Reasons Why I Love Collecting Vintage Books
I struggled a bit trying to come up with a topic this week (probably because I had a look at other bloggers choices before I started my post – big mistake because I then invariably think to myself ‘oh that’s a great topic – wish I’d thought of that!‘ and it makes it that much harder to come up with my own).
Still, I eventually settled on the main reasons why I love to collect vintage books. I have amassed quite a large collection over the last five years or so (mainly young adult but not all) and I have many reasons why I love to collect vintage titles (despite having OCD and not liking to handle second-hand things – yep, I’m weird!!) 😛
1. The glorious covers!
I adore vintage book covers! Especially those from the 1970s and 1980s – they are nearly always illustrated and just downright awesome! It’s a style I have always been drawn to and some vintage covers are just hard to beat. Here is a previous Top Ten topic where I list some of my favourites: Favourite Nostalgic Book Covers.
2. The nostalgia is strong with this one
I am definitely someone who is very nostalgic for the past. Case in point: I always regretted giving away the books I owned throughout my childhood/teen years and have spent years trying to re-collect them all. I have a lot of happy childhood memories of being cozied up in my bedroom reading (I have always been something of an introvert and a lot of the time preferred the company of my books over my friends!)
3. All about the visuals
This ties into the first and second points as I have always had a great visual memory but a terrible memory for authors names/titles. Yet, when I see a cover it instantly takes me back to the past and I always can recognise if I have read the book then or not (when covers change it gives me hives because then I honestly cannot tell until I start reading). Vintage books just have better visuals for me, I guess…
4. Olfactory sensation
I think most bookworms will pretty much all love the smell of a new book (I do too!) but there is just something about the smell of old books that gets to me. Old books have a particular smell that just can’t be replicated. I cannot tell you how many books I have huffed – yes, I’m that weirdo haha!
5. The history
There is something great about holding a book that has passed through many different owners. I love new books, don’t get me wrong, and I hate to damage them in any way, but there is something charming about a pre-loved book with all of its creases and folds. You can just tell a book has been read many times and it has its own history before you happened upon it. There is a tale behind each old book, it has travelled to places you probably haven’t, been held by people you will never meet.
6. Finding inscriptions / notes in books
I love finding previous owners names in books. It can be rather magical to be connected to someone who you will most likely never know personally. My mum would always get me books for birthdays etc. and write a little message / dedication for me inside. I can imagine other people’s relatives doing the same thing and there is just something sort of comforting about it – a sense of community, if you will. It’s the same if someone notes something in the margin of a book – you get a little bit of their thoughts about reading.
7. Finding things between the pages of books
This is somewhat similar to the last reason but I thought it was worthy of its own paragraph! I have found numerous things folded between the pages of vintage books I have bought: letters, photos, postcards, bookmarks, once I found a dollar bill… (there’s also other ickier things that I will not go into here!!) 🤮 Suffice it to say, you do find interesting things in pre-owned books.
8. Old books are treasures
This one is kinda a given but old books can be treasures – whether monetarily or otherwise. I am not someone who collects something with the view that it could be worth money (in fact, I cannot foresee a time where I would willingly part with my books) but books are still of high value to me. One of my aunts had a copy of the The Lord of the Rings that was signed by Tolkien but was only concerned with how much it would be worth (and eventually did sell it). I would have given anything to own that book – and not because it would have been worth its weight in gold – because it would have been something I treasured forever (Lord of the Rings has been my favourite book since childhood).
9. Times past
There is also the fact that old books are often very much a product of their time and depict a way of living that we will never see again. Its both beautiful and sad at the same time. When I read a book published in the 1980s it brings back memories for me. When I read one set in the 1970s; it gives me insight into a decade that I never got to experience personally. Its the same for any books written in the past: Austen, Dickens, Bronte etc. It’s nice to get a glimpse of the past without any kind of rose-tinted goggles on – from authors who lived in that time. Sure, they had their own biases but there was an honesty there too.
10. They look great on my shelves!
Okay… this one is kinda shallow but there is no doubt that old books are great for decorative purposes! Old books have a specific look and feel and definitely look great displayed on my bookshelves. They also look fabulous in my bookstagram posts!!