Category Archives: Book Collecting

Preserving and safeguarding a collection of signed books

Preserving and safeguarding a collection of signed books requires careful attention to various factors, including environmental conditions, handling techniques, and storage methods. Whether you’re an avid reader, a bibliophile, or a collector of rare and signed editions, ensuring the longevity and condition of your cherished books is essential. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to preserve and keep your collection of signed books safe.

Environmental Considerations:

  • Temperature and Humidity Control:

Maintain a stable environment for your books by storing them in a cool, dry place. Extreme temperatures and high humidity can lead to mold growth, warping, and deterioration of paper. Aim for a temperature range between 60-70°F (15-21°C) and a humidity level between 30-50%.

  • Avoid Sunlight Exposure:

Direct sunlight can cause fading and damage to book covers and pages. Keep your collection away from windows or use UV-filtering shades. If you want to display your books, consider rotating them periodically to ensure even exposure.

  • Ventilation:

Adequate ventilation is crucial to prevent the accumulation of dust and mold. Avoid placing books in closed cabinets for extended periods. Allow some air circulation, and consider using bookends to keep them upright and well-spaced.

Handling Techniques:

  • Clean Hands:

Before handling your signed books, wash and thoroughly dry your hands. Oils, dirt, and moisture from your hands can transfer to the pages, leading to stains and degradation over time.

  • Handle with Care:

When taking a book off the shelf, grasp it firmly but gently. Avoid pulling on the spine or covers, as this can lead to creasing or tearing. Use both hands when handling larger or heavier volumes.

  • Bookmarks and Page Turners:

Use bookmarks made of acid-free materials to avoid discoloration. When turning pages, be gentle to prevent tearing or stressing the binding. Avoid dog-earing pages, as this can lead to permanent damage.

Storage Methods:

  • Shelving:

Store your books upright on sturdy, well-supported shelves. Ensure that the shelves are not overcrowded, as this can lead to warping and distortion of the covers and pages. Consider using bookends to provide additional support.

  • Avoid Plastic Wrap:

While it may seem like a good idea to protect books with plastic wrap, this can trap moisture and lead to mold growth. Instead, opt for acid-free dust jackets or book covers to shield your books from dust and light.

  • Book Covers and Jackets:

Preserve the original dust jackets and covers, as they are an integral part of the book’s value. If you remove the jacket for reading, store it separately in a protective cover to prevent damage.

  • Storage Boxes:

For particularly valuable or delicate books, consider storing them in acid-free archival boxes. These boxes protect against dust, light, and fluctuations in temperature and humidity.

Conservation Measures:

  • Book Repair:

If you notice any damage, such as loose pages or a weakened spine, consider consulting a professional book conservator for repairs. Attempting to fix the issue yourself can often lead to further damage.

  • Avoid Inscriptions on the Title Page:

If you have the opportunity to get a book signed, ask the author to sign on the title page rather than directly on the cover or other pages. This preserves the aesthetic appeal and value of the book.

Security Measures:

  • Insurance:

If your collection is particularly valuable, consider insuring it against potential risks, such as fire, theft, or natural disasters. Document your collection with photographs and keep a detailed inventory.

  • Security Systems:

Install a reliable security system to protect your collection. This not only deters potential thieves but can also help in the recovery of stolen items.

Regular Inspection:

  • Check for Pests:

Regularly inspect your collection for signs of pests such as bookworms, silverfish, or rodents. If you notice any issues, take immediate action to prevent further damage.


  • Cataloguing:

Maintain a detailed catalogue of your collection, including information on the author, publication date, edition, and any relevant details. This can be invaluable for insurance purposes and future reference.

  • Digital Backup:

Consider creating a digital backup of your catalogue, including scanned images of signed pages and covers. This backup can serve as a reference in case of loss or damage to the physical collection.

Prevention is key

Preserving and keeping a collection of signed books safe requires a combination of environmental control, proper handling techniques, and strategic storage methods. By paying attention to these factors, you can ensure that your cherished books remain in excellent condition for years to come. Remember that prevention is key, and investing time and effort in the preservation of your collection will pay off in the long run, both in personal enjoyment and potential monetary value.

Photo credit: Image by G.C. from Pixabay

The Timeless Allure: Collecting Nancy Drew Books

Since her debut in 1930, Nancy Drew has captured the hearts and minds of readers young and old. The teenage sleuth, with her uncanny ability to solve mysteries, has become a literary icon and a beloved character in American literature. Over the decades, the enduring popularity of collecting Nancy Drew books has remained steadfast. In this exploration of this timeless fascination, we will delve into the reasons behind the enduring allure of these books, the various editions collectors seek, and the sense of nostalgia and adventure they evoke.

