Raven Picks - Our Favorite Links and Resources


Scroll down to find these sections:


    • I. About Books and Book Collecting  
    • II. Book Care, Preservation and Conservation 
    • III. Orchid Books, Succulents, Carnivorous Plants, Miniature Gardening, Fairy Gardening, Mosses and Other Resources for Specialty Gardeners 
    • IV. Small Independent Online Booksellers and the Neighborhood Chrislands Bookstores 
    • V. Good Causes - Recycle, Upcycle, Share and Donate Books



I. About Books and Book Collecting


Collecting Books:


At these sites may be found a wealth of information and resources about books: guides and suggestions for buying, selling and collecting books, identifying first editions, identifying book club editions, author signatures, book search sites, blogs and networking links and other up-to-date "tools of the trade":


Books and Book Collecting offers an amazing collection of sources and information about all things book related. Steve Trussel's site is a classic "must-have" bookmark, as is Glen Larson's "Guide to First Editions" site, which is no longer accessible in its original incarnation. Additional reference material for collectors and book lovers may be found at BookThink.com and at IOBA, the Independent Online Booksellers Association. The  ABAA website has a special page of book collecting links.  Sheppard's Confidential compiles yet more resources and information for book people, in both website and email newsletter forms which feature news, insightful commentary and events for dealers and collectors of secondhand and antiquarian books, ephemera, prints and maps. In addition to news and press releases, Sheppard's provides access to dealer catalogs, auctions, book fairs and festivals, internet directories and a list of available references and "books about books". For finding book sales in your area, BookSaleFinder is a sure bet. Fine Books & Collections magazine and website offers much to book lovers and collectors, including a free e-letter, featured articles, information on special events, and the Gently Mad Blog by Nicholas Basbanes, Fine Books Blog . Another blog site hosting a wealth of informative articles and links to more resources for building your personal collection can be found at The Private Library. The monthly e-zine Biblio Unbound  at Biblio.com features a full spectrum of articles on book collecting, as well as aspects of cleaning, repairing, protecting and storage of collectible books and ephemera. An article by Bern Marcowitz and Margot Rosenberg, authors of "The Care and Feeding of Books Old and New" focuses on paperback preservation, and includes "ten book lovers commandments" , applicable to books of all bindings and paper components.


Autographs and Signatures:


The Author Signatures & Illustrator Signatures section at Purple House Press features an impressive list of author and illustrator signatures for your reference. Jill Morgan has created Purple House Press and is in the process of reprinting formerly out-of-print, hard- to-find books for children (and their parents!). More autograph lists are available for your perusal at Books Tell You Why and Tomfolio .


Biblio-ephemera (or, stuff between the pages):


I think almost all  of us have at one time or another come across assorted flattened curiosities tucked between the pages of books we are reading. Now you can share your discoveries with others in cyberspace if you'd like, or just browse through what others have found. Things Found in Books  contains a gallery of such place-marking oddities and mementos. A blog and e-journal at Bibliophemera focuses on topics about ephemera related to books and their owners such as bookmarks, receipts, bookplates, letters, theatre tickets and the like, with a selection of links for related reading. Do you like to collect unusual, thematic or vintage bookmarks? An engrossing reference site and showcase for all kinds of bookmarks is on exhibit at Mirage Bookmark. An extensive and impressive collection of "bookseller tickets" and trade labels is displayed at Seven Roads . Fine Books Magazine also features an article on bookbinder's tickets and bookseller labels. If you are interested in maps, prints, history and cartography, the collector's page at the International Antiquarian Mapsellers Association is worth a visit. To expand the horizons of your collecting bug even further, a visit to the website of The Collectors Weekly will provide plenty of food for thought.


Fine Bindings and the Art of Books:


 The Bone Folder is an e-journal for bookbinders, book artists and enthusiasts of the craft. The University of Alabama hosts Publishers Bindings Online where you can search the collection, browse the galleries, read essays and avail yourself of the bibliographic resources, teaching and research tools. The University of Rochester Rare Books and Special Collections Department features an exhibit Beauty for Commerce: Publishers' Bindings 1830-1910 .


