Defining Collections

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Defining Collections

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Gen 25, 2010, 2:53am

I'm curious, how do you define a collection as a collector? Do the books have to be rare/collectible/worth a significant amount of money to be considered a "collection," or could you create a collection from books you buy in Barnes & Noble, Borders, Powells, used bookstores, etc?

I'd say there are two, maybe three levels of collecting. Collections of books that aren't necessarily worth a ton alone but can be worth a lot together. To me an example of this would be the religion collection I'm trying to build, where most of the books are from B&N, Powells', etc. Next would be people who collect first editions, where the books themselves are worth a bit. This includes autographed and association copies. An example of this would be Nicholas Basbanes library. The third would be the people who collect stuff like the First Folio, etc.

Gen 25, 2010, 3:54am

I should think the major difference must be between collections of books (such as first editions) and collections of content (such as your books). Perhaps the latter should more properly be called a library?

Modificato: Gen 25, 2010, 3:02pm

My library consists of several collections. The rest are books I've read but don't necessarily collect. I am constantly adding books to my collections as I find them ( I don't read them right away) Having several collections makes it a lot easier to organise my library, so I can find books easily.

Gen 25, 2010, 3:21pm

Nobody can as certain define a collection of books to be considered a "collection" not until either

(a) you collect rare/collectible/worth books as sought after the industry standard collectors themselves (eg. first ed. of Hemingway, Fritzgerald, Twain etc.); or
(b) you collect books that are of your interest and sometime many years in the future when a lawyer is reading your testament it is considered at valuation that the books you've collect are worth alot making your ungrateful offsprings wealthy who sell it to buy an Aston Martin and live the life you dreamed of living.

Think about when J. "Jerry" D. Salinger gave an inscribed copy of his A Catcher in the Rye to Hemingway, did Hemingway think it would be worth a lot and one day Hemingway will cash in on it? I don't think so.

I think people in todays society are too worried about capitalizing on their books that they forget the very essence of reading and enjoying the wealth one acquires in the form of knowledge received.

1. Make your library personal and enjoy it.
2. Stop worrying about capitalizing on books
3. If you have know-how and money capitalize where it belongs to capitalize eg. on the equity market.
4. If you can afford it buy LE of books that you love and preferably signed editions.
5. Try to obtain signed editions of the books that your into.
6. Stop being naive enough to think that you'll be rich one day because of the rare/collectible books you have in your collection because YOU will NEVER sell it anyway (I mean how could you anyway, it took you gazzilion years to buy it in the first place)
7. Your collection will be worth a lot to your children who will either sell it to gain cash advantage or build it to their offsprings

Now go and have a Martini, stirred with one olive and read a book

Gen 25, 2010, 4:44pm

I've always been told that you're a collector if you have more than three of something and intend to keep them. As a group four items would be called a small collection. In that sense most of us collect any variety of items - for me books are only one of several large collections of items I own.

Gen 28, 2010, 3:28pm

Most collections start out as a favourite 'theme' in your larger library. Say you like books about ancient Greece so eventually you'll end up with a lot of them. Often you don't really notice that it's becoming a collection, until you all add them to LT, look at your tags, and discover that you own 156 items on Greece.

A collection for me is something that is built on purpose, not by accident. You may develop an urge to buy everything on the subject, even if you can't read it (it's in Greek) or it's outdated (1960's travel guides on Greece). You might even consider buying several copies of some things, or several different editions, just because they complement the collection.

A collection can also have structure: you find that the 156 Greece items can be subdivided into smaller themes (like Greek architecture, Ancient Greek religion, Women in ancient Greece, ...). Because 'Greece' as a subjest is really large, you might decide to refine your collecting habits.

My main collection is on French composer (and author) Hector Berlioz. I have about 120 books about him or by him, mostly biographies. These include outdated biographies, collections of letters that have been superseded by newer and better collections, criticism of his works, several editions of his Memoirs and other writings, ... I try to be exhaustive on the part of the biographies. I will also try to pick up any edition of his writings in the original French, but there are far too many to be complete.

Also part of the collection are biographies of contemporaries of Berlioz (I have a few Liszt biographies) and scientific anthologies on French music of that period; but they are more like tools: I bought them to read and use, not to collect.

All in all, it's a pretty intuitive thing, collecting. Sometimes it's hard to explain what you consider as part of the collection and what not; you just feel that it is (or isn't).

Gen 29, 2010, 12:03am

The beauty of "collecting" is it can be whatever you want it to be. I collect in probably too many areas. Some people merely collect bindings without regard to any literary merit of what is contained within. Some collect every edition of a book, from early drafts to presentation copies... you name it. Some people collect everything from a particular writer. Others collect genres, first editions, ad infinitum.

Mar 23, 2010, 5:41am

my "collection" has gone through several stages from age 10 through to 66 years of age. Now I have six authors whose works I collect anywhere and everywhere they appear. this gets interesting. any book collector follows one prime directive, i think: COLLECT WHO YOU LOVE TO READ. My authors are, in no certain order: John D. MacDonald, Harry Crews, Michael Shaara, Carl Hiaasen, Ernest Hemingway, and, of course, Andy RaY (WHO IS HE? Tis me, of course). Re collecting myself, it is marvelous to try and find some of the glossy magazine stories I have published that have been OP for decades.I love to read John Saul, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, and numberous others, also, but their work is hit and miss whereas the authors mentioned above have not EVER (to date) written anything I have not loved. I think I shall add Sylvia Plath to my collectables soon. I haven't added Edgar Rice Burroughs, Koontz, and King mainly because they have published a book or two I can not stand and frankly, they are way to prolific to try and "collect." I have one of those prolific ones already -- John D. MacDonald -- and with the pulp magazines now being added one by hard-to-find glorious one heis work is going over 100 volumes.

Mar 23, 2010, 6:13am

I could yak on and on about this, but one thing that pops out is that if a book was first published or was printed after 1969 I probably don't want it. This pertains to my children's books collection.