Buying Books

My quilt guild is fairly large with around 150 members, and it has a large library of quilt-related books and materials. Though the local public libraries also have collections, the guild library boasts far more with more than 300 items. Primarily books, the collection also includes stencils and a few videos.

The books mostly include the expected, pattern and technique books for traditional pieced and appliqued, block-style quilts. Members use the collection for inspiration and instruction, as well as for specific patterns.

I’m on the library committee again this year. In February I’ll take inventory. In April, May, and June we’ll sell books that haven’t been checked out in several years. And all year long I buy new books to add to the library!

Besides the guild library, I’ve amassed a small library of my own over the years. It would be a good idea to go through and catalog them. If nothing else, this would give me a record for insurance purposes. Right now I can only estimate I have about 100 titles. For myself I buy cheap, almost always used or discounted. A lot of them come as low as $2 each, when I buy them through our guild sales. And I ask for books as presents, too.

[Note: on 8/5 I started making this inventory of my own library.]


Where do you buy books?

Ideally we would all buy books at our locally owned book stores. Most of them won’t carry a large selection of quilting books in stock. A lot of quilt shops have a variety of books, also. But they might not be the books that will spark our interest. The truth is, we do buy books online, both for convenience and pricing.

Most of the guild library books were purchased using my membership with AQS, American Quilter’s Society. The annual membership fee included a discount for AQS show entry, a bimonthly magazine, book discounts, and other benefits. With the purchase of six or more books, I received a discount of 30% off the list price.

Another great source for books, which does not require membership and often sells AQS publications, is Connecting Threads. This site sells fabric and notions as well as books. One of the things I like about their bookstore is the ability to look “inside” the books, as well as to read summaries of the contents.

I acquired many of my own books at consignment, second-hand, and thrift stores, as well as my guild’s occasional auction. I always look when I am in these stores; you never know what you’ll find.

Do you have favorite books or bookstores for your quilting adventures? Are there “best” books for learning techniques or processes, for learning color theory or design? Share with us!

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4 thoughts on “Buying Books

  1. Kathleen C

    Like you, most of my books are second hand from used book stores, tag sales and library used book sales. Years ago I started my ‘collection’ of books by shopping at Joann Fabrics with coupons. I like browsing the site called hamiltonbooks.com for like new-used books, in the Needlecraft section. I don’t know if I can pick a favorite book anymore–I’ve learned something from all of them, and I continue to go through older books for inspiration and information. And sometimes I get quilting books on interlibrary loan from my library.

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    1. Melanie in IA Post author

      I’ve bought several used books online and haven’t had problems with that either. As to favorites, I have a few I’d grab for first if needed! But yeah, if it’s in my collection, I’m still getting good out of it. When that stops, the book goes away.

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

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  2. Nann

    Alibris.com represents hundreds of used-book dealers. One search can provide several suppliers from whom to choose. That’s how I completed my collection of Kaffe Fassett books. The library (where I work) no longer provides the staff privilege of ordering books from the library jobber (45% discount and no sales tax!) for a number of reasons — that was my chief way to purchase new books. I’ve use the Yahoo Groups Quilters’ Flea Market and Fling-it-All to both buy and sell quilt books. There is a Tuesday Morning store nearby–a couple of months ago I stopped in on a sale weekend. They had a shelf full of publisher’s overstocks and I got 9 quilt books for about $25! I also check thrift shops (not many quilt books, but you never know) and I go to estate and garage sales.

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    1. Melanie in IA Post author

      It’s fun to find a treasure in an unexpected place, and it isn’t always obvious what’s a treasure and what isn’t! The other day I bought a book on textile design from 1967. Likely I’ll never use the majority of the book, sections on dying and other transformations of cloth. But the first 3 chapters are on design principles and history. The book was at a used book store, which sometimes has a lot of quilting books and sometimes (this time) few. But it was $3.50, cheap enough for me to add and enjoy. And if later I decide I don’t want it, it won’t hurt to get rid of it.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I’m always glad to see you!

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