Depending on what you want to use your book collection for, you may be looking for different things. If you want to spend a lot of money and make a lot of money finding valuable books, you're going to want to find different books than the person who just loves to read. Here are some tips for beginner book collectors. 1. What Do I Want To Collect?
What to collect really depends on you. The most sought after is old first editions. A good rule of thumb is, the older the better. A valuable book doesn't always have to be a first edition, and some books may only have a handful of first editions in existence, but typically the older the book the better.
Another thing to consider when buying antique books is the condition the book is in. Very old books are rarely going to be in "like new" conditions, but things like water damage, ripped pages or a missing cover severely decrease the value of the book.
Some bibliophiles may want to specialize in genres, but this doesn't really affect the value of your collection, at least not the monetary value. One thing to consider is what you enjoy reading, after all these are books. Personally, I only collect fiction because it's what I enjoy. Other people may only collect religious books or school books. A genre collection is no more valuable than an eclectic collection and may add to the fun you'll have in searching for books.
2. Where do I Find Antique Books?
The most obvious answer is an Antique Book Store, but this is not usually where a beginner wants to start his search. Estate sales or garage sales are a good place to start, as a lot of people don't realize that old book they're selling for $3 may actually be worth $300. Used book stores are also a good place to browse because they don't specialize in antique books and so don't jack up the price. Ebay is also a great place to find antique books, and is actually where I started my collection. Although ebay users may be a little savvier to the value of their books, you can also find great deals.
Buyer beware-just because someone says it's a first edition, doesn't mean it is. Some publishers may have "First Edition, " "First Printing, " "First Published, " "Published, " or "First Impression" on the copyright page, but not all of them will. Another good indicator is if the date on the title page matches the one on the copyright page. Number lines are also a common way of telling if a book is a first edition. If a book has a number line, and the one is present (For example: 7 6 5 4 3 2 1), it is usually a first edition. If the number line looks like this: 7 6 5 4 3, then the book is probably a third edition.
3. How Should I Take Care of My Books?
If you plan on reading your books, always use a paper bookmark or simply memorize the page. Thick bookmarks or book clips may damage the spine of the book. Never fold the corners of the page. Don't pull the book off the shelf by the top of its spine, instead reach towards the back and bring it forward slightly, allowing you to pull it out by the sides. Never lay your books open flat, as this also causes spine damage (Noticing a trend here?). Also, always wash your hands prior to handling your books to avoid leaving fingerprints.
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