Cool! This seems like great advice. I particularly like:
Collecting should be less about wanting to have and more about wanting to know.
Spend time looking.…you don’t have to buy anything at first. Go to bookstores or book fairs. Browse online. Read bookseller catalogs. See how other people describe the books you want. What do they focus on? What is important?
I obviously love books and own many but I have mixed feelings when I think of “book collecting”. It sometimes seems to look at books as objects, where things like rarity / condition / market value matter, rather than focusing on what the books contain and why they’re interesting. Though I know aspects of the physical book certainly can be interesting; of course there are many valid approaches to collecting! I won’t deny there’s often something special about physical books. I just don’t see myself ever caring much about appraisal, first editions, etc.
I think I’m more interested in curation — finding interesting books and associations between books — more so than actually owning the books. In that sense I consider any really good book / reading list (examples) in many ways at least as valuable a collection as the physical equivalent in someone’s personal library would be. To the extent such lists are publicly shared for others to learn from, I think they can even be more valuable.
Anyway I’m glad this thread emphasizes collecting based on personal passion / interests rather than on books-as-valuable-objects. And another key point:
The larger my collection grows, the more the books speak to each other. They teach me about themselves; they allow me to teach others.
Totally agree with that! “Don’t do it as an investment” also seems like solid advice
BTW, she mentions the mailing list “Exlibris” in the thread — this is a cool old school mailing list with lots of academic book historian folks as well as booksellers / collectors; I subscribed I think sometime last year and it’s quite interesting, worth a look: https://list.indiana.edu/sympa/info/exlibris-l