Nancy Drew 52: The Secret of the Forgotten City on rights reserved by cdrummbks

The Enduring Allure of Nancy Drew

  • Timeless Appeal

Nancy Drew’s timeless appeal is rooted in her character. She is an intelligent, independent, and resourceful young woman who is unafraid to tackle challenging mysteries. Her positive qualities and strong moral compass make her a role model for generations of readers. Collecting Nancy Drew books allows fans to reconnect with the qualities they admire in her character.

  • A Literary Time Capsule

Nancy Drew books provide a fascinating glimpse into different eras of American culture and society. As the series evolved over the decades, so did the settings, fashion, and social norms depicted within the pages. Collecting Nancy Drew books offers a unique opportunity to time-travel through literature, experiencing the changing world through the eyes of the inquisitive sleuth.

  • A Sense of Nostalgia

For many collectors, Nancy Drew books evoke a deep sense of nostalgia. These books were often the first mysteries they read as children, sparking a lifelong love of reading and adventure. Owning and collecting Nancy Drew books allows fans to revisit their youth and cherish the memories associated with these beloved stories.

The Varied Editions of Nancy Drew Books

Collectors of Nancy Drew books are known for their meticulous attention to detail, seeking out specific editions and formats to add to their collections. Here are some of the most sought-after editions:

  • The Original 56 Hardcover Books

The first 56 Nancy Drew books, often referred to as the “originals,” were published by Grosset & Dunlap from 1930 to 1979. These iconic blue hardcover books are highly coveted by collectors, with the earliest editions being the most valuable. The cover art and illustrations within these editions are cherished for their nostalgic charm.

  • Picture Cover Editions

In the 1950s and 1960s, the Nancy Drew series received a makeover with new cover artwork featuring vibrant and dynamic illustrations. These “picture cover” editions are sought after for their eye-catching designs and are considered a significant part of the Nancy Drew collecting experience.

  • Vintage Dust Jacket Editions

Dust jacket editions, featuring distinctive cover artwork and summaries of the story on the inside flaps, are particularly appealing to collectors. These editions often showcase the art of illustrators like Russell H. Tandy and Rudy Nappi. The presence of a well-preserved dust jacket significantly enhances the value of a Nancy Drew book.

  • Collectible Printings and Variations

Nancy Drew collectors are known for their attention to detail, seeking specific printings, variations, and rarities within the series. Special editions, printing errors, and promotional copies are highly sought after by collectors who appreciate the minutiae of the series.

The Thrill of the Hunt

Collecting Nancy Drew books is more than just acquiring objects; it’s a thrilling adventure in itself. The thrill of the hunt for rare editions, discovering hidden gems in secondhand bookstores, and connecting with fellow collectors online or at conventions add an exciting dimension to the hobby. Collectors often spend years scouring antique shops, estate sales, and online marketplaces to complete their collections.

The Community of Collectors

Collecting Nancy Drew books has fostered a vibrant and passionate community of enthusiasts. Online forums, social media groups, and conventions provide platforms for collectors to connect, share their finds, discuss their favorite books, and exchange tips on collecting. The sense of camaraderie among Nancy Drew collectors is a testament to the enduring appeal of the series and the lasting bonds it has created among fans.

Preserving Literary History

Nancy Drew books hold a special place in the history of American literature. They played a significant role in introducing generations of young readers to the joys of reading and the excitement of mysteries. Collectors of Nancy Drew books are not just preserving physical copies; they are safeguarding a cultural and literary legacy for future generations. Their dedication ensures that these books continue to inspire and captivate readers for years to come.

Collecting Nancy Drew books is a pursuit that combines nostalgia, adventure, and a deep appreciation for a beloved literary character. The enduring popularity of collecting Nancy Drew books can be attributed to their timeless appeal, the diverse editions available, the thrill of the hunt, and the sense of community among collectors. As long as Nancy Drew continues to inspire curiosity and a love of mystery, her books will remain cherished treasures in the hands of collectors who understand the enduring magic of her adventures.

Photo credit: Nancy Drew -The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene #flickr (Some rights reserved

The Magical Pursuit of Collecting Harry Potter Books Signed by J.K. Rowling

In the world of book collecting, few series have captivated the hearts and imaginations of readers quite like J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. With its enchanting narrative, richly developed characters, and immersive wizarding world, the Harry Potter series has become a cultural phenomenon that continues to resonate with fans of all ages. For avid collectors, the ultimate treasure is to own a Harry Potter book personally signed by the author herself, J.K. Rowling. In this journey through the world of collecting signed Harry Potter books, we will explore the allure, the challenges, and the profound connection that these signed copies represent.

