BOOK COLLECTING: The Use of Technology

Perhaps this could broadly cover the use of computers for personal cataloguing; the use of the internet historically in book collecting; and the use of technology to access information whilst away from home.

(Information Access)

Taking information access while out & about first, Jeremy asked:

So... how many collectors here have smart phones now (a phone with a web browser in it)?

I must say, having one available when I am out shopping not only means that I can have access to Amazon,, eBay, and other sites to check availability and prices, but also it is sort of what I envision the Guide moving towards as an online resource.

Wayne stated:

Our PDA also contains wants lists and other documents with information convenient to have at hand.

For various reasons, we just use plain old Microsoft Word. This is converted to Palm form through DataViz Documents to Go.

I don't personally have a phone with web access (just old WAP access; which is limited). I don't really have enough books to justify it yet either, I don't think (-but will probably need to in the future.) I'm interested to here how many other collectors really find this useful or not.

(Personal Cataloguing)

I do have a running catalogue of the books I have bought (that I deem collectable, whether Tolkien, H. P. Lovecraft or whatever), which I input into a simple Word document. It contains the following information:

Name, Author, Bibliographical information (this becomes ever more extensive as multiple copies of a title are purchased; but remains fairly basic if I only possess one copy e.g. Roverandom), date purchased, cost (inc. postage), seller, mode of purchase (eBay, Amazon, private etc).

When I first started collecting I use to cut and paste the original item description (or simply use the sellers invoice), and pair this with a slip of paper (with the information above; simply printed from my 'list') in a plastic wallet. I then put this in a ring binder.

Strangely, and somewhat compulsively, I still do this! So not only do I have a sensible running list on a Word file; but I still print out each of these entries and pair it with all the descriptive blurb the seller originally gave. It now runs to two ring binders. I really must stop doing this...

As a spin off I carry Silmarillion entries onto another Word document; and this I do carry around with me in hard format (it fits in my wallet). For the rest of my collection I'm still pretty clear what I have and what I don't have. But the Silmarillion collection is (nearly) becoming difficult to remember in precise terms!

(Internet & Book Collecting)

Book collecting before the internet is something I'm really fascinated to hear about from those collectors who have been collecting in a specialised capacity for many years.

I personally remember the days of book lists etc; but not in my modern collecting mode. I simply cannot envisage collecting Silmarillions in the way I do, just from book lists i.e. without the internet. How did you guys build such formidable collections back in the day? How have you found the internet has changed book collecting? Has it opened the market up to more collectors? Has it destroyed the private bricks & mortar book shop? Do you yearn for the paper days...