Which Children's Books Should You Collect?
Book collectors hail from a variety of economic backgrounds. For some, twenty dollars is a great deal to spend, while for others, hundreds or even thousands is a reasonable price to add a first edition children’s picturebook to their collection. To each, his or her own.
Even with this disparity, there are areas of interest for every pocket book. With this in mind, we wanted to offer some thoughts on various dollar-value levels for collectible picturebooks.
The Book Collector's Mantra - Learn, Learn, Learn!
Ours is a growing hobby. As such, there are many unexplored nooks and crannies within the picturebook hobby. Find them. Learn, learn, learn, then find them. Astute early adopters often benefit in the long run. The key is to understand the factors impacting a book’s collectibility and subsequent value, and being insightful enough to benefit. The benefit is buying a collectible book in the present for less then it would cost in the future.
The Bookseller's Perspective
Booksellers cannot afford to have a long-term perspective when deciding to purchase this or that book. They buy books at wholesale or less, then sell them quickly to turn a profit. The business model strongly favors turnover of their book inventory. This works to the advantage of the astute book collector.
Most booksellers are generalists, or specialists in other areas of the vast book collecting spectrum. There are only a handful of children’s bookselling specialists, and in most cases specialize in older antiquarian materials. Because of this, the astute hobbyist can often find contemporary ‘bargains’ in used and collectible bookstores.
Collect books that you enjoy. Enjoy the books you collect.
The lists that follow tend toward traditionalist children’s picturebook collecting, and should be used as guides to develop your own collecting interests.
The intention is to help you spend less for books of your interest.
The following lists are for first edition hardcover picturebooks, with dust jacket.
Level 1: Up to $20
A common strategy is to collect books which stay in print for decades, perhaps never going out of print ('never' is a long time, so please consider it in context). The idea is the longer the book is in print, the more children enjoy and read it, thereby increasing the interest in the first edition copy. Eventually. If only those five year olds would hurry up and become forty.
Level 2: Up to $50
Level 3: Up to $100
Level 4: Up to $200
Level 5: Up to $500
© Stan Zielinski
© Stan Zielinski. Author of the Children's Picturebook Price Guide
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