Book collecting is the collecting of books, including seeking, locating, acquiring, organizing, cataloging, displaying, storing, and maintaining whatever books are of interest to a given individual collector. The love of books is bibliophilia, and someone who loves to read, admire, and collect books is a bibliophile.
Nowadays you can easily read online free ebooks with an iPad, iPhone, computer, ebook reader, loan from the library or from a friend. So why still bother and buy books at all? There are many reasons why people buy and collect things in general, and books in particular. Here”s an expert’s opinion that I appreciate:
WHY COLLECT BOOKS NOW?
Why collect books now, when I just got an iPad?
We are clearly emerging from what will be seen as a Golden Age of Publishing and book production, both in the UK and the United States, which has been booming for the last sixty years but now seems to be changing, like the music industry. With the advent of the Kindle, the iPad etc., it is inevitable that much of traditional book publishing is starting to shift to downloadable formats, away from paper and printer\’s ink. If this is true, I think that now is the time, for those of us who care about books, to start to make a collection of the ones we love, precisely because it looks like there is going to be less of them, in the future.
Real books vs. e-books? Hardback vs. paperback?
Real books are fascinating to handle and decorative to display in a way that a small, flat screen can never be. Most hardcover books, if printed on acid-free paper and kept away from damp, last astonishingly well, over many decades. (Paperbacks are much more of a problem for collectors, as the lesser paper quality usually means they yellow with time, and their glued bindings will eventually crack and split down the spine.) Each book becomes a time capsule for the year it was produced, summing up a design aesthetic, in addition to the actual words.
This is why I buy, collect, store and maintain books for a few years now:
- ebooks. The sole though of a cold, irritating modern projected light of a screen, interrupted by black pixels that represent letters makes my mind ache. I absolutely and utterly detest it. Working all day with a computer screen, 5 days a week is much more than enough. Consequently, all ebooks available in the world – are worthless to me.
- Loaning books from a library seems like the best idea. It’s economical, you have a great variety and you save storage space. The only thing is that it’s actually a bad idea that causes me great inconvenience. You get a book from the library, put it on your cabinet, it waits patiently for some attention but you have no time to reach it during the week. By the time you finally decide to pick it up and read, you have to give it back, or else… If I wasn’t working, that would’ve been great. In a previous blurb I described how being a teenager I craved to own the books I liked. And I do own every single one of them now. It’s like owning a part of the world, a time-capsule of ideas.
- Loaning to or from a friend. This is a whole issue. Let’s just put it this way – NEVER! Never will I loan from a friend or loan to a friend. The few times it happened, books just disappeared. Like ghosts. Books are precious to me and I don’t loan any precious things to nobody.