Displaying Your Special Collections:


Quality crafted pine and mahogany bookstands are available at The Bookstand.


Collection exhibit supplies, mount construction materials, book stands and supports can be found at  BenchmarkCatalog. Supplies available include book mounts, poly strap, padding, pinning, fabric, tools and an assortment of hardware.

Custom book boxes by Jim Arner at https://www.montanabindery.com

 Handcrafted, custom slip cases, clam-shell boxes (also known as drop-spine, or Solander, boxes), and two-piece boxes, built to house and protect your valuable books, manuscripts, maps, family records, photographs, fine art prints, etc. Boxes are constructed of heavy duty, archival quality book-binder's board, then covered with paper, or cloth, in colors that will complement the items. Paper can range from plain art paper to elaborate marbled paper, and a wide variety of fabrics can be used for the covering. Various leathers also available as covering material.



II. Book Care, Preservation and Conservation


Book Conservation Techniques:


http://palimpsest.stanford.edu/  Courtesy of CoOL, Conservation On-Line. A project of the Preservation Department of Stanford University Libraries, you can find a full text library of conservation information for all kinds of book and paper conservation issues including mold, mildew, fungi, biological pests, etc. Compiled for professional conservators, there is also much useful information of interest to book collectors.


Handling and Storage of Books:


http://www.loc.gov/preserv/care/books.html  Tips on book preservation courtesy of The Library of Congress.


Northeast Document Conservation Center is a private non-profit regional conservation center whose mission is to improve the preservation programs of libraries, archives, museums, and other historical and cultural organizations as well as to provide quality conservation services to institutions that cannot afford in-house conservation facilities or that require specialized expertise; and to provide leadership to the preservation field. The Center provides preservation microfilming, and education and consulting services as well as conservation treatment.



Everyday Care of Your Old Books:


The advice below is courtesy of retired book conservator Carol Pratt:



    • The paper and stitching of the book are old - as old as the book itself, and they are not able to tolerate the kind of casual exercise we normally give to books. Avoid opening the volume to a fully flattened position. Instead open the covers no further than 120 degrees (less is better) and support them with your hands or with some mechanical means, such as bricks, which have been wrapped in clean Kraft or other paper. A book cradle, if you have one, is ideal. Do not place any weight on the book when it is open.


    • Turn the pages carefully to avoid breaking or tearing the edges.


    • Do not use the pages of the book to flatten and dry plant materials or to safeguard locks of hair or other mementos. These items are probably very acid, possibly dirty, and plants introduce moisture. Moreover, placing these foreign materials into the pages puts strain on the spine and its stitching, something to be avoided.


    • Keep the volume in a room that is likely to be moderate in temperature and humidity. Do not place it in an unheated space such as an attic or a basement, and do not leave it exposed to sunlight. Swings in temperature and humidity will cause rapid deterioration and irreversible damage to all parts of the book. Protect the book from dust if you can, if it is displayed, by dusting carefully with a gentle vacuum suction or with a "Magnetic" dust cloth of the kind used to clean computer monitors. If not displayed, a wrapping of well-washed clean cotton sheeting can hardly be improved on.


    • Shelve a large book on its side - DO NOT place oversize volumes upright on a bookshelf.


    • The book wants to be treated with deference for its age - not too hot, not too cold, not damp, not too dry. Handle it gently and with respect. It has seen many years and should endure many more.



Archival Products:


The webstores at Talas , Hollinger, Conservation Resources International  and Light Impressions specialize in archival products to help repair, preserve, protect and display books, photographs, documents and ephemera. Demco/Highsmith and Brodart also are very good sources for conservation and preservation supplies.





 Orchids, Carnivorous Plants, Moss Gardening, Miniature Gardening and Other Resources for Botanists and Specialty Gardeners



In response to popular demand, we try to maintain a varied, current and informative selection of new, used, out-of-print and hard to find books about orchids and orchid culture (just search by keyword: orchid or orchids). 

