1/2 leather

Spine and corners of book are bound in leather.


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1/4 leather

Spine is bound in leather.


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12mo

Read: duodecimo, or twelvemo refers to the number of times a sheet was folded before being cut to form pages. Book stands about 7 inches tall.


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16mo

Read: sextodecimo, or sixteenmo, refers to the number of times a sheet was folded before being cut to form pages. Book stands about 6 inches tall. 1st ed.


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3/4 leather

Spine and large portions of boards are bound in leather.


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4to

Read: quarto, refers to the number of times a sheet was folded before being cut to form pages. Book stands about 12 inches tall (the size of an average art book).


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8vo

Read: octavo, refers to the number of times a sheet was folded before being cut to form pages. Book stands about 8 to 10 inches tall (the size of an average modern novel).


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AL

Autograph letter: a handwritten letter, usually by the author, and laid into the book by the previous owner.


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ALs

Autograph letter: a handwritten letter, signed, usually by the author, and laid into the book.


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Advance reading copy

An advance, prepublication copy of the book sent to reviewers and booksellers, usually bound in pictorial wrappers.


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All edges gilt

Edges of pages cut smooth and gilded to protect from dust.


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Binding

Cover of the book. See also: boards, wrappers, and cloth.


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Blindstamp

An impressed mark raising a pattern, decoration or lettering in the paper, made by a tool specifically for that reason.


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Bookplate

An ownership label, usually pasted on the front end papers.


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Calf

Leather made from the hide of a calf, the most common type of leather in bookbinding.


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Cloth

Binding consisting of cloth covered boards.


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Copyright page

The page following the title page, containing information about the various editions and copyrights.


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Covers

The binding of a book; see also, boards, wrappers, cloth, and leather.


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Damp stain

A stain resulting from light water or liquid damage, usually a shade lighter than the covers.


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Dos-a-dos

Two, usually slim, books bound together upside down and sharing the same spine.


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Edges

Usually refers to the outer edges of the leaves of a book.


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Edition

All books printed from the same type set.


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Endpaper

The paper at the beginning and end of the text, with one half pasted to the cover.


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Engraved title

A title page instead of, or in addition to the printed title page, usually with an elaborate design.


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Ephemera

Non-book material of transitory interest, usually pamphlets, programs, broadsides, etc.


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Ex-library

A term indicating the book once belonged to a library, often with stamps on the covers, on the text and on the plates.


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Ex-libris

A term meaning "from the library of" often used on bookplates.


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F
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First edition

A copy of the book from the first printing.


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First edition thus

The first edition in this form.


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First trade edition

The first edition printed for general sale.


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Folio

Refers to the number of times a sheet was folded before being cut to form pages. Book stands about 15 inches tall.


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Fore edge

The front edge of the book, opposite the spine.


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Foxing

Brown rusty looking spots to the leaves, caused by a chemical reaction, most commonly found in 19th century books.


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Frontispiece

An illustration placed at the beginning of the book, just before the title page.


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Full leather

Full leather binding.


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Gilt edges

Usually means all three edges of the text block have been cut smooth and gilded


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Glassine

A transparent dust jacket.


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Gutter

Inner margin.


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Half title

The page preceding the title page containing the title (often abbreviated).


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Headband

A decorative band placed into the head (and sometimes foot) of the spine and the leaves.


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Hinge

The part of the book where the cover meets the spine, usually referring to the inside of the book.


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Inscribed

Used to denote a book signed, usually by the author or artist, with a note to the recipient


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Joint

The area of the book where the spine meets the covers, usually referring to the outside of the book.


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Laid in

Paper or letter inserted, but not glued, into the book.


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Leaf

Refers to one sheet, consisting of two pages.


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Limited edition

A book with a rather small number of copies printed, often signed and numbered.


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Marbled

Paper decorated with a marble pattern, often used for endpapers or on boards.


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Modern first

First editions of books published in the 20th century.


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Morocco

Leather made from goat hides.


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No date

Used to denote a book with no publication date listed.


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No place/no publisher

Used to denote a book with no place of publication or publisher listed.


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Offset, offsetting

The transfer of ink from one printed sheet to another, or oxidation from something that was placed in the book.


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Orig.

Original, as in original printing, binding, edition, etc.


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Page

One side of a leaf.


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Paste down

The half of the endpaper pasted down to the inside of the cover.


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Plates

Whole page illustrations printed on separate paper and usually inserted to the text during binding.


