sidebar is that there is less visual distraction on the page.

So, what’s coming next? The blog will start incorporating both the winning layout and a few other modifications that take into account some of the specific comments people made. I’ll start working on that today, but the process is likely to take a few days. If you’re reading this on a blog reader or via email subscription, you might want to periodically check in here to see how the remodel is coming along.

Thanks again for your input. I really value your opinions and will use the information I gleaned from the informal poll to make a more dynamic and more readable blog, a place you might look forward to visiting.

See you in the stacks!

Leave a comment

Filed under A Bookseller's Education, Internet Resources for Booksellers and Book Collectors, Organization

Chapter 641 Blog Remodel: Thanks for Telling Me What You Like and What You Don’t

Thanks so much to all who gave feedback on the blog’s new look, whether by comment, email, or telephone.  It really helps me to know how the blog looks on your computer (or cell phone or iPad). I’ve received both praise and gentle criticism for the new look, which suggests to me that there are a few improvements that can still be made.

I’ve been told that on some browsers the dark brown background of the blog looks black, so in the next few days I will be experimenting with a different color scheme that is lighter in tone. The background should look brown, but not so brown it appears black.

I’ve also had a few people sign up for email subscriptions and I was notified of those subscriptions, but when someone else tried to sign up tonight (Tuesday), clicking on the subscription button took her to a blank screen, so I’ll try to resolve that issue as well. I’ll let you know when the problem is resolved so that if you’d like to sign up for a “subscription” to have new blog posts from this blog delivered to your email inbox, you can do so.

If you are reading the blog on an iPhone or an iPad, you should be able to read it just fine, but when viewed from these devices, the layout and color scheme of the blog look completely different from the way they look on a computer because the iPhone and iPad use mobile browsers to “read” online content. Apparently, these are different than a computer browser. (I am a total amateur when it comes to understanding how technology actually works. I just know that usually it does work.)  Once I resolve the issues on the computer version of the blog and reach a “final” format, I will adjust the layout for mobile browsers as well.

I am so glad to have had so many responses. It’s my desire to make this blog a place you enjoy visiting (perhaps with a cup of tea in hand).  I also want to make it a worthwhile resource for those who want to learn more about book collecting and bookselling. Additionally, I want the blog to link to my store website so I can sell a few books along the way.  It’s going to take a bit more revision to get everything to work in harmony, but I think I can do it in the next several days.

Thanks for your patience while the remodel continues. I’ll be back just as soon as I can.

See you in the stacks!

Leave a comment

Filed under A Bookseller's Education, Internet Resources for Booksellers and Book Collectors, Organization

Chapter 640 Unveiling the New Look

Tom and Huck were both busy with plans of their own this weekend, which meant that, strangely, I had plenty of time to work on books virtually uninterrupted. This is a rare weekend occurrence and I did not let it go to waste. It was a productive weekend, as I re-modeled and updated this blog, attended an antiques fair across the San Francisco Bay, and went to an auction in Silicon Valley.  It’s late Sunday as I type this, and I am now ready to relax with a book and some tea. Iced tea, that is. The sun finally broke through in the Bay Area today and it is nearly 80 degrees fahrenheit.

If you’re reading this blog, thank you. I’d love it if you take a look at the new layout and color-scheme and let me know what you think. I’ll point out a few of the differences and new features. A few things still need a little tweaking, but this amateur is glad to have managed the changes I did make.

If you’re reading this post through RSS subscription or a blog reader such as Google Reader, you might want to click through to the actual blog today so you can see the changes for yourself. You can click here to see the re-vamped version of the blog.

1) New menu feature at the top of the home page.

Eventually, I plan to re-design the Book Hunter’s Holiday online bookstore, and, when I do, I hope it’s format will look similar to the blog. Why? I don’t really know. I like symmetry. I like people to know that the blog and the bookstore are related.  I plan to use the menu at the top of the blog on my bookstore website as well in order to unify the two sites. You can use the menu to read about how Book Hunter’s Holiday got started, to access the blog home page, and to shop the online antiquarian bookstore. Under News and Events, you can access any news articles that feature Book Hunter’s Holiday (yeah, wishful thinking, I know, but there have actually been a couple over the years). Under Catalogues and Bulletins, you will find images and a downloadable PDF of all (one of) my catalogues and some of the one-item bulletins I’ve written for book fairs.  Under the last section, Helpful Resources, you will find links to all sorts of places such as the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar, Rare Book School, auction record subscriptions, bookseller associations, and book collecting organizations.

