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Personal Libraries

Discussion in 'The Reading Room' started by zaika, Sep 21, 2007.

  1. zaika

    zaika One Too Many

    I have no idea where this sort of a thread will go, so I picked this one. I'm happy to see it moved to the right place.
    Okay...so here's the sitch. I want to revamp my personal library so that every book I own is in hardback. As of now, most of my books are paperback and falling apart and look awful on my shelf. Do you think it would be unreasonable to have this standard and rid myself of perfectly good classic novels just because they are in paperback?
    Some of the paperbacks that my mom handed down to me are disinigrating every year and I don't want the same thing to happen to the books I get. I figure that hardbacks will a) keep longer and b) look nicer on my shelf. Oh, and c) prevent me from going nuts at the bookstore and buying a ton of books that I will never read. lol Moderation would be a good rule of thumb for me to hold to when in these fantasy lands called bookstores. lol
    I'm curious to hear what your standards are for your own personal libraries.
  2. Ben

    Ben One of the Regulars

    One thought would be to buy them in hardback as you reread them. Then you don't have to cash out all at once and you can reread your favorite books.

    Also, becareful about editions and translations. You might have some books in there that would be completely different depending on the translation.

    If you want fancy, though, take a look at the Franklin Mint collections and things like that.
  3. imoldfashioned

    imoldfashioned My Mail is Forwarded Here

    I prefer hardback editions too (except when it's time to move!) so I think this is a great idea. I agree with Ben that replacing the books as you read them is an economical idea, although it never fails to surprise me how cheap used hardback books can be. I get mine from local second hand shops, ebay, alibris and abebooks.

    Also, be sure your bookshelves are sturdy enough to hold a whole shelf of hardbacks--I had a cheap shelf that broke under the weight once upon a time. I've had really good luck with the IKEA Billy bookcases (60 pounds per shelf).
  4. sweetfrancaise

    sweetfrancaise Practically Family

    well, to provide an alternate perspective, i like paperbacks--they're easier to read, lighter to carry in my purse, and cheaper too. i only buy hardcovers when i am a huge fan of an author and i plan on getting the book signed. i suggest buying hardbacks only if it's an absolute favorite and you will reread it for years. plus, having a variety of editions and ages on a bookshelf just makes them that much more interesting!
  5. Starius

    Starius Practically Family

    I've gone through a similar thing with my own collection of books.
    When I was living in a hotel outside of the mayo clinic last year, I had a paperback with me that I had bought at walmart. It served its purpose, but after I had read it (and was back home) I found a hardcover edition from barnes and noble online that was less money than what I paid for the paperback. I bought it and put that upon my shelf.

    I generally try to purchase hardcover editions for the fact that they just wear better over time, but paperbacks are far better reads when you're traveling. So I expect I will always have a equal number of either kind. However, for those books that I just love and know will read again in the future, I always try to track down hardcover editions if possible. So, for some books, I have both a paperback and hardcover.

    Also, on a related note, some books are just in paperback only and never had hardcover editions. In those cases, I sometimes tend to replace them with other softcover editions if I find one in better quality.
  6. I usually prefer paperbacks myself, unless I can snipe a bargain on a hardcover--even then, I usually try to keep a spare of anything I read a lot, so I get a paperback as a "travel/spare" copy.

    Besides, hardcovers die on me only a little less easily than paperbacks--remember, I'm the guy who wore out not one but three copies of Jurassic Park?
  7. Samsa

    Samsa Guest

    It would help to know how large your library is. For instance, I have several hundred volumes, and replacing all of the soft cover books I own would require me to first win the lottery. Or at least save up lots of money.

    Another thing to consider is that even hard cover books of today don't have great staying power. Ever since the move from rags as a source of paper to wood pulp (with relatively high acidic content) books aren't built to last all that long, hard cover or not.
  8. BJBAmerica

    BJBAmerica A-List Customer

    I have a number of books from the Easton Press, which is a fantastic company, issuing both modern and classic books in fine leather bindings and archival paper with gold guilt ends.

    They offer a number of signed, limited editions also....Here's a link to their site:

  9. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

  10. Samsa

    Samsa Guest

    HOW did I not know about this!?!?

    It looks like it costs money, though...
  11. Lady Day

    Lady Day I'll Lock Up Bartender

    I have a lot of books, most first editions, and over 200 childrens books, all hardback.

    Volumes like "grimms fairy tales" collections and large collections like that, where they will publish those every few years I have a 4 inch thick volume in paperback for $12. Books like Andrew Loomis, who is out of print I have first printings that are on the 'top shelf' section of my library :)

    Most 'readers', as I call em, are paperback and usually used. Also, I have 50+ refrence books from library sales/bargin book store bins just for the pictures. Those get all beat up and stuff.

