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Book Collecting 101: Ex-Library Editions

Virginia explains what an ex-library edition book is and how it can work in your collection.

Episode Transcript (Also available as a PDF)

"I'm often asked, "What is an ex-library edition? Why would someone have it in their collection, and do we have it in our private collection or the VJ Books inventory?" An ex-library edition, not to be confused with a library binding, which doesn't have the jackets and is made specifically for libraries, has the library that had it in circulation stamped somewhere on the book. Typically it's on the page edges, sometimes in the front flyleaf. “Why would someone collect it?” is an even better question. My response is that for collectors, they want to have the author's entire bibliography on their shelf, and even though one might be slightly marred by the library stamp, it can always be replaced when the collector finds that mint, new, unread, pristine copy to replace it with.

Do we have it in our collection? John does not have any ex-library editions in his private collection because he's been collecting for so many years, he's been able to replace those. We do have some in the VJ Books inventory, and that's because those editions are so scarce, that even with the library markings, that book is a value to a collector. Probably the most commonly sought after ex-library edition is the Clive Cussler "Iceberg" edition. Only forty-five hundred copies were made of this book, and then it was sent to libraries, so if you ever find one of these, give me a call.

VJ Books, we're talking books."