Three More Thoughts on How to Build an Awesome Personal Library from a Grumpy Old Bookseller
A few months ago, I wrote two articles focused on the wonderful hobby/lifelong pursuit that is book collecting. The first focused on how to get started collecting books and the second offered five thoughts on building an awesome personal library. I was encouraged by the response to both stories; it meant that people still care about books and collecting them in this mad digital world.
I thought that with those two stories I had said all I had to say on the subject, foolishly forgetting that with books (as with Jesus and Springsteen) there is always more to say. One of those things is something I said in both previous articles, but at the end rather than at the beginning where it belongs: collect what you love.
Having beautiful leather-bound volumes of timeless classics looks great in an Instagram photo, but if the books don’t mean anything to you (and especially if you’ll never read them), then they are nothing but expensive decorations. The books we own or at least should be, a reflection of who we are, not a museum exhibit meant to impress our friends while collecting dust. With that in mind, here are three more thoughts from a grumpy old bookseller on building an awesome personal library.
Collect Your Childhood. I wrote a story last year about re-reading the books from The Three Investigators series that I had loved so much as a child. Since these can no longer be found in libraries (where I first discovered them in the early 1970s), owning them is the only option if I want to read them. Copies in pristine condition routinely sell for $100.00 or more, partly because kids are hard on books; there are few left in pristine condition five decades later.
I don’t even attempt to collect these in first editions, however. I’m perfectly fine searching out ex-library copies, especially if they have the pocket for the card showing who had checked them out glued to the inside of the back cover. For me, that bit of nostalgia only adds to the experience by evoking even more fond memories.
The books of your childhood can bring back the same memories, whether it was the Nancy Drew Mysteries, the Baby-Sitter’s…