Books Every Book Collector Should Read (Part II)

A Guide to Identification by Edward Zempel and Linda Verkler

These books will be a fantastic addition to your collection. 

As every publisher seems to use different means to recognize their first editions, a reference book that comments and collects on these practices is critical.

ABAA member John Schulman of Caliban Books singles out Edward Zempel and Linda Verkler’s First Editions: A Guide to Identification, stating that “Professional booksellers keep this on one book on hand for reference. There are just simply too many publishers and too many various notations to keep straight otherwise.”

 The Identification of First Editions (Pocket Guide) by Bill McBride

The greatest virtue of this book is its little size. You truly can just carry it around in your pocket and take it out to confirm if the book you’ve come across is a modern first edition or not. Excellent for exploring used bookstores at a yard sale, on vacation, and other unexpected changes to get old books.

Do you want more than one identification guide to modern first editions? Probably not, but I’ve never met a book collector yet who believed one book was enough.

Nicholas Basbanes: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books (A Gentle Madness)

A priceless classic by a charming raconteur and an amazing work of history for those of us who adore old books, book-selling, and the quirky characters who make up the antiquarian book world, A Gentle Madness captures that last minute in time when collectors go after their passions at high stakes auctions, dusty bookshops, and street stalls, and the subterfuge creditable of a real bibliomaniac,” according to its publisher.

If you’re a current convert to true book collecting, you have to read Basbanes to know exactly what you’ve gotten yourself into. You might also want to read Basbanes’ Among the Gently Mad.


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