Collecting a Series

Regardless of what book series you choose to go for, the collecting experience is invariably fun, and the end result unquestionably appealing on the bookshelf.

What Classifies a Book as Rare?

by Shakespeare, William

Is This Book Rare?

We at Biblio receive lots of emails about the value and rarity of books. Often, a loved one recently passed and family members happen to find a very old or antique book and are curious about its worth. There are many variables that must be considered when assigning value, and how rare a book is certainly one of them.

A book is considered to be “out of print” when a publisher no longer prints copies of the book in question, but a book simply being out-of-print does not equal rarity. If out of print books can be easily found in the back of bookstores or in boxes hidden in the warehouses of publishers, they may be out of print, but they are not rare, and often not very valuable. It is important to understand that even if a book is scarce, if there is no demand for it, it is not considered rare.

Older books that may not have ISBN information attached to them are usually going to be considered more rare than others simply because they are not as easily tracked, so their availability on the market is more ambiguous. (more…)

What Are Book Plates?

Book plates are full page illustrations, pictures, or photographs that are printed separately from the text of the book, but they are bound in during production. Platings add color, texture, and value to books, and they are often gorgeous and riveting. For certain titles, plates are only included in first editions or deluxe editions, and they can often spread over entire sheets of paper. Book plates will also often be in the front of the book, and serve as a way of indicating ownership.

Some of the most beautiful book plates are in books about nature and wildlife.

But if you are looking for some of the most unique, riveting, and disturbing plates in books, be sure to check out some books on medicine and anatomy.

Who knows, someone who is perhaps perusing your book collection will one day be grateful you have a book with such informative plates!

What is Ephemera?

Biblio may specialize in used, rare, and out of print books, but you can also find maps, letters, official documents, cartoons, and art in our Ephemera page under Antiquarian and Rare Books. Biblio sellers are offering some truly rare and unique pieces for sale, and the delicacy of many of the items only adds to their value.

So if you are looking for a special gift or for something to truly set your book collection apart from the rest, be sure to browse some of the most amazing items offered on Biblio.


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. (more…)

What are "Deluxe Edition" Books?

There is a world of breathtaking books out there, and many of the most beautiful are deluxe editions of popular titles.

If you are looking for a special copy of your favorite book, you should consider purchasing a deluxe edition. Deluxe editions often come with illustrations, manuscripts, ornate bindings, or additional information from the author or publisher that are not available in other editions.  Many deluxe editions are also limited editions, which can make them extremely rare and valuable.

Deluxe editions make fantastic gifts and lovely display books for your bookshelf or coffee table.  But best of all, if you love to share books with friends and family members, you can pass around reading copies of old favorites and keep your special deluxe edition just for yourself.

Deluxe editions are sure to increase the value of your rare and out-of-print book collection, and you can find many of these titles on!

What is a Holographic Document?

Being one of those kids that grew up watching Star Trek, I naturally assumed a holographic document was a floating, translucent letter from the Tau Ceta Star System.

Maybe that is what it will come to mean one day, but for now, a holographic document refers to a document written entirely in the handwriting of the person whose signature it bears.  These documents can sometimes be held as legal precedence for a change to a will, or other matters, if it can be proven to be written by the person whose name it bears.

Check out the gallery below for some interesting examples of Holographic Documents on

What are Incunabula?

Herbarius zu teütsch unnd von allderhandt kreuteren, offered by Martayan Lan
Quadragesimale di filio prodigo, offered by D & E Lake Ltd. (ABAC, ILAB)

Incunabula (incunabulum, plural incunable or incunabula) are books, pamphlets, or broadsides that were printed in Europe before the year 1501.

The word itself is derived from the Latin word incunabula, which means cradle, or swaddling clothes, referring to the very beginning of the art of publishing. This term first appeared in a Latin pamphlet by Bernhard von Mallinckrodt in 1639.  His phrase “prima typographicae incunabula” means “the first infancy of printing” in reference to any printing done before the year 1500, an arbitrary date chosen by Mallinckrodt.  By the late 1600’s, this term was used to describe the physical books from that time period.  A less commonly used term for “incunable” is “fifteener,” referring to the fifteenth century.

You can find incunable and other special collectibles in the Rare Book Room.

Click any of the Incunable images to view their full descriptions on!

Literary Definition: Roman à clef

Let’s say that you decide to write that novel you’ve always played around with… It is time to tell the world about that torrid, dangerous romantic summer that you had in Costa Rica years ago, but you don’t want to incriminate yourself or endanger the job of that really cute bartender.  Or perhaps you feel that your political protests in college could make a great setting for a story, but would be even better if it ended with you being … Continued