While our Book Collecting Guide is a useful resource for novice collectors who want to learn more, we would be hard pressed to include everything there is to know about rare books. The solution is to read more books.

Many great books have been dedicated to the topic of rare books and book collecting, and we have used a number of them to sources for the Rare Book School itself. We recommend the following books:

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Books About Book Collecting

ABC for Book Collectors by John Carter
ABC for Book Collectors
by John Carter

If there was a single book that any would-be collector should own, it is this. More than 450 terms are alphabetically described and cross-referencing is easy. Highly recommended.
Collected Books: The Guide to Identification and Values by Patricia and Allen Ahearn
Collected Books: The Guide to Identification and Values
by Patricia and Allen Ahearn

This hefty book explains how to identify first editions and covers a list of 20,000+ books. Used by collectors, probably all rare book dealers in the US and librarians.
Rare Finds: A Guide to Book Collecting by David & Natalie Bauman
Rare Finds: A Guide to Book Collecting
by David & Natalie Bauman

A beginner’s introduction to book collecting that includes numerous beautiful full colour photos. The Baumans are famous rare booksellers.
Modern Book Collecting by Robert A. Wilson
Modern Book Collecting
by Robert A. Wilson

A serviceable introduction to collecting of modern editions – the focus is on 20th century authors.
At Home with Books: How Booklovers Live with and Care for Their Libraries by Estelle Ellis
At Home with Books: How Booklovers Live with and Care for Their Libraries
by Estelle Ellis

Includes chapters on starting a collection, organising the library, caring for books and other useful information on categorising, editing, storage and space saving.
Living with Books by Alan Powers
Living With Books
by Alan Powers

When looking for new and interesting ways to display your collection, basic do-it-yourself designs for building your own shelves, and some basic book care tips, this is a very useful book. Additionally the beautiful photos make this a great coffee table book.
Among the Gently Mad: Strategies and Perspectives for the Book-Hunter in the 21st Century by Nicholas Basbanes
Among the Gently Mad: Strategies and Perspectives for the Book-Hunter in the 21st Century
by Nicholas Basbanes

Book collector and author Nicolas Basbanes provides a compendium of information on collecting books in the Internet age. Alongside the tips of the trade are anecdotes about famous bibliophiles.
Book Finds by Ian C. Ellis
Book Finds
by Ian C. Ellis

This book reveals the secrets of locating rare and valuable books including information on first editions, reader’s copies, auctions, catalougs and the strategies of book scouts.
First Editions: A Guide to Identification by Edward N. Zempel
First Editions: A Guide to Identification
by Edward N. Zempel

Many publishers do not readily display the edition of a book, and many that do use different systems. This book explains the intricacies of spotting first editions from as far back as 1928.
Instant Expert: Collecting Books by Matthew Budman
Instant Expert: Collecting Books
by Matthew Budman

A good beginner’s guide to buying and selling books, perhaps a bit general but a good place to start.
A Primer of Book-Collecting by John Tracy Winterich
A Primer of Book-Collecting
by John Tracy Winterich

Winterich covers topics like books as an investment, the mechanics of collecting and answers the age old question: what makes a book rare?
Pocket Guide to the Identification of First Editions by Bill McBride
Pocket Guide to the Identification of First Editions
by Bill McBride

A quality guide with the added bonus of portability, great for taking to book sales and book fairs.
The Care and Feeding of Books Old and New: A Simple Repair Manual for Book Lovers by Margot Rosenberg
The Care and Feeding of Books Old and New: A Simple Repair Manual for Book Lovers
by Margot Rosenberg

Simple tips and tricks for caring for books and basic repair techniques.
Miller’s Collecting Modern Books by Catherine Porter
Miller’s Collecting Modern Books
by Catherine Porter

This guide to pricing and quality focuses on basic categories such as English and American literature, children’s books, illustrated books and more.
Out of Print & Into Profit by Giles Mandelbrote
Out of Print & Into Profit
by Giles Mandelbrote

A history of the rare and secondhand book trade in Britain in the 20th century.
The Care of Fine Books by Jane Greenfield
The Care of Fine Books
by Jane Greenfield

Advice on book construction, storage, handling, cleaning, and repair, as well as essential expert advice on how to properly store and handle books of value in order to protect them.
First Printings of American Authors: Contributions Towards Descriptive Checklists by Matthew J. Bruccoli
First Printings of American Authors: Contributions Towards Descriptive Checklists
by Matthew J. Bruccoli

A five-volume set that includes a compiled list of initial appearances of works by American authors in American and English editions.
How to Identify Prints: A Complete Guide to Manual and Mechanical Process from Woodcut to Ink-Jet by Bamber Gascoigne
How to Identify Prints: A Complete Guide to Manual and Mechanical Process from Woodcut to Ink-Jet
by Bamber Gascoigne

This comprehensive reference work provides all the answers to all the technical questions that constantly arise when trying to identify accurately any kind of print.
The Book Collectors Fact Book by Margaret Haller
The Book Collectors Fact Book
by Margaret Haller

A practical introduction to rare and valuable books, including the ‘new antiques’ - books on photography, the movies, comics - as well as modern first editions
Bookmen’s Bedlam: An Olio of Literary Oddities by Walter Hart Blumenthal
Bookmen’s Bedlam: An Olio of Literary Oddities
by Walter Hart Blumenthal

Just as the sub-title proclaims, a book about books full of weird and wonderful bindings, strange tales, and books miniature to elephant folios.

 

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