Rare books knowledge signposting

This page is dedicated to pointing those of you interested in getting to know more about book history in the right direction – books to read, websites, and courses.

“From a book collector’s point of view, a rare book is ‘a book you want badly and can’t find’, or a book that is ‘important, desirable and hard to get’. However, there is no clear-cut definition of what makes a book a rare book. Even different libraries and booksellers employ different criteria. The terms ‘rare’, ‘antiquarian’ and ‘old’ are not clearly defined or indeed distinguished.

The rarity of a book has different aspects, too: ‘rarity’ can refer to the way the book is supposed to be handled, to the number of existing copies, and to its value.” ~ National Library of Scotland.

Collison, Robert L. (1957). Book collecting. An introduction to modern methods of literary and bibliographical detection. London: Ernest Benn Limited

Finkelstein D, and McCleery, A (2013). An Introduction to Book History. 2nd Ed. Oxon: Routledge

Gaskell, P (2012). A new introduction to bibliography. Delaware: Oak Knoll Press

McKenzie, D (1999). Bibliography and the Sociology of Texts. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Pearson, David (2012). Books as History. London: The British Library

The London Rare Books School

Rare Books Librarianship

Rare Books for Beginners