So you want to start a book collection - but not sure where to start? We have created this series of web pages as a basic guide to starting a collection and understanding the terminology of booksellers. Our guide to book collecting covers many of the basic elements of book collecting, from what to collect to caring for your book collection.
You can collect any kind of books but make sure that you collect books that you love. Books from your childhood, books about space, your favourite fiction series, books published by a specific small press, association copies, or books by your favourite author - any of these are ideal. We should also stress that just because some books can become very expensive you don’t have to spend a fortune to create a beautiful collection. Sometimes it’s even more fun to put a limit on your spending to encourage creative collecting.
Choose your subject, set your budget, and have fun. If you need a little help deciding what kinds of books to collect here are some suggestions:
Booksellers have their own language and jargon that they use to describe every possible detail on a book. At first it can be a little intimidating but once you learn the terminology it will help explain every detail of a book including its condition.
Once you know what books to collect and understand the terms and jargon used in the world of rare books you will be ready to begin building your library. Here are a few tips for determining the fair market value for various books as well as caring for your newest treasures.