What follows is a glossary of terms that we use when grading or describing a book. Its our shorthand code that tells about its defects and other information.
You may see these terms in the description of books we have found in response to your request.
We also ask that you try to use these terms in any descriptions of books for us to consider in trade. Specifically 1st Editions and Rare books.
- ARC - Advance Reader's Copy. A paperback edition of a book, put out before the trade edition for publicity.
- association copy - a book inscribed by the author to another famous person. It can also mean a copy which has been owned or given (often autographed) by a famous or important person.
- autograph - the signature of an important or famous person. Often they are accompanied by an endearment such as, "best wishes from ...". Unless it is also an association copy a plain autograph is more desirable than something like " To Karen, best wishes from ...".
- boards - the stiff part of a books bindings, the front and back covers.
- bookplates - preprinted art labels showing ownership. We do not feel that good condition nice bookplates detract from desirability. Mailing address labels do.
- chapbook - a small book, often in pamphlet size.
- chip, chipped - a small piece of the dust jacket or paper binding missing. Very common in comics and magazines formats.
- colophon - the last page of a book, stating the printing and type information. In the past many publishers have used this page for copyright information.
- dust jacket (DJ) - the decorative paper covering or protective wrap.
- ephemera - non-book items by or about (related to) an author. Promotional items and other non-book items having relation to a book or it's author.
- flyleaf - or free endpaper. The first loose page in a book, often a decorative color or paper.
- fore-edge - the front edge of the book where it opens.
- foxed, foxing - a chemical reaction (aging) that can cause spots on a book's pages to brown. Foxing looks like an animal has run across the page with dirty paws.
- half title (bastard title) - a page, set before the title page, with only the title of the book printed on it.
- headband - the small strip of cloth reinforcement at the top of the spine.
- hinge (gutter) - where the binding meets with the flyleaf.
- hinged - when the hinge of the book begins to loosen or break apart.
- filler copy - a book in good condition, but not the quality for investment. Often called a reader copy they are good for reading or filling in a spot in a collection until a better copy comes along.
- first paperback edition (first paperback printing) - books issued after the hardcover edition (or issued in a pulp or digest).
- first edition thus - a book that may be (1) a collection of short stories that have never before appeared together in book form; (2) a retitled book by its original publisher or a new company; or (3) a reissue of the original book text with new cover art.
- first printing - the number of books originally printed. If these are all sold out than the publisher will print a second printing, etc. All things being equal later printings are worth much less than the first.
- lam lift (or peel) - refers to the clear film bonded to the color image on many early paperbacks. When the book ages or are rubbed this lamination begins to peel back at the edges.
- leaves - pages of the book.
- number line - a means of telling the edition. Most common is that which occurs on the copyright page and reads "1234567890". The lowest number indicates the edition.
- OP - out of print
- paste-down - the paper covering glued to the boards on the inside of the book, when opened it is on the left side; to the right is the flyleaf.
- point - a difference between different editions of the same book.
- price clip - when the printed price has been cut off the dust jacket.
- proofs - an early stage in production. Changes have often been made to the typescript, the manuscript has been typeset; but it is not the final version of the book. Often proofs are bound in regular paper like a school report or movie script.
- reader copy - a copy of the book in good condition but has no true investment value. Often Hardbacks missing their dust jackets are called reader copies. These are good solid books that you do not have to fear damaging by reading. If you have a valuable book you should always try and pick up a reader copy to use.
- remainder - a book which has been returned to the publisher unsold. Most often marked on the edge to denote being returned.
- rolled - when the spine is out of alignment, leaning askew toward one side or the other.
- signature - a gathering of pages.
- spine - the back edge of a book. It is the edge seen when the book is put on a shelf.
- state - an edition may have multiple states. What determines the states are points (differences in the text or appearance of the book).
- sticker pull (SP) - discoloration or actual removal of cover color caused by pulling off a price sticker.
- store stamp (SS) - these are stamps which give the name & address of a store. Normally they will appear on endpapers or edges. Very common on used paperbacks.
- strips (or stripped book) - when printed material has had all or part of it's cover removed. This signifies that the work was reported unsold and destroyed. It is not legal to sell these as the author & publisher's have never been paid for them. They are legally stolen.
- tape repairs - when ever tape has been used to repair or reinforce part of a book or dust jacket.
- trade edition - the trade edition is the standard edition of the book. Often it is smaller than the 1st Edition.
- trade paperback - a trade paperback is a large size paperback.
- warping - the book is misshapen. This can occur from misbinding, poor storage or handling and of course from water/sun damage.
- wrappers - paper covers, as opposed to a board. dealer catalogues usually describe paperbacks as "in wrappers".
- writing - may be on the covers, spine, or interior made by any stylis. This may also refer to obliteration of the original cover price as well as rewritten cover prices, owner's signatures and/or underling.