Do you remember the moment you became a book collector? Not the moment you first started buying books, or even accumulating books, but that moment you dived into the deep end of bibliomania. For me it was the summer of 1984. I was 21 years old, freshly married and standing in the premises of Peter Stockham, a dealer in old children’s books in Cecil Court, London. My father had by then been collecting Robinson Crusoe for many years, and when I first began to travel on my own, I always liked to haunt secondhand bookshops looking for editions that might have previously eluded him. During college, I toyed with the idea of collecting myself and, not being too far removed from childhood I liked the idea of collecting children’s books. I had bought an early edition of The Wind In The Willows and a couple of ordinary editions of Alice in Wonderland, but I was hardly a collector. Then, in London on our honeymoon, my first wife and I had picked up two or three more Alices at bookshops in Bloomsbury and on Charing Cross Road. Collecting Alice seemed like it might be fun, but we weren’t exactly collecting. Yet. Then we asked Peter Stockham if he had any Alices and he disappeared into his basement only to return with two large boxes full of editions. It was time to fish or cut bait. Either we would buy the lot, or we would walk away empty-handed and find another hobby. We bought the lot, most for only a few pounds. And just like that we were book collectors. Years later I had dinner with Peter and another book collector and had the chance to thank him for giving me that opportunity to dive into the pool of bibliomania. I’ve been happily swimming there ever since. If you haven’t had your bibliophilic epiphany yet–come on in; the water’s fine!