Series: Collected Books
Hardcover: 784 pages
Publisher: Putnam Adult; Subsequent edition (August 25, 1997)
Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 2.3 x 9.6 inches
Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds
Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #1,177,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #224 in Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Antiques & Collectibles > Books #2410 in Books > Reference > Encyclopedias & Subject Guides > Antiques & Collectibles #3123 in Books > Reference > Writing, Research & Publishing Guides > Publishing & Books
As Roget is to Thesaurus, so the Ahearns are to books. "Collected Books" is a massive listing of values for tens of thousands of books. Collectors will find the never-to-be-obtained rarities listed (entertaining to look up) but also the more attainable first editions in the $50-$500 range. This is a big book to lug along to a sale but, believe it or not, an enjoyable browse and a fine way for the aspiring collector to see which authors are more collectible.This book is NOT three things - reminders that the serious collector must, inevitably, accept the need for a number of references which will have some overlap.It is not a guide to identifying first editions - often a challenge for the large number of pubishers who do not clearly indicate 1st ed status. For this I'd highly recommend McBride's pocket guide. It also isn't really a guide to "modern" first editions, at least those that are in the $30-$100 value range. You may find Uris or Ludlum's first two books here but not their 3rd or 5th. It MAY make a difference to you whether such a title is really worth the $30 a dealer is charging. For these books I recommend Lee's "20th Century First Edition Fiction." It is not merely a listing of authors' first books, although it includes those... for that, and a wider range of midprice authors, their "Book Collecting 2000" is great. .....Once you know what the book is not, you can determine if it is for you. The five-star rating applies to those buyers with a serious interest in collecting (or thinking about collecting) the roughly 20,000 most valued books. It includes all the good stuff. Where necessary it lists details of first-edition "points", the subtle details of identification that, for some books, distinguish earlier from later states.
The Ahearns should first get credit for even attempting to compile this book in the Internet age of bookselling. Prices change quickly as books come on the market and dealers race to the bottom trying to get sales. Prices also skyrocket when something is actually scarce. To put a value on a book with the fluidity of the market is quite bold. Basically this is a very long list of rare, valuable and coveted books with "points" (I'll get to this below) and a price attached. I will not even touch on the price accuracy. I am a book dealer and have strong opinions about pricing and valuation. For the collectors trying to evaluate their collection just know that a book is worth exactly and only what someone is willing to pay. This amount can go up or down but a book's value is determined at the time of sale. So if prices are constantly in flux, and value is really determined by the particulars of a transaction, why should you buy this book? Mostly because very high end books are listed. For example, two of ten folios from James O. Lewis' Aboriginal Portfolio came up at a local auction house and there were none on the Internet at that time. The single source at my disposal that had information on this work was Collected Books. It was also useful in telling me that the American first edition of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in my possession preceded the British first - unusual for a work by a British author in 1885-6. This is tough information to come by for free on the Internet. You see, book dealers are tight with their knowledge and that is the other main reason to purchase this book. With pricing information easily available on the Internet, the only advantage we have are bibliographic details and memorization of vast numbers of books.
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