The Conscience of a Collector
As the years go by and his first editions gain in value, a once starry-eyed book collector is faced with questions beyond price.
1. A Rediscovery
On a spring trip to Oregon in 2005 to look at colleges, my son and I stopped at Powell’s bookstore in downtown Portland—a vast emporium of the printed word. After browsing for several hours, I discovered a magnificent rare-book room on an upper floor. To enter it was to penetrate a hushed sanctuary, a glass-enclosed, carpeted space with an entirely different ambiance from the rest of the store. Another hour passed as I browsed the modern first editions. I could easily have spent a whole day in there, grazing over titles, authors, bindings, covers, inscriptions,...