Collecting rare books is at once an art form, a hobby, and a passion. It’s a nuanced process and there are as many ways to go about starting one of your own as there are collectors!
A Book Collection Vs a Personal Library
While both book collections and personal libraries are beautiful things, they’re also utterly different.
Personal libraries include books that we have acquired in many different ways and there is rarely a clear theme present. It is, simply, what it is, a library with works covering a sometimes-vast range of topics.
A collection, on the other hand, can be defined as a focused attempt to gather a particular kind of book.
Narrow Your Focus
Many collectors select a topic that interests them to base their book collections on. This could be a particular sport, a significant event in history, or a certain country or place in the world.
Keep in mind that certain topics are simply too broad to allow for a thorough, full accumulation of text on it. World War II, for example, may be of special interest to you but collecting works detailing this horrific period of human history without a more refined criteria in place would leave you floundering. If you broke this down, however, to, say, Burma World War II, or Indonesia World War II, you’d have a far easier time of it.
And this way you won’t break the bank, either, and can use whatever spare money you may have available when you see a title that fits into the focus you’ve chosen to buy it. Maybe you’ve seen a windfall from a lucky wager at one of the Aussie sports betting sites you spend time at, have recently been awarded a bonus at work, or are compiling a registry for your next birthday?
Author Collections Are a Popular Choice
A great way to get started is to choose your favourite author, or a widely admired one, and start hunting up their works. Who do you most love to read? You’re likely keeping your eyes open for these books anyway, so starting to do so with your collection in mind won’t be so much of a leap.
Think about who speaks to you most strongly through their work and begin there!
Bear in mind, however, that collecting as a Completist, or aiming to gather every work from a single author is very ambitious, can be witheringly expensive, and, in certain cases, utterly unfeasible. Don’t get overwhelmed too early on in the game by making your task as daunting as this is. Choose a tighter focus within the category of the writer you’ve chosen and get started.
If you’re not sure where to begin you could look to the Modern Public Library’s Best 100 Books of the 20th Century, Pulitzer Prize Winners, or Booker Prize Winners.
The key is focus. Outline your budget, your goals, and create a rational plan of attack. You’ll be able to zero in on what’s important this way and build a really rich collection of work that holds meaning for you.