Chemistry books help explain the world around us, from the interactions between baking soda and vinegar in the kitchen to the chemical reactions that take place deep inside the leaves of plants. Those who study chemistry, whether for school and college courses, or as an interesting hobby, know that this topic is often called central science because it has links to the natural sciences of geography, biology, and physics. Collectible chemistry books are sought-after because many older texts are incredibly rare and other books demonstrate how the topic and the scientific method have changed throughout the years.

Robert Boyle (1627-1691) is credited with writing one of the first chemistry books, The Sceptical Chymist. It was followed by the work of Antoine Lavoisier (1743-1794), whose chemistry book Elements of Chemistry broke new ground and defined the Law of the Conservation of Mass. Other vintage chemistry books include Linus Pauling's The Nature of the Chemical Bond, published in 1939; Pauling was a pioneer in the field, and his explanations of chemical bonding help the reader understand a sometimes difficult topic. 

If you want to buy chemistry books, you should begin with classics to get a deeper understanding of the topic. Chemical Publications, Their Nature and Use by M. G. Mellon has been such an influential work that it has gone through five editions since its initial publication in 1924. For collectors looking for a modern understanding of the subject, nonfiction chemistry books include James Keeler's Why Chemical Reactions Happen, which takes the reader on a brisk tour of important ideas in chemistry, such as entropy and quantum mechanics, to explain the fundamentals of reactions. Peter Atkins's What is Chemistry? presents chemistry concepts in context by relating them to modern life.

Niche chemistry books like Sam Kean's The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements marry interesting stories from the past with the dynamic principles of science. National Book Award finalist Radioactive: Marie Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout by Lauren Redniss approaches the subject of radioactivity through its beginnings in a human relationship. Although much has changed, including the discovery of new elements and new Laws, it's interesting to see how much of the content in these early texts remains relevant today.