Tuesday, June 5, 2018

How Would You Put A Home Library Together?

In the era of digital media it may seem strange to talk about building a physical personal library, but many people still buy and stockpile paper books.  A client of mine told me has 18,000 books, some of them valuable first editions.  But even if you weren’t looking to accumulate more than a few hundred books, which ones would you acquire?

Most people buy books, read them and stick them on a shelf, bookcase, or nightstand.  We may donate some of the books or even sell them to a used bookstore, making room to buy more books.  But some become collectors, putting together collections that become worth thousands of dollars.

Which books would you choose to collect if you had some extra cash?

·         Books of a certain genre like New York baseball books?
·         Books of a specific author, like Stephen King?
·         Books of a certain era – the 1920’s?
·         Books by Jewish authors, black writers, or lesbians?

How about books that are worth some big bucks?  

If you have a half-million dollars lying around you can get a first edition copy of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, or for $450,000, pay up for a first edition copy of The Federalist Papers or $350,000 for a 1616 Illuminated Folio of the Authorized King James Bible.

Surprisingly, you would only need to shell out $275,000 for a first edition copy of William Shakespeare’s Poems, published in 1640.  Or, for a mere $125,000, snag a first edition copy of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre.

I don’t know if Millennials will buy paper books often or if they will treasure and save them, but those of other generations have bought and savored print books since childhood. I don’t ever recall not being around shelves of books.  However I will confess that I’ve donated many more books than I’ve kept.  I like to give back.

I also like to have a relationship with my books. I underline them and highlight sections.  I even rip out pages and save the parts I value most.  I want the words to stay alive by using them, by living with them and by quoting them. I don’t need to just store away every book that I touch, as if books were objects like toys.  No, books are much more than such objects, and as such, they must circulate and get exposure.

But if you choose to collect books or acquire new ones, which books will you pursue?  Here’s a hint:  You can’t go wrong with books.  They each have value and they all deserve a good home.  And they deserve to be read, shared and circulated.

All writers vain, selfish and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives lies a mystery.  Writing a book is a long, exhausting struggle, like a long hour of some painful illness.  One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”
--George Orwell, ‘Why I Write’, England, Your England (1953)

“The reason why so few good books are written is that so few people that can write know anything.”
--Walter Bagehot, ‘Shakespeare’, Literary Studies (1879-95)

“A critic is a man who knows the way but can’t drive the car.”
--Kenneth Tynan, in The New York Times Magazine (9 Jan. 1966)

“Criticism is easy, art is difficult.”
--Philippe Destouches, Les Glorieux (1732)

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.”

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