The chief deterrent to book collecting by the general public is — wait for it — money! Who would have thought?
In the first place, private individuals who collect books must use what is referred to as disposable income. After the Great Recession, how many feel as if any portion of their income is disposable?
And while collecting a new or relatively new author can still be done in a fairly economical manner, what do you do if the author who speaks to you, whose books you desire to collect, is a blue-chip author like Ernest Hemingway or William Faullkner or John Steinbeck? Ouch!
There are alternatives. Part 1 of this blog will cover one of my favorites, amassing a title collection. If Steinbeck is your guy, why not put together a collection of every edition you can find for The Grapes of Wrath, his masterpiece?
Sure, the first edition will be costly, but subsequent editions are affordable, and they are many. There are interesting paperbacks, some leatherbound books, and others that are hardcovers with dust jackets. Like women, each has its beauty. Each has its charm.
For example, the Limited Editions Club (LEC) version sports illustrations by Thomas Hart Benton. The cheaper version of the LEC is the Heritage Press. There are two versions, one in coarse cloth with a slipcase and another that is bound in full leather. It is quite scarce.
The Garden City Publishing Company’s version is also bound in leather and comes with a slipcase.
The first British edition by Heinemann comes to mind, as does the World Books edition, also published in Great Britain. The latter is also a photo-play edition with small photos of the film version’s stars arranged in a horseshoe fashion.
Don’t forget the Sun Dial edition, or both versions presented by the Armed Services Editions series, the Living Library, Zephyr, Bantam, Pan, Modern Library, P. F. Collier, Harper’s Modern Classics, Viking Compass, the large print edition published by Watts, the Franklin Library edition, both the 50th and the 75th anniversary editions, the Viking Critical Library version, and the 20th Century Classics edition — among many others.
Each presents the book in a different manner in a different size and a different format, all of which allows you, the collector, to make an interesting presentation to anyone who expresses interest in your books. Collecting books in this way will set you apart from the crowd. You will be thought of as discerning and creative in collecting books in your own personal style.
Next blog will present another collecting alternative.