Extracurricular Activities

I am amazed at the number of Christians involved in extracurricular activities. One of those areas of interest is politics. In a number of social outlets, the platform of negative reporting is spearheaded by Believers. If they dislike a politician, they illustrate their contempt with negativity. If they endorse a political party, they will sound the trumpet of praise and adoration. If it’s a political ideology they disagree with, they will express it with carbon monoxide rhetoric. I am not interested in whether someone is Republican, Democrat, or whatever. What concerns me is that the harvest fields are ripe for harvesting, but the harvesters seem more concerned with issues unrelated to reaping. (John 4: 35) The last thing I want to do is to turn off a potential Believer by expressing a political viewpoint that might add to the further polarization of our society. The majority of our political understanding is determined by what we read or hear from the media. Can we honestly promote something as truth, when all we know is from biased reporting?


Our Country is in a mess, but I am at rest because God is in control. This is a time for Christians to stay the course. This is the time to stay focused. This is the time to pray for those in authority. (I Timothy 2:1, 2) This is the time to make sure our priorities stay in line with God’s Word.I don’t believe there is a Biblical subject that has not been written or verbalized about. The redundancy of theme writing and publications has inundated the social platforms. Faith shared articles and quips have continued to be popular with the faithful. My concern is that those outside of the Faith have little or no understanding of what our jubilation is all about. While the Christians encourage each other with the Word, the unbelievers remain in the dark searching for the allusive answer to what life is all about. It is time for Believers to leave their spiritual “Disneyland” and share their lives with those that are living day by day. It is exciting to feel the spiritual goose bumps in our closed communal gatherings, but the real excitement is releasing the “rivers of living water” to those in our communities that are looking for something to quench their thirst from the heat of sin.


The Life Book is what Believers need to tweet about. We need to share what God is doing in our lives, and what our lives are doing in serving God!

Promoting Your “Amazon Published” Book or eBook Online

You’ve just gone through the work and the excitement of completing your first book or e-book and you are ready to showcase it to the world. Now, you have to get the word out and try to get some buyers for it. This by the way, is just as strenuous if not even more so than writing the book in the first place. You will realize soon enough that you have to dig deep within yourself to market what you have created to others to make the sales. One author I know when once asked how his books managed to sell so well said. “It’s easy. Write it, put it in a place where people can buy it, and then promote the heck out of it for about 3 years.”

In this article I don’t plan to discuss the myriad of things you can do outside of the Internet to promote your creation such as book signings, getting a table at trade fairs to showcase your book and give away autographed copies, trying to get retailers to sell it (if you’ve created a bound version of it), etc. The tips provided below are written to help you get maximum publicity for your book or e-book online.

Let’s start with building your online selling strategy. Where will you put your book to sell it?

The most popular choice on the Internet is Amazon. This is a very good first step for many books, particularly e-books. Amazon owns Kindle Books, the defacto leader in E-Book marketing and distribution. The whole world has heard of Kindle and there are literally millions of Kindle Readers out there that people can use to read your e-book not to mention that Kindle book reading software is available for computers, tablets and even mobile devices – so it is very easy to distribute and make your creation accessible to others. Amazon also owns “Create Space”, a second entity that can turn your E-book into a bound book that can also be sold on Amazon-Kindle and through distributors globally. If you want to “pay-market” your book through Amazon? You can do that as well through building one of their economically priced advertising campaigns.

Going through this process also gets you an ASIN number for your book or an ISBN number for your book if you wish to go that route (needed for selling hard-copy books through Create Space but not for e-books just sold on Amazon-Kindle). You can enroll your book as well into the Kindle KDP Select program which is like an online library that people pay a monthly subscription to and you can get additional royalty payments for your book from here – based on number of pages read. You can also get promotional banners from Amazon that you can put on your website or blogsite and even send in e-mails to people to further promote your book.

Bottom line is that starting out, Amazon – Kindle has a lot to offer a new self-publisher. You can literally get your book out there in under a week and start making money from it if people purchase it.

But you will need to do further work to get your book to actually sell and start earning you revenues. Your book will get onto Amazon OK, but it has to be seen and desired in order for you to make sales. There are books that have sat there for years without any sales at all so don’t think your done once you get your book published and onto the site. You have to help the sales happen by promoting it. So below is a list of things you should also be doing yourself online to get people to your Amazon purchased page to buy your book.

