Emotions and economics collide
Looking at the list, most of the reasons involve a certain amount of immediate gratification. While that’s by no means a criticism, the last item on the list, “nostalgia”, is one of the most common reasons people not only buy books, but start the practice of amassing rare collectible books. And this emotional motivation is also the source of joy for book collectors – regardless of any latent financial gain.
Why did you buy your last book?
Among the most recurrent reasons people buy a book are:
- immediate entertainment
- future entertainment
- getting informed
- a feeling of obligation to read
- social pressure to read
- a need for a gift
Collect the books that you love
Bearing this in mind, it is most rewarding to collect books that you love. Being true to your love of a particular genre makes book collecting a lot more enjoyable.
Some of the most enduring categories include collectible [link to] children’s books, recipe books, ephemera, and classics.
With the emergence of online auction sites, rare books – such as first editions, signed copies, and other rare and antiquarian books – have become easier to source, but more problematic to authenticate and appraise.
At first glance when browsing collectible books online, double check:
- That the book is graded correctly according to current ABAA standards to ensure that you are getting what you paid for. A book’s value is based solely on its condition – most decisively in reference to the condition of its dust jacket.
- Unscrupulous dealers have found ways to swop out and falsify dust jackets. Make absolutely sure the jacket is the original and not a fake copy.
- Don’t take a sellers word that it’s a first edition trade publication without requesting proof of the copyright statement.
- Generally, a Book of the Month Club Edition or a Book Club Edition, even signed by the author, has little value as collectable.
- The contentious Certificate of Authenticity is no guarantee of authenticity.