Do you keep all your books in one place, or have them scattered through out the house? I have bookshelves or bookcases in every room in the house. Decorating books are in the guest room, craft books are in the craft room, recent fiction is in the living room, the bedroom has overflow books from the living room because I seem to be able to buy books faster than read them...and this cabinet in the front hall has (mostly) my antique reference books.
I've been selling on and off on Ebay for twelve years, and some of these books have been invaluable in telling me just exactly what I have- identifying glassware and flatware patterns or finding the name or maker of tableware.
Antique And Collectible Buttons by Debra Wisniewski has pictures of thousands of buttons. In all my hours of sorting hundreds of pounds of buttons, I don't think I've ever run across a button that isn't in this book.
Another book that I can look through over and over again is Costume Jewelry (DK Collector's Guides) by Judith Miller.
Besides having beautiful pictures and a great index of maker's marks, this book has helped me to have a better "jewelry vocabulary". Instead of describing a pin as "curvy with shiny green things", I can say "C-scroll pin with green lava stones and aurora borealis crystal rhinestones set in silver-plated metal".
It's also helped me identify smaller genres of jewelry collecting like
If you read my blog often, you probably know I have a soft spot for old children's books. Collector's Guide to Children's Books, 1850-1950: Identification & Values, Vol. 2 by Diane McClure Jones has charming pictures.
Along the same lines, another book I can page through and enjoy over and over is a Collector's Encyclopedia of Children's Dishes. an Illustrated Value Guide by Margaret and Kenn Whitmyer.
For me, these books are kind of like the old Sears Christmas catalog that I'd go through over and over, making lists of what I wanted. These are just four of my favorite "browsing" books. I guess with the amount of time I spend looking at antique guides, it's not surprising the bedroom has overflow books that I've not gotten around to reading. I'm just too busy "armchair junking".