Books about vinyl records

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So here we are. Books about vinyl records. It might be obvious but any book about vinyl records is probably also going to cover the artists too. Or cover artists or record labels or the creative and recording process. It might offer insights into record shops or even advice on how to care for your precious vinyl.

I suppose my point is that there’s so much more to vinyl records than vinyl records. Let’s jump straight in.

Why Vinyl Matters: A Manifesto from Musicians and Fans

Author Jennifer Otter Bickerdike is a stalwart of the music industry. She has worked within the industry as a marketing director and also devising marketing and branding campaigns for artists as diverse as U2, Nirvana, and Gwen Stefani.

Raised in California, she relocated to London following the violent death of her friend Hunter McPherson. She completed a PhD in Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths’ College in London covering the fandom and mythology of Joy Division and Nirvana.

She is the published author of a range of books about Britney Spears, Nico and of course, Joy Division, Nirvana, Ian Curtis and Kurt Cobain.

cover of the book Why vinyl matters

This book, Why Vinyl Matters: A Manifesto From Musicians and Fans, features a series of twenty-five interviews with artists and fans from both sides of the Atlantic. From Fatboy Slim through Tim Burgess (The Charlatans) and Lars Ulrich (Metallica) to Henry Rollins, Hip-Hop pioneer Fab 5 Freddy, and author Nick Hornby (High Fidelity and About A Boy).

Each interview is augmented with photos, sidebars, quotes, album covers, outtakes and more. It is a must-have for anybody who has ever gone out and bought music on vinyl.

Possibly as a result of Otter Bickerdike’s relocation to the UK, some American readers do find that certain of the interviewees are perhaps a little too Brit-centric for their tastes.

Dust and Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting

Photographer Eilon Paz, an Israeli living in Brooklyn, is a photographer with a passion for vinyl records. He has travelled the globe in search of people and their vinyl record collections. This soon became a website, Then, in 2012, Paz travelled to the US heartlands in search of collectors and collections to document.

The book of the website, Dust and Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting, consists of more than a hundred and thirty compelling photographic essays and interviews illustrating what motivates record collectors to keep digging for more records.

The reader is offered a close and personal look at a variety of well-known vinyl champions, including Gilles Peterson and King Britt along with the collections of known and unknown DJs, producers, record dealers, and everyday enthusiasts. It is Paz’s own love for vinyl records which ultimately fueled his five-year journey to find the beating heart of the vinyl community.

Reviews are generally positive. Readers confirm that it is a great book for lovers of music and vinyl in particular. It is also suggested as a great gift for the vinyl devotee in your life.

Vinyl Junkies: Adventures in Record Collecting

Brett Milano is a Boston MA based music journalist, music critic and author. He is perhaps best known for his biography of Scott Miller, the leader of the 1980s band Group Theory.

Vinyl Junkies: Adventures in Record Collecting is a deep dive into piles of old vinyl to uncover the subculture of record collecting. Milano defines a vinyl junkie as a person who will travel over 3,000 miles to hear a rare B-side by a German band that has only recorded two songs since 1962.

They are the people who own every copy of every record produced by their favourite artist, from every pressing and printing in existence. They are the people who love that black plastic more than anything else in their lives. There are other media upon which music is released into the wild, but vinyl is everything to them.

Like Paz, Milano’s work involved him travelling the U.S., in his case on a quest to find those die-hard and fanatical collectors who epitomize the term vinyl junkie.

The book includes interviews with celebrity vinyl junkies such as Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, Peter Buck from R.E.M and Robert Crumb, creator of the Fritz the Cat
comic strip.

Readers found the book to be an excellent opportunity for their own reminiscences of record collecting as they read through the interviews. Having vast collections of their own, it obviously struck a chord with them.

Vinyl: The Art of Making Records

Mike Evans is a prolific author in the rock and roll genre. He has authored books on Paul McCartney and The Beatles, on Elvis and Neil Young, Ray Charles and Fleetwood Mac.

In Vinyl: The Art of Making Records, Evans paints a picture of the history of vinyl, from its origins to its swaggering rebirth. Beginning with 78 rpm shellac records and progressing to the twin titans 7-inch 45 rpm records and 33⅓ rpm LPs, he showcases the development from shellac to vinyl.

