A field guide for the modern book collector From the author ofA Gentle Madness-a book with more than seventy thousand copies in print that delighted bibliophiles everywhere-comes a twenty-first-century guide to book collecting that deals with both the traditional methods of acquisition and the electronic tools now available on the Internet. Sharing the superb insight he has gathered from booksellers over the years, Nicholas Basbanes offers a refresher course on the fundamentals that endure, while questioning certain practices of doubtful validity. Topics include how to determine if a book is a first edition, how to spot book club editions, the importance of dust jackets, scouting the flea markets, how to work the book fairs, and the importance of handling the goods, as well as discussing less tangible issues like spotting trends and having a focus. Then he takes a long look at the pros and cons of Internet buying, illuminating how you can use these electronic tools to your advantage and making this the book no modern collector will want to be without.… (more)
As I look back, I am acutely conscious that every primary and priceless work of literature I have handled and studied in a library had originally been part of a private collection. Whether it was the packrat instinct or a find humanistic passion that led the first collector to bring this book together with the others so that ultimately many works of scholarship were based on them is of no importance — the value to humanity is the same. And, I trust, so is the pleasure to the collector.
— Fredson Bowers, First Printings of American Authors
For Connie, Barbara, and Nicole,
the women in my life
The first documented use of the word bibliomania in English came in 1750 when Philip Dormer Stanhope, the fourth Earl of Chesterfield and a wily politician with a gift for turning a memorable phrase, sent a haughty letter to his illegitimate son, then away at school, to warn of a consuming diversion that should be avoided like the bubonic plague.