2) On the left sidebar, you will find a link to the Book Hunter’s Holiday bookstore, our IOBA (Independent Online Booksellers Association) badge, the story of the Book Hunter’s Holiday logo (drawn by my great-grandmother), an explanation of what makes an antiquarian bookseller different from other booksellers, and a list of books I’m currently reading.  A while ago, a reader asked if there was any way to subscribe to this blog by email. I am happy to say that you can now do that, and you will find the subscription link on the left sidebar, too.

3)  On the right sidebar, you will find a downloadable PDF our most recent catalogue, a feature that allows you to search the blog for past posts, the five most recent posts, the top 10 most-read posts, and a search field for Categories and blog Archives.  I’ve also updated my blogroll, removing any links that are no longer in operation and updating a few whose blogs have migrated to new addresses.

4) You’ll find content, the heart of the blog, unchanged, right smack in the middle of the page.  As much as I like the ability to add more nifty features, I suspect (hope?) that most of you are here for the content. I know I am. I’m writing the blog to keep a record of my life as an antiquarian bookseller.  All of my book finds, sweet triumphs, ridiculous failures, and ongoing social awkwardness will continue to appear here.  If you like a particular post, there is a feature that will allow you to email the link to a friend or share the post via Facebook, Twitter, and a few other social network services. Your ability to leave comments and let me know what you’re thinking remains the same. Simply read to the bottom of a post and fill out the comment box.

I hope you’ll find that these changes make the blog easier to use and more dynamic. If, in your travels through various parts of the blog, you note a feature that doesn’t work like it should or doesn’t make sense or detracts from the blog as a whole, please leave a comment and let me know.

Last but not least, thank you for your readership. A few of you have been reading since the beginning, and I can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed knowing that others have followed my progress as a bookseller (Hi, Mom!) and getting to know a few you via comments and even in person.

See you in the stacks!


Filed under Internet Resources for Booksellers and Book Collectors, Organization

Chapter 639 Extreme Blog Makeover

I don’t have any book fairs until September, so I’m making a list of goals for my book business and housekeeping tasks for both this blog and my online bookstore. The first thing that you might notice if you’re a regular reader is that, sometime between Friday and Monday, the blog will have a new look. After nearly three years of blogging about what it’s like to make the transition from former English teacher and stay-at-home mom to antiquarian bookseller, I think the blog is ready for a more sophisticated but still user-friendly look. All of the archives and sidebar features will still be accessible. The color scheme and the font may change, and thanks to the ability to add some graphics, the style will look different. I plan on working on my store website over the summer.

If you have time, please check back in Monday and leave a comment to let me know what you think of the changes.

See you after the Extreme Blog Makeover!

Leave a comment

Filed under A Bookseller's Education, Internet Resources for Booksellers and Book Collectors, Organization, Uncategorized

Chapter 578 Questions New Collectors Ought to Ask Booksellers, Or How We Can Help You, Part 2

If you read Part 1 of this post and its related post at The Private Library, welcome back. If you’re just finding this post for the first time, click here, to see what Part 1 was all about. Once again, the always intelligent Private Library has posted more advice to new collectors from the perspective of other collectors. I’m an antiquarian bookseller and I’m answering questions that I am sometimes asked by new collectors.

5. Which reference books will help me identify books that fit my collection?
This is why it is handy to get to know a good antiquarian bookseller. A good antiquarian bookseller, unlike the internet, will have at least a shelf-full (and, I hope, an entire case-full or more) of good print reference books. While it is easy to research current asking prices of books for sale by checking out online aggregators like or, and one can even pay a subscription fee to learn past auction prices on many titles, it is still difficult to find online accurate information for identifying first editions of various books, examples of authors’ signatures, and lists of important books in particular subject areas. Getting to know a good bookseller will help you learn the important references and bibliographies in your subject area and will help you learn. Over time, you can acquire your own copies of these references.