We are very happy to distribute these special titles on orchid seed propagation techniques:

"Asymbiotic Technique of Orchid Seed Germination" by A. J. Hicks is back in stock in the form of a newly updated and expanded Second Edition, with an entire chapter on symbiotic germination by Scott Stewart.

"The Orchid Seed Germination Manual" by the same author, is also available for purchase at Ravenroost Books and covers much of the same core material in a more concise spiral format.

"Orchid Seed Germination Media. A Compendium of Formulations" By A.J. Hicks, edited by K. Lynn. An authoritative reference containing of over 130 recipes and formulations for growing orchid seeds in vitro.

More sources and information about orchids and orchid culture may be found at the author's site The Orchid Seedbank Project . OSP, founded in 1996, works towards the conservation of orchid species by seed. They archive and sell seeds and flasked seedlings of hundreds of orchid species, along with the materials and information needed to cultivate them.

Miniature Gardening:

Janit Calvo at twogreenthumbs.com  can help you turn your miniature gardening fantasies into magical reality. Author of  "Gardening in Miniature: Create Your Own Tiny Living World" and the newly released "Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop", Janit Calvo is an award-winning go-to guru for ideas and inspiration, along with a website to provide everything you need to design, build and maintain your mini-garden, fairy garden or terrarium. Choose plant varieties, pathway components and addictive miniature garden accessories to customize and accent your miniature landscapes both indoors and out. Janit and Steve take special care to process your orders promptly and carefully pack your plants and goodies to arrive in perfect condition.


Mosses and Moss Gardening:

Mosses play a special role in our garden landscapes and the ecology of our forests, whether carpeting a woodland floor or dappling a shade garden, garnishing our footpaths, flourishing as earth-friendly lawn space, or enriching our vertical or hanging gardens, miniature gardens, fairy gardens and terrariums. We stock several titles in this area, use search term moss or mosses.

From walkway dressing and tabletop terrariums tominiature gardens, fairy gardens, roofs, walls and mossy lawns, Moss Acres is your one stop source for moss growing education, large and small project ideas, supplies, moss sheets, moss "milkshakes", terrarium kits and companion ferns. 

The Carnivores:

If carnivorous plants are your passion, The International Carnivorous Plants Society is an organization of horticulturists, conservationists, scientists, and educators all interested in sharing knowledge and news of carnivorous plants. Since its founding in 1972, the Society has been an integral part of the carnivorous plant world. Their website is a good resource for carnivourous plant collectors. ICPS is an organization of horticulturists, conservationists, scientists and educators interested in sharing knowledge and news about carnivorous plants. Available are membership information, a newsletter, a seed bank and exchange as well as a web ring, searchable plant name database, FAQs and how-to's. 


Botanical Literature and Web Resources at the New York Botanical Gardens Library  Visit the LuEsther T. Mertz Library for botanical reference, and the bookshop for New York Botanical Gardens Press titles in print. The LuEsther T. Mertz Library is one of the world's largest and respected of botanical and horticultural research libraries, with over one million accessioned items including books, journals, original art and illustration, seed and nursery catalogs, architectural plans of glass houses, scientific reprints, and photographs. Its diverse collections hold irreplaceable materials that date back to the 12th century, as well as electronic resources such as e-journals and searchable research databases.

Plant Information Online, a free search service courtesy of the University of Minnesota Librairies, provides access to sources of locate plant information by plant name (scientific or common name), selected and book and magazine citations to plant information and plant images, and even a search for mail-order retail and wholesale plant nursery locations (USA and Canada). Section of search tips is also provided.

The Seed Site displays a catalog of images of seedpods, seeds and seedlings, arranged alphabetically by scientific name, a very handy resource for seed savers.



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Good Causes-Recycle, Share and Donate

Operation Paperback




Recycle your paperbacks and provide reading for our troops. OP is a grassroots organization of family and friends who collect gently used paperback books and send them to our American military troops deployed around the world.