Starting Something

Few people know about Ian Fleming’s passion for book collecting. It was a personal hobby that he rarely publicised.

His impressive collection of first editions focused on the crucial books of modern civilisation; TV, atomic fission, X-Rays, birth control, the motor car, penicillin; topics which he said “started something”

In 1952 Ian Fleming started something himself.

He began writing Casino Royale, which was to start a cultural phenomenon, introducing the world to "Bond, James Bond."

Simultaneously, this was the year Fleming started a unique periodical for bibliophiles that soon became hailed as the most important journal of its kind in the world: THE BOOK COLLECTOR.

Ian Fleming Library Image
Fleming's library at home

When Fleming died in 1964 his personal library was bought by the Lilly Library, Bloomington, Indiana. (You can view the 1971 Exhibition Catalogue here.)

The following year The Book Collector’s then editor, John Hayward, also died and after a brief interregnum Nicolas Barker took up the reins as owner/editor. It is to Nicolas that this journal owes its continued existence. His was the inspiration and the hard work that kept it going. In 2016, after 50 years at the helm, he called it a day and handed it over to the founders’ nephews, James and Fergus Fleming.

Today it remains the only journal in the world that deals with all aspects of the book, covering subjects ranging from typography to national heritage policy, from medieval libraries to modern first editions.

The Book Collector Archive includes indexed PDFs of every issue ever printed since 1952, as well as all issues of its predecessor Book Handbook, which was published in twenty-eight numbers between 1947 and 1951. Subscribers can browse by subject, author, date and other criteria, putting a wealth of valuable resources at your fingertips.

Embracing the Future

In 2018 The Book Collector launched a new website, making it easier than ever to browse the archive, access catalogues and discover more about the world of Book Collecting. The new Features page publishes special online articles (also available to non-subscribers) referencing topics covered in our printed issues and guiding readers to other sites, pages and articles of interest across the web.

The Book Collector is also helping to raise awareness of Book Collecting Prizes across the UK and the US. These competitions encourage a new generation of book collectors. Motivate young participants with the support of sponsors, universities, libraries and independent bookshops. It is a trend that we would like to see thrive.

The Book Collector Podcasts

Articles from our Archive brought to life in audio - listen now via soundcloud.com

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