Book Collecting; or Mirth and Marvels

book collecting

Books and LPs were gauges of all things when visiting; it was a Rorshach Cabinet of Fortune Telling cards.***It began with the Andrew Lang Coloured Tales Books which soon became 20 or so Dover titles. Or, it may have been Ballantine and/or Del Rey who had their fantasy and horror series which soon became 30 or so titles. Or, those Marvel comics. (Zap "For Adult … [Read more...]

How to Identify a First Edition Book

copyright Jo Bourne / Flickr

This page has lots of information on it! Here are some quick links to the most important topics.General guidelines for identifying a first edition Identifying 1st editions from specific publishers Identifying book club editions On printings & impressions - and other questions Recommended books for collectors of first editions.How do you know if a book is a … [Read more...]

The Best 21 Marketplaces to Buy Collectible & 1st Edition Books


So, what's the best way to find books online? There are thousands of large bookselling sites, and individual booksellers, and Google searches don't always work well for turning up the results you want.Book marketplaces make finding books easier. Member booksellers each load their listings to a searchable database on the marketplace website, making it possible for you to … [Read more...]

For Booksellers – 10 Places to Sell Your Books Online

Book Marketplaces - where to find 1st edition and collectible books

Want to sell books online? There are many sites where you can list your books for sale. Here are our top 12 (in alphabetical order), with some details about their size, fees, and other requirements.Please note: The bookseller terms and fees listed below are not complete, and may change. We accept no responsibility for the accuracy of these details; please check with each … [Read more...]

Recovering water-damaged books and paper – is it possible?

Water Damaged Books Photo credit: Shane Gorski

Having a flood or water damage in your home can be a disaster. Not only can it ruin your floors and walls, it can also cause damage to anything that happens to be in its path. Unfortunately, this can include your collection of books and papers.When a book has been damaged by water, many people might think that it is completely unsalvageable. However, although there might be … [Read more...]

Review – The Picker’s Bible

The Picker's Bible by Joe Willard

Ever wonder what a 'picker' really does, where he finds sources for all that wonderful stuff, and how he finds buyers?Ever marvel at all the beautiful things in an antique store, and wonder how the dealer came to have it all?This marvelous book provides the answers. Author Joe Willard's an experienced picker (and collector) and spills all his secrets on the business of … [Read more...]

First Edition Book Values – How Much is a Book Worth?

What's the Current Retail Value of Your Books? determining value via online sourcesHow do you determine the ballpark current value of the one that's on your desk right now?It's actually pretty simple to research book values online. Here's how.First, familiarize yourself with your book, taking careful note of copyright date, printing history (edition/printing), … [Read more...]

Book Collecting: Illustrated glossary of terms, edition, & condition

photo by Miss Libertine

Ever how to interpret the condition, edition, and other terms included in the description of a book for sale? Here we'll unravel the mystery.Book Condition TermsVery fine is a flawless copy, perfect in every way and probably never read. These are few and far between. Sometimes abbreviated "VF."Fine is a copy with no real defects, but is not as pristine as a very … [Read more...]

Are Books with Binding or Printing Errors Collectible?

Book / copyright pear83 /

Have you ever brought a new book home, only to discover that the cover was on backwards, or there were printing errors (for instance, pages repeated, omitted, out of sequence, or upside down)? If so, perhaps you've wondered how it affects the book's collectible value.Such errors are considered defects and will almost always have a negative impact on the book's … [Read more...]

Steve Sargent of Analecta Books on Limited Edition Books

James Mitchell-Flickr

I recently had a conversation with Steve Sargent, proprietor of Analecta Books, where he specializes in selling signed first edition and limited edition books. Analecta also sells "bespoke" remarqued books, where he commissions the artist to embellish the book with a drawing - something very unusual in the bookselling world.Tell us a little about Analecta Books. … [Read more...]