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Presentation copy

A copy of a book presented by the author, often around publication date.


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Price clipped

Price has been clipped off the dust jacket flap.


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Private press

A small press, usually printing limited numbers of quality copies.


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Private printing

Refers to a book printed by an individual or small group of people, usually not intended for public sale.


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Proof

A pre publication copy of the book for the use of editors and reviewers, usually bound in plain printed wrappers.


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Pub.

Publisher, published.


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Publication material

Material (photographs and author bios) provided by the publishers for reviewers and book sellers, often laid into the book.


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Rebacked

Spine has been replaced and hinges mended. Sometimes the original spine is saved and pasted over the new material.


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Recto

The front side of a leaf; the right hand page of an open book.


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Remainder mark

When a publisher sells remainders, the bottoms of the books are often marked with a stamp, marker, or spray paint.


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Review copy

A copy of the book given to a reviewer prior to publication and containing a review slip or publication material.


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Review slip

An announcement of the date and price of publication.


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Rubbing

Wear from general use that slightly fades and frays the book.


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Shaken

Book with signatures or leaves loose but still attached to binding.


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Signature

The group of leaves formed from folding a single printed sheet and cutting, groups of signatures are sewn together to form a book.


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Slipcase

A box with one open side, usually bound in paper, cloth, or leather that a book slides into for protection.


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Text block

All the pages between the covers.


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Tipped in

Refers to a method of inserting plates, leaves, or illustrations, by which each corner is glued down with small amounts of gum, paste or glue.


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Title page

The page near the beginning of the book bearing the full title, author, editor, and usually publisher, and place of publication. The information on this page is used for cataloging purposes.


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Top edge gilt

Top edge of the book has been coated in gilt.


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Trade edition

Regularly published edition, distinguishable from a limited edition.


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Typed letter signed

Typed letter, signed by the writer.


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Unbound

Indicates that the volume was never bound.


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Uncut

Edges of the leaves have not been evenly trimmed.


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Unopened

The signatures of the book have not been cut and the folds of the original sheet remain intact. Folds must be cut open manually before they can be read.


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Variant

A book that is distinguishable from others of the same printing by one or more aspects.


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Vellum

Specially treated sheet of thin calfskin used for binding.


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Verso

The back side of a leaf (the left hand side of an open book).


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Vol.

Volume, tome.


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W.a.f.

With all faults. Book is quite damaged, often missing leaves or plates, condition is taken into account when pricing.


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Water stained

Discoloration and sometimes slight wrinkling, bowing or shrinking of the leaves or binding due to exposure to liquid.


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Wrappers

The outer covers of a book bound in paper, soft cover.


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Yapp edges

The edges of a book bound in paper that extends beyond the text block, often bending around it.


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d.j (dust jacket)

The paper cover placed around most modern books to protect the binding, and showcase the book.


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f.e.p.

Front endpaper


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f.f.e.p.

Front free endpaper


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f.p.d.

Front paste down


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New  

New, unread, unused and in excellent condition with no missing or damaged pages.


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Rare  

There is no single rule that determines whether a book is "rare." Rare books must be relatively hard to find and have collectable value. Merely being old or out of print does not make a book "rare". There are a variety of factors that make a book collectable. Some books are collected for their binding, while others for the presence of the artist's or author's signature. Often only the first edition of a particular title is collected. Many books are sought because the information or art contained in them cannot be found elsewhere.


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Used  

These are quality reading copies in good to very good condition. There might be an occasional marking, like a previous owner's name, but no underlining or significant damage to pages or binding.


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As New

A brand-new, unused, unread copy in perfect condition.


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Fair

A book showing significant wear.


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Fine

A book with little to no defects but with some minor shelf wear.


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Good

A copy that has been read, but remains in clean condition. All pages are intact, and the cover is intact. Dust jacket, if present, will be intact. The spine may show signs of wear. Pages can include limited notes and highlighting, and the copy can include "From the library of" labels.


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Like New

An apparently unread copy in wonderful condition. Dust cover,when available, is intact; pages are clean and are not marred by notes or folds of any kind. Suitable for presenting as a gift.


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Near fine

A book showing some signs of having been read. Any defects should be noted.


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Poor

A very worn copy, with contents possibly loose, but complete.


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Very fine

A book very close to as new, but not as clean and bright.


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Very good

A copy that has been read, but remains in excellent condition. Pages are intact and are not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine remains undamaged.


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