First Edition Excellence: How To Start Collecting Rare Books

woman reading a rare book
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Tips to get you started!

Many of us collect books. In fact, there are many of us with entire bookshelves and even rooms dedicated to our all-time favorites. However, picking up a contemporary romance novella on your way home from work is quite different than investing in an original Hemingway manuscript.

But if something like that sounds appealing to you, you’ll need to know how to start collecting rare books properly. Luckily, we have a few quick tips here to help you get started!

Follow Your Passion: Collect What Excites You

This first tip might seem obvious, but many people start their book collecting journey with the idea that they need to prioritize investment value over their finds’ sentimental worth. This is understandable, but it’s not always the best move. Filling your collection with monetarily significant finds might be suitable for long-term investment purposes.

But it’s unlikely that you’ll get much joy out of any of them. This is especially true if you don’t like any of the books you select. That’s why we suggest following your passion and collecting only the books that excite you! If you’re a Fitzgerald fan, wait on that first edition of The Great Gatsby.

If you absolutely need an antique copy of Moby Dick to go along with your other classic adventure tales, invest in that! The point is to go for the types of books that made you fall in love with reading in the first place. Rare books are hard to find, and they typically don’t come cheap. So unless you’re a historian or antiquarian, you should invest in books that you’ll be excited to have on your shelf.

Focus: Know What You Want and Stick to It

Once you understand which books excite you, the next step is to set some boundaries for the type of finds you’re looking for. We know—this seems like a commonsense thing, too. But once you start delving into the vast and versatile world of rare books, you might find it difficult to stay focused on what you initially set out to purchase.

For this reason, it’s wise to have a clear idea of what types of books you plan to pick up and what your price range for them will be. Doing it this way will ensure that you walk away with the books you need for your collection. Plus, it’ll help you save a lot of time and money that might be wasted window shopping that original manuscript you can’t afford.

Care for Your Finds: Keep Your Collection in Great Shape

Of course, there is no discussion of how to start collecting rare books without mentioning how crucial it is to take proper care of them. Rare and antique books are old. As a result, they will deteriorate faster when not taken care of.

Because of this, you must make it a point to learn about the proper methods for maintaining and restoring antique books. Just as well, it’s best if you know which book repair mistakes to avoid making in your personal library. This way, you can keep your collection in excellent shape, regardless of age or condition.

We Want to Hear From You

If you could have any rare first edition in the worldwide literature canon, what would it be and why?

Message us on Instagram @womendotcom or Facebook to tell us!