  • Be sure you build out your Author profiles on Amazon Central and on book review sites such as “Good Reads”. On Good Reads, also be sure to get your book into their “Listopia” program – so learn how to do that. Find other similar Author sites and get your name out there as well.
  • Consider getting out an online press release on your book as well. Make sure it has back links to where people can view and purchase your book. Take a look at “Reddit” as one possible site for this.
  • Promote your book on different social media platforms such as Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, etc.
  • Consider building a YouTube channel and creating a promotional video for your book with linkbacks to where your book can be purchased.
  • Create your own “Author” blog-site to further promote your book. Traverse the Internet to get linkbacks to your site or book through guest posting, article writing, etc.
  • Get an automated e-mail marketing and autoresponder system in place and use it to help promote your book – build your e-mail subscriber lists!
  • Consider getting a podcast series going on iTunes where you can have “podcast discussions” about the content of your book. FYI – Once you get some of these built, stick an image of your book in front of them and upload these to your YouTube channel as well as “Video Podcasts”.
  • Keep posting and guest posting and getting yourself out there with people. The more people that know about you and your book, the better your sales will be. Build relationship bridges with other authors (EzineArticles and Good Reads are good places to do this), with book reviewers, people knowledgeable in your “book space”, etc. Get known out there.
  • Build a Facebook business page for your book and put your author “Good Reads” button onto your Facebook pages that can bring people back to your Author page at GoodReads. Promote your book on Facebook using the “Boost Post” feature – this is a very economical marketing platform with great targeting capabilities.
  • Be sure to get on Google+ and build out your profile there. Then, search for and join several communities relating to your topic area and also relating to other authors – become a positive content contributor to these communities.

In summary, if you can get through all the above steps for promoting your book online, you will be well on your way of starting to build the base needed to start earning revenues for your book. Best of luck to you in your writing career.

Some of the Best Cooking Books That Need to Be in Your Kitchen

Having just graduated from university, cooking books have a firm place on my kitchen shelf. From disastrous attempts at making barely edible dishes, my time as a student has exposed me to many cooking books. Here are the top ten of the best cooking books that are invaluable to any wannabe Masterchefs out there.

Ready… Steady… Cook!

10. Delia’s Complete Cookery Course by Delia Smith

This mammoth cookery book whips in at number 10. Delia Smith is very much the David Beckham of the cooking world – an institution. Her Complete Cookery Course does exactly what it says on the tin. It provides wannabe chefs with a full, comprehensive guide to creating the best dishes. With fundamental must know recipes like apple pie and yorkshire puddings, Delia shows she is one of the masters. With mouth-watering pictures acting as a rough guide this book is a god send for beginner chefs. No doubt a staple on your mother’s shelf, this book is perfect as a starting point in the basics of pastry making, cake baking and roast making. A genuine triumph in the cookery book world.

9. The New Curry Bible by Pat Chapman

Chapman’s bible does not follow the conventional rules of cookery books, but is a diamond in the rough for curry fanatics out there and the reason it has made this best cooking books list. The New Curry Bible does not simply show you the recipes but teaches you the history of curry making. It is not a book to be bought for people who want a quick fix curry. If you are one of those people I suggest you save yourself time and money and just buy a ready meal. However, if you are interested in the exquisite nature of curries, then this book teaches you all you need to know. Like any specialist cook book, it is a little disheartening at first to encounter all of the strange herbs and spices that you know you don’t own, but the rewards from having knowledge of these is irreplaceable. Although it may take you a while to get to grips with the fine art of balancing the spices, you will most certainly become famous amongst friends and family for the talent you will take from this beautiful book.

8. Rick Stein’s Taste of the Sea: 150 Fabulous Recipes for Every Occasion

As a massive lover of seafood, this book has literally been my magna carta. Rick Stein takes you on a journey around the coast and teaches you to really appreciate fish in all its scaly glory. From skinning methods to filleting, this book teaches you how to prepare and cook fish to perfection. Stein writes in a clear and simple fashion and it is impossible to resist his infectious passion. With a variety of dishes that cater for absolutely every occasion, this book is a must have for beginners and experienced fish mongers alike. The instructions are not condescending or set in stone, and leave freedom for experimentation. A truly great book by a truly great chef and teacher.

