An article in the books section of the November 25, 2011 issue of Wall Street Journal has some tips for beginning book collectors.
A good book to read for beginners is Book-Collecting as a Hobby – In a Series of Letters to Everyman, by P. H. Muir. Although it was published in 1947, Muir offers practical tips and advice that novice book collectors will wisely follow today. Copies can be found at used book sites such as www.bookfinder.com.
As a novice book collector myself, the best advice I can offer anyone is to find a single subject or author you are interested in collecting. There are many books published within a year, choosing a subject or author will help mitigate confusion.