Thursday, February 26, 2009

Booking Through Thursday-- Collectibles

  • Hardcover? Or paperback?
  • Illustrations? Or just text?
  • First editions? Or you don’t care?
  • Signed by the author? Or not?
When I search for some of the books I want to read, they're rare enough that I can't be too picky about which edition they are; I take what I can get. For the most part, that doesn't bother me in the slightest. I'm a reader, not a collector. Since I no longer keep most of the fiction I read, I'd prefer that they were all paperbacks because paperbacks are cheaper to mail when you're a member of Paperback Swap. But once again, the bottom line is that I want to read the book, so I don't care if it's hardcover or paperback!

When reading fiction, unless it's KidLit, I'd rather see no illustrations because I prefer my own mental ones. KidLit is different; however, because illustrations can be a major part of the book. Illustrations can also be an integral part of non-fiction as well. If I'm reading a biography, I do like seeing photos of the person. Art books are nothing without examples of the art being discussed, and if I have a book in which travel plays a large part, maps are very nice! Yes or no to illustrations all depends on the type of information being imparted.

Since I've already stated that I'm a reader, not a collector, I could care less if my book is a first edition. I do have some firsts, but I normally don't think of them as any more special than the rest of the books in my library. The only exceptions to that are the first editions I have of novels written by Dora Aydelotte, a woman who lived in and wrote about the small farm town in which I grew up, and the signed, numbered edition of a book featuring the art of Richard Stone Reeves. Reeves is a pre-eminent artist who's painted many of the most famous race horses in the world, and I've seen some of those horses. In both instances, I have a very personal connection with the books.

Authors' signatures don't mean all that much to me either. They might if I made an effort to go to author signings, but the vast majority of signings clash with my work schedule, so I can't go.

I guess you could say that, unless I have a very special connection with a book, I'm a reader-- not a collector. The words on the page are much more important to me than print runs, bindings, or signatures. I do know people who collect certain types of books, and I do enjoy the way their faces become luminous when they tell me about their treasures, so I understand the allure.

What about you? Do you collect certain types of books, or are you primarily a reader like I am? Share your stories!


  1. I'm mostly a reader too. I prefer hardcover books for those that I want to keep forever and read over and over again, otherwise I don't care.

    I have some signed copies, but except for a couple books, most of them I have received from other people.

  2. I'm with you on illustrations. I have one authors books who has a lot of drawing in his books but it kinda went with the type of books he wrote.

  3. It looks as though our choices of what types of books we read are just as personal and individual as our choices of subject matter!


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