Occasionally I buy a new copy of a book I already own. The reason I do this is usually one of these three reasons:
1. There’s an author event coming up that I plan to attend, and I’ll buy a nice hardcover copy to replace my paperback copy.
2. The author is one of my favorites, and I’ve found a really cool other edition of one of their works. This happens most frequently with Kurt Vonnegut books – I own a lot of new Dial paperbacks that all have similar covers with the V. Strand often has very old (not first editions or first printings, but old nonetheless), very cool hardcover copies that came out within a few years of the original edition. They sell them for $7.50, and I’m always thrilled when I find one I don’t have. In fact, they are holding just such a copy of Breakfast of Champions for me, which I’m going to try to pick up tomorrow.
3. I’ve found a very cheap copy (usually 50 cents or 1 dollar) of a book I absolutely love. I usually find these at Friends of the Library book sales. Often, I give these copies to my good friends – happy to find a cheap copy of one of my favorite books to share with others. However, since I give them away, it doesn’t really count as buying a copy of a book I already own, since I wouldn’t count new books that I bought as gifts. The occasions where it does count though, is when I buy a copy under the same circumstances, but plan on keeping it as a “lending copy.” I don’t like to lend books generally, which is horrid but true. Especially nice copies or my favorite books. I’ve found out too many times the hard way that many other people don’t have high standards of taking care of other people’s books. I’ve gotten copies back that I lent out like new, and they’ve come back months later with dozens of dog-eared pages, bent covers, and blackend edges. But I still like to share books with friends, so if I see a super cheap copy of a great book, I’ll buy it and lend it. I just did that with The History of Love by Nicole Krause. I have lots of friends at work who read, and I’ve been passing the book around from person to person.
So now I’ve willingly admitted that I’m completely obsessed with books and book collecting, not just reading. (Though if you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you probably already know that.) My love of reading is the force behind my love of book collecting, but I am aware that it’s still a huge fixation.
If I buy another copy of a book for any of the reasons listed above, I don’t list them in my monthly Polysyllabic Spree posts. This is because the intent of my Polysyllabic Spree is to track the flow of books acquired (books to read) verses books I’ve read. Buying another copy of something I already own does not affect this, so I omit them. I also don’t list children’s picture books, mainly because they can be read in about 5 minutes, and I don’t want to falsely inflate my book read list.
Anyway, the reason behind all this back story, is that I want to start posting pictures of some of the cool old editions I find. When I was visiting in Boston a few weeks ago, I went to a great used book store in Concord called Books With A Past. I found two wonderful old copies of J. D. Salinger books.
The first is a Modern Library edition of Nine Stories. It was $10.
I will post some picture of Breakfast of Champions after I get it, and maybe I’ll occasionally post pictures of some of the other old Vonneguts I’ve collected.
(This post was brought over from emilyw.vox.com. Click here for the original post and comments.)