Collecting Modern Library Books

In the period during which I was working to create a store and open it for business I was asked many times if I would specialize in anything. This is not a question that I spent much time deliberating over. Most of my favorite bookshops have been general interest stores; they tried to find good books of all types, and offer books that fit their customers’ needs.

Still, I now realize that, without consciously intending to, I am in the process of becoming a specialist. It seems obvious now, but as I worked to fill the store I wasn’t aware how powerfully my tastes and interests – my personality – would contour the store’s collection. This is obvious, for example, in how many good history, biography and philosophy books I quickly acquired, and how few good science books I’ve found. As I’ve mentioned before, I have many hundreds of good baseball books; and relatively few on golf or auto racing. But the real specialty that I’ve found, and that I am now embracing, is Modern Library books.

collecting modern library books
Collecting Modern Library

Over the past 20 years, I have bought quite a few Modern Library books. These appeal to me for two chief reasons: they are inexpensive and they are (most of them, at least) the perfect size for a book. There are other good reasons to collect Modern Library books, beginning with the quality of the paper, the overall durability of the bindings, and the design, including the Rockwell Kent endpapers. And the catalogue contains all worthwhile titles, many of which have been forgotten by modern readers and dropped from the current canon of classic literature. But if you are willing to go on a blind date with a book, if it was published by Modern Library, you’ll probably be glad you took a chance.

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Heaven is a Sublime Used Bookshop

I visited one of my favorite spots today. And in the future  will be interviewing the owners and writing up a profile of this wonderful bookshop, but for now, I wanted to share the delicious experience of meandering, chatting, discovering and luxuriating in the midst of books books books. Located on the main street  historical … Read more

Rare Book Collections by Category

The majority of rare book collectors do not purchase any random rare book considered valuable, but collect within one or more specific category. Most rare book collectors prefer to develop collections based on their interests and their knowledge of a particular subject rather than as a blind dispassionate investment in something of which they are … Read more