6 Tips on How to Start Collecting Coffee Table Books
June 21, 2022
Since I was a pre-teen, I collected coffee table books. When I started collecting them, people, including my parents, thought I was weird, but I loved them. The first coffee table books I owned are Lord of the Rings books that I’d ask for my birthday. Despite how odd my love of coffee table books was, I continue to buy them to this day.
Over time, I began to learn a few things about starting a collection of coffee table books. Right now I’m in the mindset of purchasing, or potentially purchasing, new books, so I decided to write a post dedicated to collecting coffee table books. Especially since they can be very expensive!
Pick a Genre, Topic, or Theme to Focus Your Purchases On
When you spend a lot of money on coffee table books, it is important to collect books that you will actually enjoy. This is why it is so important to focus your shopping on certain genres, topics, or themes. Coffee books come in a wide range of topics, so this can be tricky. I personally like to start with the areas of interest that I normally gravitate towards whenever I want to find information. This usually has to do with fashion, art, and design. Since there are a lot of coffee table books that contain information about those subjects, I usually purchase them first. If you are looking for something more aesthetic and decorative, focus on topics that tie into your decor. If you want a book with a certain color scheme, take that into account as well. Just make sure you purchase something that you would probably like to read yourself. After all, you’re spending your own money on the book and will be living with it in your house. Don’t purchase something extremely expensive on a topic that you don’t like in order to make people that visit your home like you more?
Pick a Budget and STICK TO IT!!! (Unless it’s a book you really have your heart on and you have not choice. Then save your money and BE PATIENT!!!)
When it comes to buying coffee table books, it can be easy to blow through $100 USD or more to obtain a book. This is why having a budget for the books are so important. That way you can purchase books that you can actually afford and not feel so much guilt about the price point of it. The down side is there are those coffee table books that will never go on sale. These can include limited edition books that will become a collector’s item later on. In times like this, I suggest saving and sticking to your budget until one of those collector’s edition books come along. That way you will have more money to spend on the collectable book instead of going into a lot of debt to purchase and own it.
Browse Available Books Not to Buy, but to See How Popular They Are and How Much They Cost
If your are completely new to coffee book buying, try to browse for currently available books. Doing this is not meant to make you shop for them and impulse buy, but to gather information about the current prices of those books and how often they go on sale. Also, check to see if certain titles are more popular than others. Read the reviews. Look at any samples the online store gives you. If you are looking inside a bookstore, try to look at one of the books on the shelves. (Be careful though. Some books are shrink wrapped or are not allowed to be looked unless purchased. When in doubt, ask one of the sales associates if you are allowed to look at them) By doing this you will begin to develop a bigger picture about the upfront cost and love for certain coffee table books over others. This will help you buy smarter in the future.
Buy Books That are New and Currently In Stock Before Shopping for Used
Buying used books is a great way to save money because used books are worth less than new books. This is not always the case, and coffee table books fit into that category. Generally speaking, all coffee table books have the potential to increase in value after they go out of print. This is why I recommend looking for books that are new and currently in stock before shopping for used. Also, coffee table books are more valuable if they don’t show a lot of wear on them. Because of this, the more “affordable” option of the books could potentially come with some major issues, such as a broken book spine, torn pages, and water damage. Always check to see if there are photographs of the book prior to buying one for more than $50 USD.
Shop at Different Stores (Both Online and In Store)
Casting a wide net to look for coffee table books is important. Online is the easiest and most convenient option, but there could be misleading listings and shipping problems. This is why I suggest shopping at different stores both online and in person. Amazon is a favorite for online shoppers, but also look at other online book sellers both nationally known and locally. Also, browse local book stores in person. It doesn’t matter if it is a national chain bookstore a locally owned store. Just keep looking and seeing what is available and isn’t.
Shop at Discount Stores that Sell Books and Second Hand Book Stores
If you are on a very tight budget, try to look for coffee table books at discount stores that sell books and second hand books stores. Also, try to look at places such as Goodwill and Salvation Army stores. Their stock is not always consistent with what coffee table book is popular, but their prices are low and there is always that chance you will find a book for a cheeper price than what you’d find anywhere else. Since Goodwill and Salvation Army sells donated goods, you may find a vintage coffee table book for a steal of a price.