6. How can I learn the terminology associated with book collecting?
A good place to start is John Carter’s ABC for Book Collectors. Buy a copy of the book and keep it on hand when you are reading book descriptions. It will go a long way toward helping you to understand the truncated language of many bookseller catalogues. You can also access Carter’s ABC online at the website for the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB):

Another thing to learn early on, perhaps even before you start collecting books, is the meaning of various book condition definitions. The Independent Online Booksellers Association (IOBA) includes definitions of these things here.

Another useful general print resource is Geoffrey Glaister’s Encyclopedia of the Book, a large and comprehensive listing of terms used in papermaking, bookbinding, and publishing.

This list is merely a start. The more you learn, the more you’ll be led to the best reference books in the area in which you like to collect.

7. How do I learn who are the experts in the field in which I am collecting?

Depending on the type of book you collect and the amount of time you have to devote to scouting for books, you may wish to deal primarily with a specialist book dealer. A specialist will not only know and understand your subject area, but, if he is known as a specialist in a particular field, will also frequently be offered books in that field by other booksellers before those books are offered on the open market. Still, there’s a lot to be said for the fun of scouting for books from a general antiquarian bookseller. If you’re in it for the thrill of the hunt, as many collectors are, and you have time to slowly build your collection, make the time to scout out the shop (brick and mortar or online) of the general bookseller or the booths of the variety of sellers at an antiquarian book fair. Check out the Antiquarian Bookseller’s Association (ABAA) website to see a directory of some antiquarian booksellers and their various specialties.

8. How do I learn when there are book sales and book fairs in my geographic region?

Shopping for books at book fairs is fun. Where else do you have a gathering of booksellers who sell a huge variety of books under one roof? Book fairs offer one-stop shopping and the chance to see a range of books of all kinds. Library sales, too, can be fun places to hunt for prized tomes hidden amongst the ordinary books. In order to go to book fairs and library sales, you need to have them on your calendar. Book Sale Finder can help you find upcoming library sales, book fairs, and even auctions in your area.

9. What tools will help me keep track of my books and the prices I paid for them?

Keeping record of one’s books, especially if you hope to sell them later, should be a high priority for the new book collector. There are quite a few computer programs that can help you keep track of your books, their authors, their catalogue descriptions, and the price you paid to purchase them. Don’t wait until you have collected hundreds of books to start keeping track of them. Your life will be much easier if you catalogue each book as you get it. (Oh how I wish I took my own advice!) Here are a few that, depending on how extensively you wish to catalogue your books, are worth examining:

Book Hound is designed for booksellers, but could be used by a collector as well.

BookTrakker has both bookseller and book collector editions of its software.

My Book Collection is easy to use and practical for collectors. is useful for those who collect books with an ISBN number (that is to say books published in last 40 or so years.)

If you’re new to book collecting, allow me to be the first to say welcome! And thanks for taking the time to get acquainted with some of the basic points I’ve written about. If you have any other book-related questions I can answer, please ask away in the comment box below.

And don’t forget to read all about what experienced collectors have to share with new collectors over at The Private Library.


Filed under A Bookseller's Education, Bibliography and Reference Books, Getting Started, Internet Resources for Booksellers and Book Collectors, Uncategorized

Chapter 577 Questions New Collectors Ought to Ask Booksellers, Or, How We Can Help You, Part 1

Several times in the past I’ve mentioned The Private Library, an educational and informative blog for book collectors and booksellers alike. Today is the first in a two-part series on advice for new book collectors. Originally we had hoped to publish our advice as a print article, but then we decided that what we’d written was better designed for interactivity. The Private Library will present the collector’s perspective if you click here, and over here at Book Hunter’s Holiday, I’ll be presenting the point of view of an antiquarian bookseller, or at least the views of this antiquarian bookseller. We hope you find it helpful and we hope to generate some discussion in the comments sections of our blogs. If, after reading this, you have other questions related to book collecting, ask away in the comment box and I’ll do my best to respond. And now, here’s the article:

Questions New Collectors Ought to Ask Booksellers, Or, How Booksellers Can Help You, Part 1

Before I started selling books, I started collecting them. I was new to the “gentle madness” of book collecting, and I was a little bit intimidated and afraid to walk into an antiquarian bookshop. They’re usually so quiet. Would it be ok to browse? What if I didn’t find any good books to buy? What if the owner was unfriendly and unwilling to help a beginner, as some bookshop owners are rumored to be? It turned out I needn’t have worried. Most of the booksellers I met were friendly, so much so that I ultimately decided to become an antiquarian bookseller myself.

