September 05, 2022
Hello, book lovers,
People frequently email or call me to ask if I have any books written by contemporary authors or have the latest greatest best seller in stock. Over time during these conversations, I have tried to define the term vintage antique, etc.. But I have found that the short and easy answer is the books I offer you online do not have a bar code. This explanation gets the point across quickly. But as usual, with any rule, there are exceptions. For example, Stephen King is one author I offer on Reading Vintage that has a bar code.
So there you have the short answer, no bar code equals vintage book. Keep reading for the long answer and the definitions of the terms that will help you navigate the vintage world easily.
The word "vintage" simply means "of age," making setting a specific age requirement more challenging. Many people believe vintage items are at least 20 years old.
Generally, something is considered vintage if it is between 20 and 99 years old. Many vintage things are more than just out-of-date. It can be challenging to pinpoint the exact date a piece was created. To be safe, we'll call it "vintage."
Items at least 20 years old are typically referred to as Retro (but not yet 40 years old).
How do you pinpoint the difference between vintage and Retro? Retro items do not have to be old; they can be brand new if made in the style of the time or object they are attempting to replicate. So, perhaps the best way to distinguish between Retro and vintage is to consider that vintage refers to the actual construction, whereas retro refers to the appearance.
Retro can also be defined as outdated or out of style, but everything seems to be back in fashion these days, right? Mom jeans, ugh! I wore those back in the 80s. Once was more than enough. But they are back in style.
While we're on the subject of all things old, I would be lax if I didn't define the term "mid-century," which refers to architecture, decor, and graphics from roughly 1933 to 1965.
Knowledge is power! If you are out shopping at flea markets, a vintage pop-up shop, or a large antique mall, it's good to understand what you are browsing when shopping for vintage books. For a more in-depth article, read my How To Determine The Value Of Your Vintage Book.
It's always good to pass along cherished titles and rare editions to family and friends, and collecting books is a long but satisfying process. After reading this article, hopefully, you will better understand how to identify vintage books.
Pam of Reading Vintage
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