“Ian C. Ellis' Book Finds: How to Find, Buy, and Sell Used and Rare Books is exactly as the title describes it - a well-researched guide to collecting books and the ways that you can make the hobby pay for itself. There are chapters on the history of book-making, the ways in which one can identify a first edition/first printing, how to find books to sell for credit on more "worthy" purchases for your collection, tips on where to begin/what to collect, and even a chapter on book restoration and repair.
I worked in a big-box, chain bookstore for almost six years, and yet before I read this book I could not have explained to you the significance of the number line on the copyright page. I found the entire book fascinating, from cover to cover. This is one of those library books that I wish I had actually purchased as a reference. The indices of the book alone would be worth the cover price - a listing of 1000+ collectible (and findable) books, a guide to identifying first editions from most major publishers (not always as easy as it may sound,) and a list of good reference sources for the collector.
Book Finds is really a book for the beginner/amateur book collector. Knowing what makes a book collectible is half the battle when you step into a used bookstore and Ian C. Ellis gives you the tools you need in a readable and interesting format. Although Ellis focuses his book on the collecting of modern/contemporary first editions, he does give some information on rare collecting as well, though possibly not enough if that is where your interests are. Overall, Book Finds is a wonderful read for anyone interested in beginning a collection or even just knowing more about books in general and what makes them special. ”