7. Simple Chinese Cooking by Kylie Kwong

Following the theme of specialist cooking books, Simple Chinese Cooking is an absolute must have for anyone wanting to start a love affair with chinese cooking. Filled with beautiful photography, this book coaches you through each dish with clear and crisp step-by-step instructions. Usually when faced with a specific cook book, there seems a never-ending list of ingredients that appear to exist in outer space, but this book has essentials that can be bought and found easily in local grocery stores. Not only is this book a great guide, but it is also incredibly exciting as each week you can watch yourself develop and gain confidence with once seemingly difficult dishes. From steamed cod to sweet and sour pork, Kwong’s recipes will have you burning all your chinese takeaway menus from the get go.

6. Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals by Jamie Oliver

There can be no such thing as a best cooking books list without Mr Oliver, of course. One of the things I love most about almost all of Jamie Oliver’s cook books are their beautiful and impeccable presentation. They are not endless pages of lines and lines of writing but are instead filled with bright, colourful and delectable pictures, as well as no- nonsense recipes. In his 30 Minute Meals Jaime shows you that once and for all cooking does not have to be a stressful and laborious affair. Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals is amazing for working people for whom time is money, and of course students who wish to spend minimum amount of time cooking and maximum amount of time… studying. Not only is it wonderfully organised with a designated section for starters, mains and desserts, but there are numerous vegetarian recipes scattered inside, making this book literally for every type of chef.

5. The Best Recipes in the World by Mark Bittman

After his debut cook book How to Cook Everything became an international sensation, Bittman is back to teach you it is easier than you thought to cook recipes from all around the world. With no unnecessary embellishments Bittman gently leads you on a culinary round the world trip that will leave your taste buds in a state of euphoria. The best aspect of Mark Bittman’s The Best Recipes In The World whilst you may never get round to cooking everything inside, the dishes you do make will leave you feeling inspired to take dishes you already cook and turn them on their head. Although it can be overwhelming to face so many recipes in one book, I urge you to add this to your collection. It is timeless and will only help to increase your knowledge of food.

4. Gordon Ramsay’s Secrets by Gordon Ramsay

In this incredible and not too badly priced book, Gordon Ramsay lets you in on a few secrets that have made him the world-renowned chef that we have all come to love. With a huge collection of recipes from poultry to fish and desserts to soups, this cookbook lets you in on inside info that will have friends and family thinking you are a bona-fide kitchen guru. The recipes are simple and effective and Ramsay has even added flourishes of his own, such as useful tips on presenting dishes. If you really have a passion for cooking or would love to learn more, this is the book that teaches you not just to cook but how to become a chef. These tips help to make cooking a truly enjoyable experience and will boost your confidence to be adventurous not only in cooking but also in eating as well.

3. The Complete Book of Sushi by Hideo Dekura

As a self-confessed sushi addict this book is incredible – the pages are almost edible. It combines the modern with the traditional and allows you to get to grips with this difficult Japanese style of cooking. Although not to everyone’s taste, this book teaches you the secrets behind making that difficult sticky rice and how to present your sushi in wonderful ways. The most interesting thing about Dekura’s book is they way it advances from simple to expert. This allows you to move gradually at your own pace and also sets little targets within the book. Whilst there are other books on the market such as Yo Sushi’s, it is Dekura’s book that really stands out of the crowd. With gorgeous photography it inspires with a mere flick of the page, and unlike its contemporaries has clear and simple instructions. A must have for any sushi fan and it also makes a great present.

2. Wahaca – Mexican Food At Home by Thomasina Miers

This book comes in at number two of this best cooking books top ten and is a must have for any frequent Wahaca customer. It was only recently published and plunges you straight into the vibrant and tasty world of Mexican street food. One thing that did surprise me was the breakfast section, and I have to admit I have been thoroughly converted to a mexican way of eating in the morning. Full of beautiful pictures and written in an accessible and friendly way, this book does exactly what the title states and brings Mexican food straight into your kitchen. Miers has clearly done the research required for such an exquisite book, and the information about mexican chillies is invaluable. An excellent book for cooking meals for friends and a great equivalent to BBQ parties.

