Reading has always been an enjoyable activity providing a means to escape into fictional worlds with powerful heroes and evil villains, unlimited adventures and unforgettable stories. Reading also provides the means to expand your knowledge through non-fiction, biographies, and trade magazines.
But avid readers shouldn’t overlook the pleasures of rare book and magazine collecting. Book Collecting offers a number of related activities that can provide hours of fun, expose you to new authors and reading material, and meet and interact with fellow collectors of similar interests online and at collecting conventions.
Pre-Internet book collecting relied on hunting through the dusty shelves of used bookstores, hitting garage sales and flea markets, and occasionally having your local used bookstore do a formal book search. This proved quite limiting depending on your local bookstores and many of us were never exposed to huge areas of collecting.
Post-Internet book collecting is entirely different. Web-based book search engines such as Alibris and ABEbooks have linked thousands of used book sellers together so that just about any book you could want, if available from someone, somewhere and its only a few mouse clicks and a credit card charge away.
Also, through various fan websites, e-zines and online articles, we are now exposed to more authors, genres, and publishers than ever before. We are only limited now by our interests and time limits.
Book collecting can take many different formats. For the most part, you can dive right in, tracking down your long lost favorite books with the Book Search options.
For those who enjoy collecting rare, first edition items, the internet provides access to those resources as well.
Book collecting allows you to go back in time and recapture a bit of the past. One area of collecting deals with the long lost, and often forgotten, pulp fiction magazine era. During the first half of the 20th century, America’s newsstands were flooded with cheap, pulp-wood paper based fiction magazines specializing in genre fiction. These magazines reflected pop culture of the day, 1930’s in particular, and launched not only writing careers but new genres including Science Fiction, the Hardboiled Detective, Sword and Sorcery and many others. Visit the Vintage Library’s Pulp Fiction section for more information on the great genre which collectors and fans have kept alive for the better part of a century.
As the pulp fiction magazines started to lose in popularity during the 1940s, in part due to World War 2 paper rationing, the paperback started to take off. Many classic stories from the pulp era were reprinted many times and numerous writing careers were launched with this new format. When the war ended, and the pulp fiction magazine distribution system collapsed in 1952, the paperback explosion occurred and its been a mainstay ever since. Book collectors can focus on the paperbacks of the 1950s and 1960s with the great cover art and stories that reflected the times.
In parallel, the comic book industry started to get off the ground in the 1930s with its golden era during the 1940s. With such heroes as Superman, Batman and Robin, Spiderman, and many more, its had an indelible mark on pop culture. The comic book and graphic novel market continues to grow and influence all forms of entertainment today.
There are endless possibilities for a book collecting hobby.
Rare Books…What are you looking for?
That long lost rare, first edition book that you haven’t seen for twenty years? Here are three great places to find that book.
First, its Alibris. We highly recommend this rare and used book search engine. It’s fast, thousands of book dealers are involved, and we always seem to find what we are looking for. Our sister website, The Vintage Library, uses the Alibris service exclusively for posting its used book inventory.
Our second book search engine has 100 million books from around the corner and around the world at your fingertips, online at Abebooks.
Both services bring together booksellers and independent bookstores for easy access.
Our third choice puts you in direct contact with other book collectors providing you with some potentially great deals at great prices. It’s, of course… EBay!
Alibris and Abebooks are great for established booksellers with regular inventory, EBay is great for those who only sell occasionally or are liquidating collections.
Another great service that these three website provide is they act as a great pricing tool. If you have items that you are not sure of their worth, use these three websites to get a ballpark value. Pricing is not an exact science, so you’ll need to investigate thoroughly, but these three sites are a great place to start your rare book valuations.