The Book Collectors' Dilemma
There's a kind of magic about a book. It is portable. It does not need a power supply. It is personal. The books you choose define your life.
That is why we keep them, long after the first reading. It is why, when we find a book that means something to us, we're eager to find more like it. There are other ways to learn but a book places the knowledge in your own hands.
That's why we collect: because books entertain, disturb, transform, teach and look good on a shelf. What starts out as curiosity can soon turn into a passion because there's nothing quite like the excitement of opening a book you didn't know existed or holding a rare volume that you never thought you'd own.
That's when you come face to face with the book collector's dilemma. Will you buy it? Can you afford it? Can you resist the temptation or will someone else snap it up while you're still making up your mind?
Help is at hand
The first question anyone asks when they're bitten by the book collecting bug is: "Where do I look?"
The internet has opened up the market in rare and collectable books for new enthusiasts, but there is still no substitute for turning the pages yourself and no better way to judge whether the book you are holding is one that really belongs on your shelf. So if you're new to collecting there's no better place to start than a PBFA fair or a bookshop run by a PBFA member.
Collect what you love
You know where to look, but what are you going to look for?
The only advice we can give you is to collect something you genuinely enjoy - and can afford. If you're after Harry Potter first editions or botanical plate books you are going to need thousands of pounds in the bank; on the other hand a specialised collection on virtually any subject of interest to you can be built up for a modest outlay.
Just take your pick
Here are some of the most popular specialisms.
Modern First Editions
Natural History Books
Science Fiction & Fantasy
Places to look
Secondhand Book Fairs
There are many PBFA book fairs every year in the UK, some large, some small, some highly specialised, but all packed with the thrill of discovery.
Secondhand Book Shops
The PBFA has over 120 members with bookshops in every part of the UK.