Saturday, March 13, 2010
Used and Rare
I signed out a couple of books on book acquisition for my plane ride. The first one was a tremendously light read called Used and Rare. The authors are a married couple who love to read and set out to become book collectors. The book is a collection of tales of their travels and their immersion in the world of used book sales.
The book was really delightful. I've collected baseball books for some time but the world of baseball book collecting is very different from other genres. For one, the history of baseball publications only extends into the late nineteenth century. There's nothing that is hundreds of years old. Secondly, most baseball books have been published in the last half century. As such, there is not a lot of variability in how the books were produced. Very few on special paper or with interesting bindings or things like that. So despite being involved with book collecting, there's a lot I don't know.
This book is a great primer for anyone interested in book collecting. The authors start with no knowledge and gradually become pretty well versed in knowing what to look for. They start by hitting the used book stores that everyone who loves books has spent time in at some part of their lives. They gradually begin to become more upscale, hitting the rare and fine book dealers and attending auctions.
The stories are very informative, mostly entertaining, some touching. There's too much discussion about costs and value for my liking. It's always fun when you get a deal. It seemed like pretty much every story, though, mentioned the costs of books. I mean, look over this blog. How many entries have I mentioned the cost of a book? I would venture a half dozen or fewer. Cost does not determine the value of a book, content does.
Ultimately, that's what costs this book a two star rating. That and the brevity. It is a really quick read. But for anyone interested in book collecting, it's really useful and fun.