Book Collecting

I have always enjoyed reading and there is something about actually holding what you are reading rather than peering at it through a screen which is far more satisfying. Though I read pretty much anything at an early age I voraciously consumed fantasy and Science Fiction which has largely continued through to the present day. Over the years I have wanted to keep the books I loved but due to the volume of books I had to start restricting the books I kept which is now only first editions and/or signed editions otherwise I would be buried a few miles deep in my collection. Even with this I have a large number of books and I am quite proud of what I have managed to collect over the years.

Yeah, sure, many in the book collecting world would possibly scoff at my collection but I like it.


I have attended quite a few World Science Fiction Convention events primarily to meet and hear the authors (never mind the amazing “Dealers Room”)…as well as have them sign some books for me. I have also attended various book festivals including the Hay Festival and the Edinburgh Book Festival. As for collecting I have regularly attended Firsts: London's Rare Book Fair but this does tend towards the pricier end of the market but I have occasionally found more reasonably priced volumes I was interested in.


I have a good number of modern signed first editions in various genres including Science Fiction, General Fiction, Fantasy and Biography. Having lived in London for many years and travelling around a good amount the collection is quite varied. Most are unread as I first work through my every expanding “reading” pile (the books in this pile are just for reading which are then donated to charity after I read them). For the most part the collection is hard cover but I do have a few paperbacks but my preference is for the former. In recent years I have been picking up more unusual graphic novels, again, often signed by the authors.

I use the “Book Catalogue” app on my phone (Android) to keep track of the collection as it offers bar code scanning for quick entry of information (it looks up the book details using the bar code and fills them in for you).

Useful Web Sites and Shops

Over the years I have purchased books from many different places. My current UK sources for book collecting are beyond eBay and AbeBooks:

  • Goldsboro Books (London) - Shop selling signed first edition books, both new and old. Can be a bit pricey but is very good quality with all books sold with protective covers.
  • Forbidden Planet (UK) - Sells a large variety of cult material but has a great selection of books and comics which are often signed and priced at cover price (unlike Goldsboro). They do not have a huge amount of signed stock but worth checking out and subscribing to their email newsletter.
  • Hatchards (London) - Though now owned by Waterstones Hatchards is still worth checking out to see what new signed stock they might have. I have found some interesting reprint editions of (modern) classic books such as Beatrix Potter's children's books.
  • Foyles (London) - Though now also owned by Waterstones, Foyle's still has a wonderful store and is well worth checking out with surprising signed editions often available.
  • Waterstones (UK) - Often I will find myself surprised with what is on the shelves of their stores and their online service is quite good for this big chain. Yes, they do offer a good number of signed editions.

See also my London BookSellers information.

Outside of the UK there are a few places I have purchased from in the past:

  • Bakka-Phoenix Books (Toronto) - An independent shop specializing in Science Fiction and Fantasy that in the past did have a number of signed editions.
  • Strand Books (New York) - An amazing shop in New York City that is well worth a visit.