My copy of Channing (The Complete Works of William Ellery Channing with an Introduction, New and Complete Edition, Rearranged, to Which is Added The Perfect Life) is in bad shape. In fact it is held together by duct tape and prayer. Some time ago I bought a backup copy for the sad yet ineveitable day when my "working" Channing becomes unreadable but it sits in (I hope) long delayed anticipation.
I love old, used books though I am not a collector in the sense of caring much about editions, market value etc...When a "new" old book arrives from Alibris ( http://www.alibris.com/), my main source, I love to look for signatures, notes and underlines-all wonderful evidence that the book was once lovingly read, or given as a gift. I have books that have three different signatures, to which I have added my own to be found in another 100 years by someone who will, I hope, love them as much as I do.
I am relatively new to the world of computers and computer commerce having been a confirmed neo-luddite for several years. It is only about six years past since I first learned how to turn one on. So deeply ignorant of what I would find...I remember searching for information about Unitarians and expecting a paragraph or two! The first time I searched for the books that now are so deeply important to me, I found several copies (proabably at Alibris)...I was so excited by this that I immediatly told my wife that I must hurry and buy these books as it must be a rare and wonderful thing that they are up for sale and I was afraid they would all be snatched up. She (who had considerably more computer savvy than me) looked at me with that particular look and assured me that probably the copies would be safe from a mad rush of antique Unitarian book buying...
Channing, Clarke, Abbot, and so many more are now my constant companions on the Way and I thank God for this "rare and wonderful" gift. Blessings