1.Jaime does… by Jaime Oliver

In at number one is Jaime does. In this book Jaime travels through foodie hotspots such as Spain, France and Morocco in order to find innovative recipes. The book is beautifully presented (like all of Jaime’s books) and has wonderful pictures of his travels alongside the amazing pictures of his food. Each country has an introductory paragraph that explains the culture and food he came into contact with, and then in very simple language and an ever friendly tone, Jaime guides you through a range of dishes. From light bites such as patatas bravas to the more complex dishes like the steak tartare, Jaime’s tone never condescends you as the amateur chef. This book not only provides great enjoyment as a teaching tool but is also nice to flip through every now and again to behold the location shots of his food journey. Overall a very deserving winner of this Best Cooking Books list. Absolutely delicious!

This is by no means the only ten cook books I think you should own. There are many other brilliant cookbooks out there for beginners such as The Student Cookbook by Sophie Grigson. This is superb for amateur chefs who simply do not have the time to cook elaborate meals every day and are after recipes for both real cooking and convenience cooking. Then for more adventurous chefs who are willing to getinventive and scientific in the kitchen, there is Heston Bluementhal’s brilliant book The Fat Duck Cookbook, which combines vivid illustrations and wacky recipes for a truly great cooking experience. Overall, the ten books that compose this best cooking books list all offer friendly, easy to follow guidance which enables you to not only enjoy them as books, but also enjoy them as learning tools that will one day make you the king of the kitchen.

Bon appetit ladies and gents.

How To Collect Books For Fun OR Profit

Before you start to seriously go out and buy books, you need to learn some terminology and become familiar with book publishing and production process. For example, while most people think of book collecting only in terms of the final product as it appeared in the bookstore, there are other elements of a book that are more valuable, more elusive, and more heavily collected. Plus, the more you know about the history of books and how books are constructed, the more finely tuned your critical senses will be, and the more you’ll appreciate finding a truly good book. This article is an attempt to educate and provide you with resources to get you started in book collecting.

For the collector, there are three primary things to consider when buying a book: EDITION, CONDITION and SCARCITY in this condition and edition.

Understanding these areas is the different between success and failure, between being able to build a collection of treasures and an assortment of reading copies, between being able to collect and sell for money, or just going out and buying a lot of worthless books.

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Parts of a Book

*Cover- To put something over or upon, as to protect, conceal or enclose. Dustcover.

*Spine-The back part of the book and it faces outward when you shelf the book right.

*Title Page- The page at the beginning of the book, usually containing the title of the book and the names of the author and publisher.

*Copyright Page-Where the copyright date is found.

*Dedication Page-Its the place where the author dedicates the book to someone.

*Table of Contents-A list of the books contents, arranged by chapter, section, subsection, Etc…

*Forward- An introduction by person other than the author, and it is usually a famous person..

*Text (or Body)-The actual words of the book

*Glossary-A list of hard words with their meanings often printed in the back of the book.

*Bibliography- A list of books, articles, etc. Used or referred by the author at the end of the book.

*Index-A list of subjects and names in alphabetical order at the end of the book.

*ISBN-International Standard Book Numbers–is a ten digit number that uniquely identifies books and look-like products published internationally.

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Getting Started

The used and collectible book market divides into three neat categories:reading copy, antiquarian, and modern first edition.

*Reading Copies

Are books you can take to the beach or into a bathtub. They’re the largest part of the book market, and they’re everywhere. If you buy a book with anything in mind other than collecting, you’re buying a reading copy.

*Antiquarian

Antiquarian book lovers seek out classic old volumes—editions of Scott, Wordsworth, the Bay Psalm Book, examples of fine printing and binding from centuries past.

*Modern Firsts

Modern first edition collectors tend to limit themselves to this century, to the writers who have defined the times we live in, such as Steinbeck, Hemingway, and Faulkner.

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Taking Stock

The first step to being a good book scout is to take a look at your own bookshelves at home.

This is going to be your opening stock, so take a minute to appraise what you own. Do you have a lot of paperbacks with cracked spines and tattered covers? Or do you have a nice selection of good hardbacks neatly care for, books you brought as soon as they came out? The fact that you own books at all shows that you’re a lover of books, which is the first step to becoming a serious collector.

