What To Collect

How Should I Begin My Book Collection?

One of my fondest memories of my grandparent’s old mountain house was the 25 foot floor-to-ceiling wall they dedicated to their vast book collection. They had everything from travel catalogs to anthropology textbooks to ancient and obscure mathematics books.  They had several rare and antique books, and they loved showing them off to their grandchildren.

It took them decades to amass their book collection, and they took it slow and steady, and every vacation included visiting an old bookstore. Here are some tips on starting your own book collection:

  • Start by collecting the works of particular authors
    • If you love Kurt Vonnegut, start by snatching up everything Vonnegut has written, including letters or posters he has signed.
  • Focus on certain topics or areas of interest
    • My grandmother loved to travel, and whenever she was preparing for her next adventure, she would grab any book she could find that related to her next destination.
  • Love one book in particular? Look for first or deluxe editions of that title
    • Not all first or deluxe editions have to cost thousands of dollars, and sometimes the most special copies are inexpensive (relatively) but with amazing cover art.
  • Fill your bookshelves with prize-winning literature
  • Just start hunting!
    • Collecting books is a long but rewarding process, and it’s always so wonderful to pass down favorite titles and special editions to family and friends. I will always treasure the copy of How To Eat Like a Child: And Other Lessons in Not Being a Grown-up that I borrowed from my grandparent’s bookshelves, and it will always have a special place in my home.


  • Great advice!

    I have now ordered a first edition signed copy of Now is the Hour by Tom Spanbauer, one of my favorite authors, and I can’t wait to add it to my collection.

    • Hey Marshall!

      That looks like a good book, I’ll have to check it out.

      I think my favorite way (or at least, the easiest way) to start or add to a book collection is to grab every title you can from your favorite author. I have more books by Vonnegut than I would like to admit!

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