The Allure of Signed Harry Potter Books

The allure of owning a Harry Potter book signed by J.K. Rowling lies in the convergence of literary passion and personal connection. These books are not mere objects; they are tokens of Rowling’s creative genius, a tangible link between the author and the reader. For fans who have grown up with Harry, Ron, Hermione, and the entire Hogwarts universe, possessing a signed copy is akin to owning a piece of magic itself.

  • Rarity and Scarcity

One of the primary factors that make collecting signed Harry Potter books so enticing is their rarity and scarcity. J.K. Rowling is famously selective when it comes to signing books, making her autograph a precious commodity for collectors. As the series gained popularity, the number of opportunities to obtain her signature became increasingly limited. Rowling ceased signing books on request due to the sheer volume of requests she received, making the hunt for signed copies even more challenging.

  • Increasing Value

The value of signed Harry Potter books has seen a remarkable appreciation over the years. As collectors scramble to add these treasures to their collections, prices have skyrocketed. First editions, especially those signed by Rowling, have become highly sought after, with some fetching exorbitant prices at auctions and rare book dealers. Collectors not only appreciate the emotional connection but also the potential investment value of their acquisitions.

  • Unique Personal Connection

When you own a Harry Potter book signed by J.K. Rowling, it’s as if you have a personal connection to the author herself. The signature represents a moment in time when Rowling acknowledged your love for her work. Owning a signed copy makes the magic of Harry Potter feel more real, as if you are part of an exclusive club of fans who have been touched by the author’s hand.

The Challenges of Collecting Signed Harry Potter Books

While the allure of owning signed Harry Potter books is undeniable, the pursuit is not without its challenges. Collectors must navigate numerous obstacles to acquire these rare gems.

  • Limited Availability

As mentioned earlier, J.K. Rowling has limited the opportunities for fans to obtain her signature. She no longer accepts requests for signed books by mail, which means collectors must rely on rare bookstores, auctions, or special events where she may make appearances. These events are infrequent and often highly competitive.

  • Authentication

The authenticity of a signed book is of paramount importance to collectors. With the increasing value of signed Harry Potter books, there has been a rise in counterfeit signatures and forged books. To ensure the authenticity of a signed copy, collectors often seek certification from reputable authentication services.

  • Cost

The cost of acquiring a signed Harry Potter book can be prohibitively high for many collectors. The scarcity and demand for these books drive up prices, making them inaccessible to all but the most dedicated and affluent collectors. For some, the pursuit of a signed copy may remain a dream due to the financial barriers.

The Profound Connection

Beyond the rarity, the investment potential, and the challenges, collecting signed Harry Potter books represents a profound connection between the reader and the author. It’s a testament to the enduring impact of Rowling’s storytelling and the way it has touched the lives of millions around the world.

  • A Shared Journey

Collectors of signed Harry Potter books share a unique journey with the author. Rowling’s signature on a book symbolizes the bond between the creator and the fans who have followed Harry’s adventures from the very beginning. It’s a reminder that the magic of the series lives on in the hearts of its readers.

  • A Personalized Experience

When J.K. Rowling signs a book, she often includes a personalized message or dedication. These messages can be incredibly meaningful to the recipient, adding a personal touch to an already special possession. Collectors treasure these messages as much as the signature itself.

  • A Legacy of Imagination

The Harry Potter series has left an indelible mark on the world of literature and popular culture. Owning a signed copy is a way for collectors to become stewards of this literary legacy, preserving it for future generations of readers and fans.

Collecting Harry Potter books signed by J.K. Rowling is a pursuit driven by passion, nostalgia, and the desire to hold a piece of literary history. These books, rare and coveted, represent a unique connection between the author and her readers, transcending the boundaries of the page. While the challenges and costs associated with collecting signed copies are formidable, the rewards are immeasurable. Each signed book is a tangible reminder of the magic and wonder of the wizarding world, and the enduring power of storytelling to captivate the hearts of millions. For collectors, the journey is as enchanting as the destination, as they chase the dream of holding a piece of J.K. Rowling’s magic in their hands.

Photo credit: Natasha G from Pixabay

Books Authored and Signed by American Presidents

By David Thoreau

In recent years there has been a growing audience for books authored and signed by American Presidents. This article explores some of the most common books authored and signed by modern American presidents.