How to Date Undated Books

Book Collecting

A reader asks, "I have some really old books, but there is no copyright date or publishing date. What is the best way to determine the age of the book?"This is a great question! Modern books have all sorts of information on the copyright page - the edition/printing, copyright date, and probably the date of publication, making dating quite simple. But 19th century (and … [Read more...]

How to Determine a Book’s Initial Press Run

print run - LisaClarke / Flickr

Recently I've received a couple of emails from visitors to this site, who wanted to know how to determine how large a given published book's initial print run (also known as the first printing, first impression, or press run) was. While there's no central database, and it takes a bit of digging to get it, this information is sometimes obtainable.Please note that the … [Read more...]

Book Bindings:
An Illustrated Guide for Collectors


For this article, we're going to focus upon the various types of book bindings, and some things that effect their condition.Primary Types of Book Bindings Broadly, there are two kinds of bindings: hardcover, and softcover. The books you're most likely to find in your local bookstore tend to fall into three variations of these.Hard coverThe cover of a … [Read more...]

About Author Signatures, and Signed Books

There are many kinds of signatures which can be found on books. Below we'll discuss them, and how each affects the value of a book. You can click on any of the images for a larger view.Types of Author Signatures signed booksSigned means the book has been signed by its author (or perhaps by an illustrator, or editor). Signed books are much desired by collectors, and, … [Read more...]

Where to Sign a Book

James Mitchell-Flickr

Over the past month, I've received emails from two newly-published authors who have upcoming book signing events. They both wanted to know, "Where should I sign the book?"By far the most common place to sign a book is on the title page. Occasionally the half-title is signed, and some authors do sign on the front free endpaper (that's the blank page opposite the inside … [Read more...]

Review – Guide to the Identification of First Editions

Bill McBride's Pocket Guide to the Identification of First Editions details the methods over 4,600 different publishers use to identify their first editions. For many years McBride has worked tirelessly to get the latest information, and the latest edition, the 7th, was published in 2012, so it's very up to date.It's super easy to use, and small and light enough to fit in … [Read more...]

Review – Points of Issue: A Compendium of Points of Issue of Books by 19th-20th Century Authors

Bill McBride's other book, A Guide to the Identification of First Editions, shares the basic methods that individual publishers use for distinguishing first editions from later printings.Points of Issue: A Compendium of Points of Issue of Books by 19th-20th Century Authors is a great companion to that volume. It's also by Bill McBride, and will help you delve much deeper … [Read more...]

On Collecting Literary Ephemera

1957 handbill - Amram, Lamantia & Hart / courtesy T.Walden

The term ephemera refers to items, usually printed on paper, which are meant to have a very short life span. These may include tickets, bookmarks, advertisements, event posters, programs, menus, news clippings, business cards, handbills, pamphlets & brochures, greeting cards, invitations, labels, postcards, trading cards, photos, drawings, letters, stickers, and other paper … [Read more...]

First Edition Condition

Book Condition & GradingBook collectors generally want books that are in as close to their original condition as possible. Books that appear new & unread (or nearly so), are most desirable.Booksellers and collectors grade books (and dust jackets) using standardized terms:Very Fine is a flawless copy, perfect in every way and probably never read. These are few and … [Read more...]

Is My Dr. Seuss Book a First Edition?

sneetch belly - Katerha / Flickr

Many people collect Dr. Seuss books, which have been hugely popular over the years and the center of lots of happy childhood memories. They're avidly collected, but, unfortunately, have a reputation for being notoriously difficult to identify as first editions.Here are some books and online resources which will help you find out if your Dr. Seuss books are first editions, … [Read more...]

How to Care for Your Collectible Books: 18 Essential Tips

Jack Kerouac - On the Road

I recently received an email from someone who asked, "Is there a correct, careful way to handle a book so as not to damage it? That is--is it possible to be both a book collector and a reader of the books or should those two hobbies be completely separate?"The answer is that it's possible to read the same books one collects!Since the difference between a book in fine … [Read more...]