Not only does he investigate the history of vinyl, detailed in meticulous detail, but Evans also covers the whole process of manufacturing a vinyl record.

He highlights messages in the Dead-Wax or Run-Out, as if written by a ghost, but actually etched by the mastering engineer. He shows us picture discs, coloured vinyl and sumptuous reissues.

Then we have examples of cover artwork which includes amongst many others, examples of work by Tony Meeuwissen (Their Satanic Majesties Request – The Rolling Stones), Hipgnosis (Pink Floyd’s Atom Heart Mother), Peter Saville, and Roger Dean. The book also includes histories of leading labels such as Atlantic, Def Jam, Motown, Verve, Decca, and more.

Reviewers found the book to be “All about the vinyl,” “perfect[ly] illustrated,” and “the steal of the year for those interested.”

Finally, for now, we have Tim Book Two: Vinyl Adventures from Istanbul to San Francisco

Written by Tim Burgess, lead singer of The Charlatans (UK) Tim Book Two: Vinyl Adventures from Istanbul to San Francisco details Tim’s lifelong passion for records (a collector since 1975, he has 3,000 of them), the shops that sell them, and the people who make them.

In writing the book, a follow-up to his memoir Telling Stories, Burgess chose a different approach than writing it as a second episode of the original. Instead, he came up with a list of characters, from Iggy Pop and Johnny Marr to David Lynch and Cosey Fanni Tutti. They were approached with texts, phone calls, emails and handwritten notes. He asked them to suggest an album for him to track down on his travels from Istanbul to San Francisco.

As he travelled, from record store to record store, he was able to witness, not only how record shops were able to survive in the digital era, but also the vinyl revival. The final product tells the stories of each person’s record choice and Burgess’s own response to them. By all accounts, it is “a tender, funny and surprising story.”

One reader said that upon finishing the book, he felt “a sudden desire to get to a record [store].” Another reported that the book represents “a must-read for any serious record collector, or the vinyl obsessed.” In The Irish Times, writer Tony Clayton-Lea described the book as an “eclectic blast from start to finish… as it takes us on Burgess’s titular worldwide trek.”

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4 thoughts on “Books about vinyl records”

  1. I’m thrilled to come across your list of books about vinyl records! It’s a niche interest of mine, and I’m always on the lookout for insightful reads. Have you personally read any of these books? I’d love to hear your recommendations or any particular book that left a lasting impression on you. Additionally, do you think there are any noteworthy titles missing from this list that enthusiasts like us shouldn’t overlook?

    Your descriptions provide a great overview of each book’s focus and style. I appreciate how you’ve included a mix of historical accounts and practical guides. It caters to a wide range of readers within the vinyl community. I’m particularly intrigued by “Last Shop Standing” – it sounds like it offers a unique perspective on the vinyl industry. Thank you for curating this list, it’s a treasure trove for vinyl enthusiasts and bookworms alike!

    • Hi, and thanks for your comment. I must confess that haven’t managed to get around the reading any of these books yet. Although, the Tim Burgess one is on my Christmas list.

      Perhaps my favourite book about music and records is Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity. You may have seen the film with Jack Black, Lisa Bonet and John Cusack amongst others. The book is set in London whilst the film has the record store relocated to Chicago. The relocation apart, Nick Hornby was very complimentary about how faithful the film was to the book.

      I loved High Fidelity because it chimed a great deal with me as a twenty-something bachelor, slightly afraid of commitment, much like Rob in the storyline.

      Thanks, Simon 😉

  2. Hey a great post you have here!

    The use of Vinyls have now sadly declined quite drastically due to the addition of new inventions and technology increasing. This website however keeps that memory alive and its good to see it is still available somewhere.

    The author Jennifer which you have talked about here seems like she is a well respected author especially if she has worked with the likes of Britney and Gwen stefani and the likes.

    Anyways thanks again and have a great day!

    • Thank you for your comment. Books and music (and football) are pretty much my favourite things, so I really enjoyed writing this article.

      Of course, there are loads and loads of books on music, so I can write any number of articles on the subject 😉

      I think that all of the authors mentioned have a good reputation within the music industry, so their output is well-sourced, first-hand stuff. Tim Burgess is a singer in a band that I like a lot so he is especially well placed to offer insights.



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