The shelves of any collector should contain key reference books to help them in their quest. A good bibliography (a systematic list of books and other works) will guide the collector through their chosen subject pointing out new reading paths and helping to broaden their knowledge.
In his essential book Among the Gently Mad, Nicholas Basbanes (the renowned collector) says that the most successful collectors “become conversant with the literature...learn the rudiments of bibliography.”
As a book collector, your main resource should be books themselves and for this purpose we offer the following list of bibliographies as a primer.
Examples of Recommended Bibliographies
Book Catalogues: Their Varieties and Uses
by William P. Barlow Jr.
An introduction to bibliographies that explains their use in collecting - an excellent starter resource.
Wine into Words: A History and Bibliography of Wine Books in the English Language
by James M. Gabler
A quality reference book about wine books printed in English. Originally published in 1985, it was reissued in a greatly enlarged version in 2004.
The Lesbian in Literature
by Barbara Grier
A quality resource for referencing GBLT collections.
Guide to Baseball Literature
by Anton Grobani
Grobani's standard work on baseball books is still considered an essential reference on the subject more than 25 years after its original publication. Approximately 2,000 books are covered.
by Allen J. Hubin
Hubin’s bibliography lists crime books from 1749 onwards. The second, third and fourth editions were issued in 1990, 1995, and 2000 respectively. The books are a must-have for any serious collector of mysteries.
Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of Literature
A one volume reference for authors, works, genres, and terms of world literature - a great starting point for modern first collectors.
Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels
by David Pringle
Published in 1985, this book outlines the finest science fiction works from 1949 until 1984.
The Radical Novel in the United States 1900-1954
by Walter B. Rideout
A good reference body for works of socialist fiction and proletarian novels.
The Book of 101 Books: Seminal Photographic Books of the Twentieth Century
by Andrew Roth
Two to four pages are given to each of Roth’s chosen tomes including color and black and white photographs, a must for photography collectors.
A Bibliography of the Negro in Africa and America
by Monroe N. Work
This reference volume for African-American literature was compiled in 1928. It references over 10,000 items and identifies authors of African descent.
Horror: The 100 Best Books
by Stephen Jones
First published in 1988, this book covers the range of horror fiction from the 16th to the 20th century.
100 Banned Books: Censorship Histories of World Literature
by Nicholas J. Karolides
A decent overview of books which have been banned from various schools and libraries on the grounds of political, social, religious, sexual or other grounds.
The Modern Movement: A Discussion of 100 Books from England, France, and America 1880-1950
by Cyril Connolly
An amazingly rich list of modern works as chosen by the English critic Cyril Connolly.
Collector's Guide to Cookbooks
by Frank Daniels
Over 600 color photos and 2,000 listings of cookbooks are presented, along with title, publisher, date, availability, and current value. The book is organized chronologically and a handy index is provided.
Art Books: A Basic Bibliography of Monographs on Artists
by Wolfgang M. Freitag
A basic bibliography on fine arts, Freitag substitutes an abbreviated section on international and national reference works and offers a greatly enlarged bibliography on over 1,800 major artists