Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Collecting Library Editions

I have avidly collected library editions since 2001.  The genesis of my library edition collection came from my desire to own hardcover bindings of Nancy Drew #57 and up.  My first goal was to acquire Nancy Drew #57 through #78 in the hardcover edition with dust jacket.  While seeking those books, I began noticing all the library bindings that were up for sale.  I began acquiring hardcover library bindings of #79 and up when I could find them.  This quickly led to an interest in all library editions for all series, and I now own approximately 1,000 library editions, which is around 20% of my entire collection.

You might wonder how I have acquired so many of them.  I am good at spotting them in photos, and I have different search techniques that I use as well.  Most importantly, I am willing to purchase any lot, large or small, to get any interesting library binding that I spot in the lot.  I do sometimes purchase large lots of 50 books or more just to get that one special library binding.  That's the key to collecting library editions.

The downside is that I have ended up with large quantities of extra books that have to be sold.  Unfortunately, library bindings come up for sale in lots with regular edition books that are library discards and in awful shape.  Those books have to be sold in bulk at low prices, since there is no other way to get people to take them.  This means that over the years I have had to offer many large bulk lots of books that are in generally poor condition in order to get rid of the large number of extras. 

I thought you might find it interesting to see examples of the kinds of lots that a library edition collector has to purchase.  Sometimes I have been lucky and found large lots of library bindings all together where I can easily acquire a bunch of them.  More often, just a few are mixed in with other books.  I took some screen captures of some recent eBay lots.  The first two are not lots that I purchased, but they give an idea of the kinds of lots I have purchased over the years just to get just a few books.


These next ones are lots that I purchased.  The first photo is of a lot that I purchased to get the yellow Tolling Bell that is second from the left in the middle row.

I purchased this next lot to get the blue Brass Bound Trunk that is on the far right side of the photo.  I already had several of them, but this was a different color.

The next photo is of a lot that I almost did not purchase.  I located what I thought were seven library bindings of the Minstrel books plus a book that I thought was an omnibus edition containing three Aladdin books.  Most of the books were softcover.  I did not need any of the Minstrel library bindings, so I did not plan to bid.  On the last day of the auction, I looked again and realized that the book on the bottom row that is second from the right is not an omnibus edition.  It is instead a hardcover version of Nancy Drew #172.  I did not own any hardcover Nancy Drew book higher than #154.  This was a find, and I did win the auction.


I also purchased this next lot, which was an excellent lot since only three books were softcover.  The rest were hardcover library bindings.  I ended up keeping half of the books from the lot.  Of the half that I kept, I needed around half of those and the rest were upgrades.

As you can see from the lots that I recently purchased, I ended up with lots of extras that had to be sold.  That's how I have collected library editions.


A Candle to Read By said...

I love library bindings. I thought I was the only person on earth who does!

Jennifer White said...

There are a least a few of us. It's true, though, that most collectors won't touch them. And most of the collectors who do like them want them not to be library discards, which is not usually going to happen.