Anyone a book collector? I'm more of an accumulator, and much to the dismay of my wife I've accumulated thousands (and thousands) of books. (Let's not even speak of the two air-conditioned storage rooms that I have to rent.)

It all started when I was reading a novel by John D. MacDonald forty or so years ago and realized that it was a paperback original. "Maybe people are throwing these things away," I thought. "But I won't."

Within my accumulation are some small collections, I suppose, if you want to look at it that way. I probably have one of the best collections of Harry Whittington's paperback novels around, and if you include the 8 signed hardcovers, it's a collection that some people might envy. A very few, granted, but some. There's also a pretty good Jim Thompson collection, and of course there are those John D. MacDonald books, including both editions of WEEP FOR ME.

The problem becomes one of "What will happen to all these books after I'm gone?" A friend of mine, George Kelley, solved that problem by donating his books to SUNY at Buffalo, where the library established The Kelley Collection. But George was lucky. Not many libraries are going to treat paperbacks with the care and respect that SUNY does. And besides, I can't bear to part with the books. They'll probably be right here after I've shuffled off this mortal coil. I'm afraid that my kids will have a big yard sale, with my signed Whittington hardbacks going for 10 cents each. I don't suppose it will bother me.

For the moment, I love sitting here in my little office room, surrounded by thousands (and thousands) of paperbacks. I feel like Scrooge McDuck in the money bin. I'd like to burrow through them like a gopher. I'd like to toss them in the air and let them hit me on the head. Not that hardbacks, though.

Anybody else as crazy as me? If you'd like to read about others who are, check out Nicolas Basbanes' A GENTLE MADNESS. It's a wonderful book.

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Bill -

I Have the same problem, in fact I have now had to move a lot of my collection to my buisness / which includes a large warehouse, breaks my heart as I want to build a proper library.

My idea of perfect evening is sitting in rocking chair, cold beer in one hand, cold thriller in the other in a room full of books

See, when you use the word "problem," you align yourself with my wife. But I agree with you about the library. I'd love to buy another house and fix up each room with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.
Wow, this is my secret amibition too, rooms lined with floor-to-ceiling bookcases.
I'd like to be a collector, though, like you it's more of an accumulation. We don't have the thousands and thousands of books. Well, okay, maybe a couple thousand.

I started cataloging our library a little while ago with a barcode scanner and a database I got from Works pretty well. I had no idea that I had close to three hundred in my office alone. And besides the bathroom, that's the fewest we have in any room. I'm a little daunted by the possibility of going through the twenty feet of bookshelves in our den.

We only have a few that are collector's pieces. My favorite is an 1872 Don Quixote with Doré prints that my wife got me years ago. She has a handful of first run Tarzans, and a small, leatherbound Rubaiyat printed in 1922.
We have three bathrooms. Only one of them (mine) has books in it. But there are several there. Okay, more than several.
Oh, Patrick. Try more fiber in your diet and move out to a nice barka lounger with a good reading lamp.
I used to collect, but lately I've been buying only used books, then getting rid of them when I'm done, either back to the bookstore or, more recently, off to Iraq. I'm not sure how our troops feel about getting a copy of PIMP FOR THE DEAD with the cover falling off. I hope SOMEbody likes it.

I rarely buy new books at all anymore, and then usually if I know the author.
You know the troops must love PIMP FOR THE DEAD. How could they not?
The signature probably detracts from the value. Hang onto those rare, unsigned copies.
My book collection numbers in the dozens, not thousands, and most are those signed by authors I know. That makes them special to me. My wife, bless her heart, felt the space they took up in our shared computer room could be put to better use. "Either the books go, or I do," is how she put it. After careful thought, the books went to an attic storage space. Books provide a great deal of comfort and joy but, alas, they do have limitations.
I have a lot of signed books, too. I used to carry a suitcase of books to Bouchercon to get signatures, but I finally gave that up.
Ah, another victim of storage. I need another house.


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