  12. I generally do not "collect" books -- mostly because I am vicious to books when I read them (don't let me borrow a book!). But I do horde hard to find books of favorite authors when I can, regardless of how bad a condition they are in.

    If you do go through with such a grand scheme, perhaps you can list some of the softcovers you plan to shed. I myself might be interested in a few purchases and others might be as well.
  13. zaika

    zaika One Too Many

    That software has got me drooling...if only I had money and iSight. lol

    I have such a hard time getting rid of books. Most of what I have, I haven't read...but they're on my list. The list is just so long and all the borrowed books are at the front and people keep lending me books...it's a mess! hehe

    BJB - how dare you post that link! :D Now I have to restrain myself from buying everything on there! Such beautiful books!

    I agree with you Ben...it would be good to buy them as I read them. I was thinking of doing it that way, anyway. Maybe keep an eye out for a copy at thrift stores or whatever and slowly convert it over to hardback.

    Jack- that's a fabulous idea! I will do that. :)
  14. AlanC

    AlanC My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Don't forget about The Folio Society. They produce beautiful editions, although they're not cheap. Try ebay, etc. for second-hand copies.

    I always prefer hardcover, although there are times when I travel that I want a light weight paperback. I also often prefer an older second-hand hardcover to a modern version even from Folio or Easton. If you become serious about the actual value of books, real first editions will always outstrip a Folio Soc. or Easton volume. I buy most of my books at thrift stores these days. I used to be a regular haunter of dusty second-hand shops. Currently I have boxes and boxes of books in my basement that one day will be freed when I acquire sufficient shelf space.

    Make the decision to change over your library, but as suggested, don't do it overnight. Just start making the decision to pick up well priced hardcovers when you find them. They'll come quickly, not to worry!
  15. Dixon Cannon

    Dixon Cannon My Mail is Forwarded Here

    I have quite a few books, some of which I've had upwards of forty years. I brought many of them from back east in the mid-1970's. What I've discovered after three decades in Arizona is that the dry heat and the moisture robbing air-conditioning wreaks havoc on book bindings, both hardbound and paperback. The dry air leaches all the moisture from the glues and eventually they crack and split. Any number of my books now have single, individual pages that merely lie between two covers!

    I't sad, but perhaps someday I'll invest in having them all re-bound! Until then, it sure makes it easy to copy pages I need on the scanner!

    Has anyone tried binding their own books? I attempted it a few years ago with the endless collection of magazine page cut-outs I had. Not to shabby actually and much nicer than a box full of odd pages.

    -Dixon Cannon
  16. imoldfashioned

    imoldfashioned My Mail is Forwarded Here


    Nice products!

    This thread reminds me that I really want a nice, preferably vintage, copy of The Prisoner of Zenda. There was an early edition that had illustrations by Charles Dana Gibson that I've always lusted after particularly. Other books I should look into include Men of Iron with the Howard Pyle illustrations and Joan of Arc with the fabulous illustrations by Maurice Boutet de Monvel. I practically slept with the latter book under my pillow as a child, I loved it so much.

    Any tomes you folks especially want?
  17. zaika

    zaika One Too Many

    that's a dangerous question IOF. lol seeing as i adore children's books, i'd love to own some older copies of "Peter Pan", "The Wizard of Oz" and The Grimms Fairtyales. any children's book published pre-WWII, actually, is desirable.
  18. imoldfashioned

    imoldfashioned My Mail is Forwarded Here

    I love children's books too. Have you ever been to Books of Wonder in NYC? So amazing--original art and lots and lots of Oz.

    Of course, ideally, I'd love the original Oz books but barring my lottery win I've always meant to buy a full set of the BOW Oz reprints. They reproduce the John R. O'Neill color plates so beautifully. As a child I wanted to be Ozma when I grew up--I completely idolized her with her Art Nouveau poppy headpiece (sigh!).

  19. zaika

    zaika One Too Many

    awwww...yes! i love Ozma and her poppies, too! so sweet. would love to recreate that on my own head. lol i have to say that i really love how they portrayed her in the movie 'return to oz.' i love the entire movie...but she was especially angelic!!
    i do have a reprint of the first book from BOW! but i've never been to the store!! i haven't been to NYC since 1987! lol boy...i'm REALLY going to have to make a point to visit NYC soon.
  20. Joie DeVive

    Joie DeVive One Too Many

    Oh, I would love to have any of the Oz books too. In third grade I was Ozma for Halloween. We took one of my Mom's old belts and turned it into the headdress adding red flowers on the side. Dad made the OZ symbol out of colored tape for the front. :D

    Forgive my ignorance, but what is BOW?

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