MatchMaker: the keys to book collecting
Overnight we are going to take the material you have identified in your wants list[s] and compare it to every listing on ABE. The first day will be big. Any accumulated listings on ABE that are matched will be posted on Day one. After that, only new matches will be posted. This wants list[s] [you can create more than one!] will also be matched against traditional auctions unless you deselect this option. Thus for traditional auctions you have two ways to obtain matches: keywords and specified titles.
You'll quickly see in the ABE matches a pattern. There generally won't be many [after the first day] but you will find material you can immediately buy. And the longer you run matches against ABE the more clearly you'll understand what is truly rare. This will fine tune your buying judgment.
On eBay you will learn to quickly sort your matches, deleting most and following others to their conclusion. You will master the basics of your account after some trial and error. And you will come to understand the type of material you can expect to find on eBay. It is frequently different from ABE listings with a stronger emphasis on ephemera. Within the regular auction world the pace will be slower. Your keywords will find matches but the auctions may be far away, the houses often unfamiliar, and the estimates sometimes steep. It will take a higher threshold of interest to begin bidding at these auctions but it will happen. Experience will make you a bidder.
Looking ahead, using this focused approach, you will start to buy 20 or 30 items a year. You used to have an itch and it turns out you were feeling frustration. You couldn't buy in a focused logical way before, so when you could buy, you may not have bought well. Now you will. And it won't be terribly expensive. You'll run into sellers whose listings appeal to you. If they are on eBay you'll bookmark them. If they are on ABE you'll begin to exchange emails and phone calls. At the very same time you are becoming knowledgeable you are also developing judgment about the quality of the sellers. By that time you are well launched. As a collector you will have become serious and the world of books will lie before you. In time you will begin to think about what, if you do this for twenty years, you'll do with this collection which is certainly going to become one of the best of its kind as you, along the way, become an expert in the field you have chosen to collect.
An Octavo membership covers MatchMaker and is $25 a month or $240 by the year. Its worth, in helping you build a focused and valuable collection, is priceless.