Penzler Pick, January 2001: Collecting is one of life's great pursuits. It can't be explained to those who don't collect, and it can't be ignored or abandoned by those who do. One should never confuse readers with book collectors. While they certainly overlap (I've never known a book collector who didn't read), they aren't always interested in the same thing. A reader wants the text, while a collector wants (usually) a first edition and cares about such things as the condition of the book and the dust jacket.
One of the great mistakes that beginning collectors make is rushing out to buy as much as they can on an author or subject without learning enough. The single greatest tool for a collector is a bibliography. A checklist is useful for readers because it lists all books by an author, for example, or about a subject. A bibliography, on the other hand, describes each book and enables the collector to determine if a certain volume is indeed a first edition.
This bibliography of Doyle by Green and Gibson is the finest example of bibliographical scholarship I have ever encountered--not just about Doyle, but about any author of the past 150 years. Originally published by Oxford University Press in 1984, it went out of print within a few years. Every library, bookseller, and collector of Doyle had to have a copy, so they soon disappeared. Demand became so great for this superb tome that one copy showed up in a book dealer's catalogue for $1,500.
Hudson House (full disclosure: I am one of the three booksellers who formed this company specifically to reproduce this book) has now reprinted the bibliography to meet the demand, including minor corrections and updates from the authors. Here, in more than 700 densely packed pages, are full descriptions and lists of every book, contribution to a book, magazine and newspaper appearance, play, and even sheet music. In most cases, there is even an exact report of the number of copies of each book printed as well as interesting anecdotal information about certain titles. If you have ever wanted to collect Sherlock Holmes, Professor Challenger, or any of Doyle's other works, this is the one indispensable volume that belongs on your shelf before you buy your first first edition. --Otto Penzler