Antique Books

In today’s world, you rarely see anyone with a book in their hands. You can see them reading, but not holding an actual book with a cover and pages inside. They are all using electronic devices, e- readers, tablets and mobile phones.

But, electronic books aren’t personal. There’s no inscription in the flyleaf, there’s no marks on the well- turned pages and there’s no smell. Real books have character and history and that’s why they are so collectable.

When you search through the shelves in your local antique book shop, or online, you’ll notice that the books are described as antique, rare or antique and rare.

An antique book is different from a second hand book because it might be a first edition, which means that it was the first printing of that book.  Collectors like first editions because they are seen as the author’s true work. Books printed after the first print may have been altered, a part added, or, a part taken away and so the content of the book is different to the first print.

Rare antique books are books that weren’t printed in a large number and are scarce. They could be printed on special paper, or have illustrations by a famous artist. In some cases, a book may be rare because not many complete copies are available.

If you are thinking of buying or selling antique books, you should visit you nearest antique book shop, you’ll be able to browse and get an idea of what books are available and the prices they command.

If you want to talk to other antique book collectors, find out where there is an antique book fair or book event.   The Antiquarian Book Fair in London and The York Book Fair in York are popular annual events. You’ll find collectors, buyers, sellers and experts all together under one roof.  There are also smaller monthly fairs held around the country.

Antique fairs are good opportunity to hunt down book covers too. These are particularly popular with collectors who are interested in book cover art and design.

Out of print books are particularly popular with collectors, especially limited edition books, which collectors know will definitely not be reprinted and therefore have a special value. 

The value of a book is not really based on its age, but rather on its merits. If it is signed by author or, it has illustrations by a famous artist. It could be a first edition, or, it has a message to someone well known in the flyleaf. It could be a privately printed book, or a book with unusual print or on a rare type of paper.

There are all sorts of reasons book collectors like antique books. But collecting books might just become a very profitable hobby; because in the future, there might not be so many paper books in print.