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First Edition or Printing

So, obviously, you’ve got to learn how to identify first editions to avoid making costly mistakes. After all, if you think it’s a first and you turn out to be wrong after paying a premium. The problem is, nearly every publisher has its own method of identified first editions. You can memorize the policies of every single publisher in the history of the book trade, and even then you’ll make mistakes, because all of the rules have exceptions. On my shelves, and on on the shelves of every collector I know, there are at least a few books that looked like a first of first, but turn out later to be plain old books instead.

As general rule, there are two things to look for right off the bat:a statement of edition, or a number line.

The statement of edition is exactly that: on the copyright page, the book says “FIRST EDITION” or “SECOND EDITION” or FIFTY-THIRD EDITION.” Or if not “edition” it will say “printing”. With lots of publishers that’s all you’ll need to find.

Unfortunately, some publishers don’t remove the edition slug from subsequent printings; or sometimes a book club edition will state that it’s a first; or sometimes there’s nothing stated at all.

The next thing to look for is the number line. This is a sequence of numbers which, on the first, usually go from 1 to 10 (some publishers will go 1 to 5 and then the five years around the year of publication: for example, 123459495969798); it may be in order, or it may start with 1 on the left, the 2 on the right, and so forth, with the 10 in the middle. Look for the 1. On every publisher employing a number line except Random House, a number line with a 1 is a first edition. Random House, just to be sure that no one can ever be sure, use a 2 on the number line and the “FIRST EDITION” slug.

There are some publishers who indicate a first edition by not indicating it. If you don’t see anything that says it’s a second or third edition, then it must be a first. There are other publisher who code the information into the book somewhere, but it isn’t always easy to find.

Those three checks will help you identify most books from most publishers, but not all.

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Points

These little differences, about where the photographs should be, wrong lines printed in the book, etc., are known as points.

The easiest way to start learning points is the obvious one: pay close attention to the better price guides, which rarely fail to list the major points. Never just look at the price, look at the entire entry.

Because points are so vital, it’s time to introduce one of themes of this article: to collect successfully, it is important to specialize to a large extent. You are never going to learn the full field of points, of every single detail differing in every single book. In the comfort of a used book shop, maybe the owner has time to run back to check twenty reference books to research points.

But you are standing in the store, looking at the book, and you’re not sure, you’re on your own. If you’re specialized, you’ve got a better chance of coming up with the right answer. This is not to say you should never go out of your field; but in your field, go for depth. Learn everything you can. If you’re a science fiction fan, a modern lit fan, a devotee of travels and voyages, there are specialized bibliographies and reference books you can use to track down and discover new points.If you’re interested in children’s books, study the authors, and pay attention to every detail of the book in your hand.

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Condition

We’ eve looked at the details of the edition; now it’s time to look at the details of condition. You can own a copy of the rarest book in the world, and if the boards are off, the hinges sprung, if there’s writing and foxing on the pages and heavy water damage along the edges, all you got is a lump of worthless paper. For a first edition book to be collectible, there is nothing that affects the price as much as condition. Even the rarest first, if trashed, is just trash, not a collectible book.

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Dust Jackets/Dust Wrappers

It is the condition of the dust jacket that determines the largest percentage of the book’s price—-some dealers estimate as much as 80%—-and so this is where you should start grading. A wonderful book without a dust cover is just a reading copy. Collectors want prime dust jackets.

That’s what they see first, that’s what’s displayed on the shelf, so the dust jacket should be treated like cash money.

When grading a book, look at the dust jacket first, and then move on to the book itself. When you look at catalogs, you’ll see most dealers will give one grade for the book itself, and another for the dust jacket. The whole package is important, but the dust jacket has priority. Without exception for books produced in the last 40 years, there is nothing more important for the book’s value than the dust jacket.

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Grading

Grades are given in descending order: Very Fine, Fine, Near Fine, Very Good, Poor.

* Very Fine–A book that is in perfect condition There are no sign that the book has every been read. The dust jacket is bright and shiny as it was the day it came off the press. No signs of rubbing, bumping, chips, dents, dings, or creases. Book should be tight, creaks with you open it and does not fall open to any particular page of section. No ownership marks on any of the book.

* Fine–It is a small step down. A tiny bump or two is allowed. The book may have been read, but very carefully. The dust jacket has lost some of its sheen, bit it is still intact, with no tears or chips in it.

