Since my interests as an anthropologist and as a woodcarver have tended towards the maritime, you’d expect that my library would be heavily weighted to those interests, and you’d be right. However, I used library sales and second-hand booksellers to do this for less than a fortune. I could and should recite a panegyric to praise libraries and their book sales. And if you are interested in arts and crafts, you should also.
Here are two ways it works. Mr. Somewhere loves books on the sea and is one of the best patrons of the Quimby public library. So once in a while, they purchase his requests. They do this even though they are so far away from water that no one in town but Mr. Somwhere knows what an anchor is. Ten years go by, and the library is weeding, and someone notices that the book hasn’t been checked out in nine years. So it goes to the annual book sale where a used book dealer buys it.
Eventually, that well-curated collection of Mr. Somewhere downsizes as his family moves to a smaller home, and the personal library gets contributed to the annual book sale. A bonanza for the book dealer.
About two-thirds of my library comes from used books, library discards, sale items, and such. And it’s a nice collection. But, honestly, many of the titles were no longer available new because publishers keep lean inventories and do small publication runs.
There are some very reputable dealers for those who haven’t tried this approach. Among the ones I’ve used is Biblio.com. Thriftbooks.com, and of course Amazon. I don’t think there is any dispute that this is the most economical way to develop a collection of books for the craftsperson. So if your interests are tole painting, carving, egg decoration, or knitting, the searches at these sites are easy to do, and what you don’t find, you can put in requests for.