While there are certainly a few booksellers who fit the image of the introverted curmudgeon, most of us antiquarian booksellers love to discuss books and book collecting, sharing our enthusiasm and our knowledge with those who’d like to learn. In that spirit, here are a few ideas for what you might ask your favorite bookseller when you start collecting.

1. Can you help me?
Especially if you are new to book collecting, do not be intimidated by antiquarian booksellers or be afraid to ask them questions. That’s one of the reasons why we’re here. The vast majority of us are in business to sell books and to help you build a meaningful collection. If you encounter a grumpy bookseller, simply move on until you find someone willing to help you. We are happy to help you get started, we recognize that learning about book collecting and building a meaningful book collection takes time, and good booksellers answer your questions about books — which leads to the next thing we booksellers wish you would ask us.

2. How do I get started building a meaningful book collection (as opposed to just accumulating books)?
There are as many types of book collections as there are collectors, so you’ll have to be the one to determine the subject of your collecting. I remember when I first started collecting books. Some years ago, author and antiquarian bookseller John Dunning came to sign books and answer questions at a local store. New to the world of book collecting myself, I asked him how, if a person was interested in book collecting, she might get started. He laughed and gave an answer along the lines of, “If you have to ask the question, maybe book collecting isn’t for you.” His point was that we are restricted only by our imaginations, our budgets, and our ability to find good books. We should collect what we like and we will learn along the way. Even if you love subjects that would seem expensive to collect, there are still ways to build a meaningful collection.

3. Doesn’t it take huge investment of money to build a meaningful collection?
The answer to this question is — not always. While expenditures will need to be made to acquire books, they can usually be made gradually. When I began to assemble my first print catalogue on the subject of Dante Alighieri, a subject I knew well, I was unsure how to approach the collection. After all, most of the early, high spot editions of The Divine Comedy are priced in the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. That was a price that, as a new bookseller, I simply could not afford. I decided to take a different approach. I decided to create a Dante collection where no item would cost more than $1,000 (a relative bargain compared to the price of incunabula) and where new collectors, young collectors, and collectors with a limited budget could see that a meaningful collection can be built on a small budget. Rather than focus on the very early, very expensive high spot editions of Dante from the past 700 years, I limited my Dante collection to illustrated and unusual editions of Dante from the last 300 years. My Catalogue #1: Dante Alighieri did better than I expected, selling a little over half the items in just two months. That tells me that there is a market of collectors who are interested in creating meaningful collections on a limited budget.

In order to make the collection a meaningful one, and not just an accumulation of books, first you have to decide what is the scope of your collection. Selecting scope helped me determine which books by Dante should be included in my catalogue. It also helped me to forge a new market – adding new and previously overlooked titles to the list of books that every Dante collector should have.

Catalogue #1 – Dante Alighieri

4. How do I determine the scope of my collection? How is a meaningful book collection different than just a gathering of books on the same subject?
The key to building a meaningful collection, whether or not it is a collection of means, is to determine at the beginning what will be the scope of the collection. Here are a few questions collectors should ask themselves when beginning to collect in a new area: What is the subject to be collected? Will it include books only or will it also include ephemera? What is your budget, what do books in your subject area generally cost, and how much time do you have to assemble your collection? Will collecting this subject require a great deal of research on your part, and, if so, do you have time to do that research? Once you have the answers to these questions, you will have a more focused idea of where to start.

To be continued tomorrow . . .

Remember to check out the cross-post at The Private Library to see what advice longtime collectors have for newbies.


Filed under A Bookseller's Education, Internet Resources for Booksellers and Book Collectors