One of the earliest American presidents to author a book was Thomas Jefferson and his only full-length book known as Notes on the State of Virginia. Originally written in 1782 and published anonymously in Paris, Notes on the State of Virginia contains Jefferson’s political philosophy interspersed with geographic descriptions of the State of Virginia. Signed copies bearing Thomas Jefferson’s autograph are known to exist but are exquisitely rare.

More recently, Calvin Coolidge gained notoriety as a syndicated newspaper columnist after his career in politics. His autobiography was published in 1928 and copies bearing the inscription “Cordially Calvin Coolidge” in blue ink occasionally appear on the autograph marketplace.

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Cookery books signed by Julia Child selling like hotcakes!

Whilst Julia Child (1912-2006) may have turned American cuisine on its head through what was, in the 1960s, the revolutionary idea of introducing the ideals of the French cooking school to middle America, she was until very recently, far less of a household name in the UK and Europe. Her award-winning cookbooks couple with numerous series of television shows in a career which spread over four decades, became the model to which all future “TV Chefs” the world over would aspire – in essence she invented the idea of taking sophisticated cuisine and making it accessible to a wide audience. In a country that Europeans often wrongly see as a burger-guzzling nation, Julia Child was a woman who instilled passion into the food culture of the United States and beyond, often through the sheer force of her personality.

Without doubt one of her most famous cookbooks and one that is considered something of a seminal publication is Mastering the Art of French Cooking. First published in 1961 by Knopf it was followed by a second volume in 1970. Praised for many of the things we now take for granted in a cookery book, such as clear illustrations and easy to follow instructions, the book is still in print to this day. Child’s second book, The French Chef Cookbook, was a collection of the recipes she had demonstrated on a television show of the same name. When the series went into colour television this was reflected in her fourth book, From Julia Child’s Kitchen, which was illustrated with her husband’s photographs. Julia Child’s last book , an autobiography My Life in France, was published in 2006 although sadly, she didn’t live to see it in print.

And so we come to 2009, and Mastering the Art of French Cooking is top of the bookseller charts again thanks to the movie Julie & Julia, directed by Nora Ephron and starring none other than Meryl Streep as Julia Child. Based on the eponymous book by the blogger Julie Powell (played by Amy Adams in the movie) who set herself the staggering task of cooking all 524 recipes from the book and kept a daily blog of her culinary adventures.

Needless to say vintage copies of any cookery books signed by Julia Child are suddenly highly collectible!

signed Julia Child, 5, 267, “”

Signed First Edition of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in Charity Auction!

Children With Aids Charity has listed a UK first edition of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows signed by the author, J.K. Rowling on The charity was organized in 1992 to help infants and children affected by HIV/AIDS maintain a good quality of life.

On the bidding page, there are images of the signed page in the book and the letter which authenticates Ms. Rowling’s signature. Bids will be accepted until July 3, 2009. Click here to make a bid.

Thanks to CWAC for letting us know.

Is book signing just plain weird?

If you’re a passionate collector of books signed by the author you may be interested in this piece in the Independent, UK which takes a sympathetic look at the “book signing chore” that modern publishing demands of popular authors.

Excessive success, however, can also be a burden. There’s a shocking story about Stephen King signing books in a Seattle shop. He signed for hours until his shoulder ached and a publicist had to apply an ice-pack. Then his fingers dried up; they cracked and began to bleed, and he asked for a bandage. Hearing this, a fan in the queue demanded to have some authentic Stephen King blood on his book. Others joined in and he signed in his own blood for hours.

Signing off: the weird world of book signings
By John Walsh
Independent, Thursday, 21 August 2008

Are you a booksigning junkie?

There’s a wonderfully funny confessional article by Emily Grosvenor in the Publishers Weekly today. If the following snippet sounds familiar…then check out the full article!

I am a compulsive author-reading attendee, an obsessive reader and fan. People like me are the reason publishers send authors on book tours. Writers are my celebrities. I track news of them like other people follow Angelina Jolie. I sign up for e-mail alerts to keep abreast of their book tours. And when the writers I read go on tour, I am there.

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Signed by author…long distance!

There’s a fascinating article in the New York Times on line edition this morning about a revolutionary device which may turn the collection of signed books on its head! It talks about a device called LongPen which Margaret Atwood, the Canadian novelist, devised in 2004 so that she could sign books with a touchpad in her home, which in turn conveyed her handwriting to an autopen in a distant bookstore. You can read the full story by following the link below…

A Book Signing With the Author a World Away
Published: December 17, 2007
With his recent conviction and sentencing, the media baron and author Conrad M. Black has turned to a device called the LongPen to help him hold book signings from afar.

Continue reading Signed by author…long distance!