Fan of Full Fathom Five? Be sure to check it out at its new home!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Your Old Books

The Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of ALA's Association of College and Research Libraries has a wonderful resource called, Your Old Books. Organized as a FAQ, the questions they answer include:

1. What makes a book rare?
2. What makes a book important?
3. Does scarcity imply rarity?
4. Are all old books rare?
5. Where are rare books found?
6. What is the difference between a rare book and a second-hand book?
7. What is meant by a book's condition and how does it affect its value?
8. What kinds of books are usually not rare?
9. What is the difference between a first and limited edition?
10. Is a book signed or marked up by a previous owner, or autographed by the author, more valuable?
11. Are old letters, scrapbooks, and documents valuable?
12. Might someone want my single volume to complete a set?
13. How can I keep my books in good condition?
14. Should I have my books rebound before selling them?
15. Do I need to insure my books?
16. How do I describe my books?
17. Do I need to have my books appraised?
18. Where can I find an appraiser?
19. How can I sell my books?
20. How can I be sure that I will get a fair price?
21. Can I sell or give my old books to a library?
22. Who else might accept my old books as a donation?
23. Where can I go for more information on old and rare books, book collecting and evaluating books?

Originally published as a pamphlet in 1989, and revised and updated in 2005, the topics are addressed so beautifully that the novice as well as the expert will find some useful information. Embedded in the text are links to authoritative, and some of my favorite, resources--and I even found a few that were new to me. Maritime researchers and historians, and anyone who has wondered about an old book (or books) on their own shelves, should definitely take the time to read through it.

The rest of the RBMS website is mostly of interest to specialists such as rare books librarians, but Your Old Books is so well done, that I hope they provide more information of general interest in the future.

No comments: