Book collecting for fun–a guest post

Book 11

I am very happy to present a guest post by the amazingly talented Julian Froment.
He may well be the only other person I know who is as devoted to the love of books and literature as I.

We eat them for breakfast…quite good with blackberry jam. Please give him a moment of your time and appreciate his wisdom. If we try hard we might convince him this needs to be a series.

Without further ado–Julian’s thoughts on book collecting:

I felt extremely honoured when Ionia asked me to write a post for ReadfulThings Blog regarding book collecting. I hope that this short post will serve to introduce her many followers to the general topic of book collecting and give a little insight into why certain people, like us, love to collect books.

It appears that many people seem to have the view that book collectors are boring, socially inept people that just surround themselves with books because they cannot interact well with people. Well, I am living proof that this is not the case. Oh, wait, hang on, re-reading that I think I may just have proved their fucking point. Oh well, so be it. Seriously though, there are many different types of people that collect books, and for many different reasons. I will try to introduce you to why some people collect books, focusing on myself, naturally, and mention a few of the different types of collection that I have come across.

Collecting books is not necessarily all about collecting old, rare books, that will appreciate in value over time. There are many reasons that one may collect books, and indeed many different strategies, or type of collection one can amass. That being said, many people are, especially these days, often only interested in acquiring books that will ultimately increase significantly in value. Personally I just enjoy collecting books, with little regard for their potential future value.

However, many of us do not have the financial ability to put together a collection of old and rare books. Fear not though. There are many alternatives.

You can collect first editions if you want, especially modern firsts. These can often be obtained quite reasonably priced, and are one type of book that has the potential for increasing greatly in value. You can also collect signed copies of books, books released by a particular publisher, a particular series of books – eg; James Bond books, a particular imprint eg; puffin books, a particular author such as Enid Blyton or Oscar Wilde, a particular genre, books about a particular subject or person such as Abraham Lincoln or Princess Diana. You can also collect advance copies, incunabula, books as art or anything else you please. You decide.

As most of you know, especially if you have been reading my ‘Collection Book of the Week’ series, which admittedly seems to an inappropriate title, I enjoy collecting Enid Blyton’s children’s adventure story first editions. These were some of the first books that I read and really connected with as a child, and they have always held a special place in my heart. As an adult, of sorts, I am now able to truly appreciate the quality and beauty of the first editions of these, in addition to the sentimental value that I can place upon them.
Often something as simple as this is enough to inspire someone to start a collection. So, have a go. Pick something that interests you and start a collection. It doesn’t have to cost the earth, but can be a whole lot of fun.

Thanks again to Ionia for letting me write this. If anyone is interested in knowing more about book collecting then please comment and let me know. If it is interesting to enough people I could look at writing a short series, either here or on my own blog, regarding what to look for in first editions, how to identify them, the importance of condition, where to potentially find them at reasonable prices, etc.


44 thoughts on “Book collecting for fun–a guest post

    • I think the general consensus is that there should be a short series of a posts. So I will look in to that. It will mostly about collecting first editions and about condition and book scouting, etc. Thanks for your comments. Start with books you love. Always a good place to start a collection.


  1. I collect signed books, mainly from fellow authors of my writers club Gold Coast Writers, as I read and review members work. On a broader front I collect books by Australian authors and when I get the chance at a book signing or writers festival I get signatures which make them my little treasures. These books cover all genres from children’s, young adults, memoirs, to SciFi, crime, thrillers and adventure.


  2. I collect various authors work. It doesn’t matter to me if I get the hardcopy or a paperback. I like putting them together to have all of the works by this author or that. I am not a serious “Book” collector though I can understand the passion. Very good guest post. I would read the series 🙂


  3. Do you think book collecting will turn digital? You can have an “authorgraph,” now, for example. Maybe you can have the original Kindle edition, with all the mistakes. Do you see technology playing a significant role in the future of book collecting?


  4. I love Enid Blyton’s children’s books, especially the Adventure series (Valley of, Ship of, etc.) I’m not collecting first editions, but any good hardbound copies I can find. We have over 800 children’s books that we collected (some wonderful, some Nancy Drew & Hardy Boys fun ones, some classics, some forgettable) back when books were cheap so that our kids could read in English while we lived overseas. Now they’re set up for the grandkids, although the kids still enjoy them occasionally–and I certainly do! I joke that our kids will fight over them some day when we’re gone: “You take them.” “No, you take them! I don’t want all those books in my house!”


  5. What an excellent guest blogger and an excellent post. There is so much to be learned from Julian about book collecting which is something that I’ve never intentionally done, but have been considered doing. I hope that he keeps posting tips on book collecting and sharing books from what appears to be his rather substantial collection. Thanks for another terrific post.


  6. I don’t collect rare first editions of books or anything like that.. But I would say I’m a book collector also, even if the book is widely available etc… Suppose my collection’s theme is simply the book series that I love reading. My first one would be “A Song of Ice and FIre” by Georgre R.R. Martin, and now I’m looking into re-acquiring the Harry Potter series.

    Posts on what to look for in first editions if planning to buy them etc.. Those would be great, I’d be very interested in reading them,


  7. A series on book collecting would be very interesting, and, Julian, you already know that I enjoy your book collecting posts. When I was a poor student, book collecting usually took the form of browsing through garage and estate sales. I was never very interested in the monetary value of a book, but I loved getting my hands on the classics, especially if the book was printed close to the original publication (i.e., not necessarily a first edition, but close). What I liked was the feel of history in my hands, that I had an edition that was likely read by someone 50, 60, maybe even a hundred years before. For a time, I focused solely on Modern Library editions. I love hard-cover books but Modern Library were the best since they were the size of a paperback. Now, who has proved the fucking point that “book collectors are boring, socially inept people that just surround themselves with books because they cannot interact well with people”?!


    • Great comment, Marie. I think there is nothing wrong with loving books more than many people. I certainly prefer the company of books to many, many people. Of course the company of someone that loves books is even more special. So you were collecting that feeling of history. I like that idea as the basis of a collection. Very interesting.


  8. I have one first edition of a very old Nancy Drew book handed down to me, but other than that I just enjoy getting books signed by the author when I buy them at the Bookfest here every year. Great idea for a series of posts!


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