We have expended copious quantities of electronic ink on the proposition that you can build a perfectly adequate private library at very little cost if you know what to look for and where to find it. There will, however, come a point at which adequate may not be good enough--a point where you will want to move your private library to the "next level." Whatever you determine that next level to be, it's likely that you won't be able to reach it just by scouring yard sales, garage sales, friends-of-the-libraries sales, publishers' clearance sales and the like. In fact, cost may not even be a factor in getting to that next level. Because the books you want simply may not be available in the marketplace....
The extent of your predicament will likely depend on how diligent you have been in educating yourself about the marketplace for whatever books it is you are collecting. Are you, for example, familiar with the standard references for the genre or specialty that you are collecting? Do you follow the auction market for the genre or specialty in which you are interested? Do you have a strong relationship with one or more dealers who specialize in the books in which you are interested? Do you subscribe to the periodicals that cover the genre or specialty in which you're interested? If a book comes into the marketplace which has not been seen for a half-century, will you recognize the opportunity for what it is and be able to respond accordingly?
Those of you who have taken our advice and clicked on the numerous links that we have embedded in our previous posts will find they already have at hand a considerable number of resources that will allow them to answer that last question affirmatively. Where possible, we included in those posts resources that were specific to the genre or specialty being discussed.
What follows below are a few general resources that you may want to add to your collector's toolkit, regardless of the genre or specialty in which you're interested. This list does not pretend to be comprehensive. Some of the resources listed are free; others require a subscription. Some are print only; some are electronic only; some are accessible either way. If you use resources that we have not included below or in any of our previous posts, drop us a line and let us know what they are and why you find them useful:
- The Book Collector
- Fine Books & Collections
- Kirkus Reviews
- Le magazine du Bibliophile et de l'amateur de manuscrits & autographes
- The London Review of Books
- The New York Review of Books
- The New York Times Book Review
- The Times (of London) Literary Supplement