“Booked to Die” Revisited

Booked to Die, first edition
Booked to Die, first edition

When I first started working in a used bookstore, the shop keeper assigned me two books to read before starting. The first, ABC for Book Collectors, was a thorough encyclopedia of the terminology of the trade.  It supplied me with a solid foundation on which to build my knowledge of used and rare books. The second book I was given was John Dunning’s Booked to Die.  That little page-turner mystery gave material to construct spires on that original foundation.

For those who haven’t read Dunning’s Bookman series, you should get a copy of Booked to Die as soon as possible. John Dunning managed to draw on his real life experience running a bookshop in Denver to create a detailed portrayal of the strange and sometimes seedy world of used and rare books. Booked to Die introduces police detective and book-collector Cliff Janeway working a murder case revolving around rare books. (more…)

The Most Expensive Book Sold at Auction – The Bay Psalm Book

N09039_385_2Bay Psalm Book Auctioned for 14 Million Dollars

Setting a world record for the most expensive book ever sold at auction, the Bay Psalm Book was sold for $14,165,000 to David M. Rubenstein from Sotheby’s auction house.  Rubenstein works for an investment firm in Washington, DC, and according to the New York Times, Rubenstein plans to lend it to libraries across the country.

There are only 11 known copies of the Bay Psalm Book, which makes it an incredibly rare find.  Printed in 1640, it is the first book printed in English in North America, just two decades after the Mayflower carried the Pilgrims to the New World.

This particular Bay Psalm Book contains numerous printing and spelling errors, typical of the very early printing presses.  The New Yorker explains that the preface of the first edition includes the disclaimer that the printers

“…respected rather a plaine translation, then to smooth our verses with the sweetnes of any paraphrase, and soe have attended Conscience rather then Elegance…” (more…)

Awesome Cover Art

To state the obvious: physical books are better than digital books. The smell, texture, and weight of accomplishment of physical books simply cannot be mimicked by E-readers. But perhaps the most obvious way a digital book pales in comparison to the physical book is in the artistry of book covers.  Part of what makes first editions and out of print books so valuable is their unique cover art, and they would undoubtedly enhance your book collection.

The care and creativity of book covers just cannot be replicated by pixels on a screen, and we have included a few of our favorite book covers from the “Make an Offer” pages on Biblio.  One particular seller, 1st Editions and Antiquarian Books, has some fantastic titles available that will absolutely add value to your rare and antique book collection.



What are “Errata”?

Chances are you have encountered some “errata”, and perhaps even commented on it, but never knew quite what it was. Errata are mistakes in literature that made it through the editing process and were published. These mistakes can be spelling errors or logical inconsistencies, and for the more anal retentive of readers, they can provide a source of either deep amusement or deep irritation. These kinds of quirks can add value to your used and rare book collection, and while … Continued

How much is my book worth?

A very basic guide to valuing a book using the resources available on Biblio.com. How much is your book worth?

Book Collecting: Beer and Career

Book collecting isn’t just for the bookish, it’s a rewarding pastime for anyone who is passionate about life. Nigel Beale talks about collecting books on beer and work-related subjects, and shows us that it is indeed possible to mix work and pleasure on the bookshelf.

It's Not Just About The Content

From nudes and abstract oil, to Howard Hodgkin, Iris Murdoch, and the Private Presses…book collectors go for much more than just meaning.