* Very Good–A book that is physically intact, dust cover on and reasonably unmarred. A book that has some basic flaws. These are the books on most people shelves. The dust jacket may have rubbing, a tear or two and a couple chips. It could be sun-faded.

* Good–A Book in reading condition only. Dust jacket will have serious problems–Large chips, tears, and price clipping (were someone cup the price tag off) are to be expected. Book may have stains, hinges torn loose from spine.

* Poor–The final condition before the recycle bin

* Library Markings: There is one other thing that makes a book worthless:library markings. These may be a stamp with the library’s name on it, the glue from a return-card pocket, or stickers on the dust jacket.

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Book Scouting

To be a good book scout, you have to keep your eyes open at all times. Never drive by a place that might have books for sale. You can find books at Book Auctions, Garage Sales, Estate Sales, PTA Auctions, Antique Stores, Book Fairs, Thrift Shops, Goodwill, etc.

Tools to use when you are Book Scouting.

*Price Guides:

1. Allen and Patricia Ahearn’s Collected Books:The Guide to Values.
2. Book Prices:Used and Rare
3. Mandeville’s Used Book Price Guide

These three guides will cover a good percentage of the book market.

*Online Websites:

1. Addall
2. Abebooks

These two sites are great for founding and getting prices on books.

*Dealer Catalogs

A supply of dealer catalogs can teach you more about the currency book market and current prices than anything else.

Never, ever throw a price guide or a catalog away. Updates do not always have the same books. You may often find yourself scrambling through a stack of material, looking for what year a particular book first showed up. With some practice, it’s not that difficult to prorate the market and update material yourself, and the old guides are a valuable source of information. Beside which, watching how the guides change can teach you how the market has changed, and whether the prices you’re paying or asking are fair. Pricing a book is an art form in and of itself and one you can never be entirely sure of.

* Editions and Points Guides

1. Edward N. Zempel and Linda A. Verkler’s First Editions

2. A Pocket Guide to the Identification of First Editions

I recommend owning both guides.

*Books about Collecting Books

1. Modern Book Collecting By Robert Wilson

2. Understanding Book Collecting by Grant Uden

3. How to buy Rare Books by William Rees-Mogg

All three books are excellent in getting you started.

*Book Buying Tools

1. Scoul Pal– Check out their scanner system that adapts to any cell phone. Scanner are simple and easy to use. You just scan the barcode containing the ISBN or UPC number and ScoutPal will present concise results, including a summary of market prices and quantities, sales rank, editions and availability, and used/new/collectible details.

2. AsellerTool– Check out their scanner system too.

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Spotting Trends and Picking Authors

Like all other fields, the book market moves in cycles.There is more short-term money in spotting trends than there is in buying classic writers, but there is also a lot more risk. Trends come and go, while the classic authors more slowly but steadily.

Which is one of the reasons why it’s important, even in books you’re planning to deal, to buy things you like. There is no telling when you’ll get struck with them. If you are a collector, simply buy what you love. You can never go wrong doing that. Dealers have to look at things a bit differently.

What you must remember is that all hot books have their day, and that day almost invariably comes to an end, sooner or later. If you’re buying a book for resale, not just for collecting, it’s important that you constantly monitor the price guides and the catalogs for fluctuations in value.

When picking authors watch for cycles. Watch for books in new categories. Some writers have a strong enough visions that they are indefinable, and these writers tend to to be especially collectible in their early works. Tom Clancy is one.

So watch for what’s new, for who’s on the cutting edge, because even if you look at classic collectible books, you’ll see that those authors, too, were pushing the envelope. That’s what’s made them worthwhile for so long: Hemingway’s restrained prose; Steinbeck’s social consciousness. T. S. Eliot reinvented poetry, as did Allen Ginsberg. That’s why their books are still sought after, still read and discussed.

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Signed Editions

There is nothing as lovely as an autographed book. It has a special feel that cannot be matched by any other copy. This copy was in the author’s hand, before it came to you.

Signed copies are always at a premium. Everybody wants a copy of a book that has passed through the hands of a favorite author.

There are two kinds of signed books. Limited editions, which were produced to be signed. Signed trade editions are the copies that fans and hopeful dealers have taken up to the author and gotten signed themselves.

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The above information, if apply, will give you a great start to your book collecting hobby or book dealing.