Copy - A copy for reviewers and/or booksellers, usually bound
and usually with either the finished cover art or possibly trial cover
art. Generally, this copy is at it will appear in the stores and differs
from the Uncorrected Proof.
All Edges Gilt - The top, fore-edge and foot of the book are
coloured in gold.
Antiquarian Books - A loose term implying collectible books rather
than used books. Refers to old, rare, and out-of-print books.
Apocryphal - A work whose authenticity or authorship is in doubt.
Appendix - Additional or supplementary material generally found at
the end of a book.
As Issued - A term indicating a given book is in the same condition
as when originally published.
Association Copy - A book which belonged to or was annotated by the
author, someone close to the author, a famous or noteworthy person, or
someone especially associated with the content of the work. Should have
documentary evidence of its association, such as the author's bookplate.
As Usual - A favorite term to describe defects which probably occur
only on copies of the book the particular dealer handles, such as "lacks
endpapers, as usual".
Autographed Letter - A handwritten letter.
Autographed Letter, Signed - A handwritten letter signed by the
Autographed Manuscript, Signed - A manuscript all in the author's
- The covering of the book's spine.
Bastard Title - See Front Matter and Half-title.
Biblio - From the Greek; signifying or
pertaining to books.
Biblioclast - A destroyer of books.
Bibliognost - Having a deep knowledge
Biblioklept - A stealer of books.
Bibliomaniac - A bibliophile in whom
the love of books has become an obsession; many bookdealers
and certain collectors.
Bibliophile - A lover of books.
Bibliophobia - A fear of books.
Bibliopole - The people behind the booths
at the book fairs.
Binding - The cover of the book.
Binding Copy - A book which needs to be rebound and is worth rebinding.
Blind-stamping - [image] An impressed
mark, decoration, or lettering, not coloured or gilded, usually appearing
on the binding. One way that the Book Clubs have marked their editions
when they are otherwise identical to trade editions is to use a small
square, round, or sometimes leaf-shaped blind stamp in the bottom right
corner of the rear board.
Block Books - Books made around the mid 1400's in Germany and the Netherlands
in which pictures and explanatory text were printed from woodblocks.
Blurb - A comment from a review (often by another author praising the
particular book) printed on the dustwrapper
or covers of a proof copy, or on a wrap-around band.
Boards - [image] The
stiff binding material for most modern books.
Book Block - The entire book sewn together before it is bound.
Book Club Edition - [image]
A book usually printed especially for a book club such as "The Book
of the Month Club" or "The Literary Guild." These copies
will usually have the words "Book Club Edition" printed on the
bottom right corner of the front flap of the dustwrapper. Occasionally,
if the book club does not wish to do a separate edition they will have
a publisher blind stamp the rear board and print
a supply of dustwrappers without a price on the front flap and now without
the bar code data on the rear panel. Book Clubs are not solely an American
phenomenon as there have been numerous British Book Clubs over the years.
Book Label - A label indicating the ownership of a book. Generally
smaller than a Bookplate.
Bookplate - [image] A pasted-in sign
of ownership. Modern bookplates are pressure sensitive (peel-and-stick)
as opposed to the older bookplates which were made with water-activated
adhesive (lick-and-stick). Some bookplates from the last century were
quite elaborate with engravings.
Bound - A book with a cover of any type, or a periodical that
has a cover other than its published wraps.
Bowed - [image] A condition
of the covers or boards of a hard cover book. Bowed covers may turn inward
toward the leaves or outward away from the leaves. The condition generally
results from a rapid change in the level of moisture in the air and is
caused by different rates of expansion or contraction of the paste-down
and the outer material covering the board. Breaker - A person who
breaks up books to sell the plates individually, or the book itself when
the covers are so bad that it either has to be rebound or broken up.
Broadside - A single sheet of paper, usually printed on one side only.
Buckram - A heavy linen cloth used in book binding. It is often
starched or coated with some protective material.
Cancel - A tipped-in (i.e., pasted
in) page to replace a page removed after a book has been bound.
Case-Bound - The book is hardbound as opposed to a paperback.
Chapbook - A cheaply printed book of the kind sold by street vendors
in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Chipped - [image] Used to describe where
small pieces are missing or where fraying has occurred on a dust jacket
or the edge of a paperback.
Cloth - A cloth-bound book. The covering can be linen, buckram
or another textile.
Cocked - [image] Also shelf-cocked. A
condition resulting from storing a book on a shelf so that it leans and
rests against its neighbour or the side of a bookcase. Gravity deforms
the book binding. Cocked also refers to a book in which the spine no longer
remains at right angles to the covers.
Codex - An ancient volume of manuscript.
Collation - Technically, the examination and notation of the physical
makeup of a book. By checking for the presence of every leaf or page originally
in the volume when issued, a book may be collated as complete.
Colophon - An identifying inscription or emblem from the printer
or publisher appearing at the end of a book. Also the emblem at the bottom
of the spine on both the book and dust-wrapper as well as a logo on the
title or copyright page.
Comb Binding - A book binding similar to a spiral binding but using
a round tubular plastic piece with many teeth which fit through small
rectangular holes punched into the binding edge of the book. The plastic
piece, if laid flat, would resemble a comb.
Conjugate Leaf - The unsevered
second half of a printed page.
Contemporary - Refers to bindings and hand-colored plates (generally
of the period when the book was published) and author inscription (dated
the year of publication).
Corners - [image] The right angles on the
unbound edges of the front and back covers of a hardcover book.
Covers - [image] The binding of the book,
most particularly the front and back panels of the book.
Covers bound-in - The original cloth covers, usually including the
spine, bound into the book when a new binding is made. Normally they are
mounted as pages at the end of the book. Also refers to the covers of
books originally issued in boards or paperwraps, but in these cases the
covers are usually bound in their proper positions.
Cut - Many modern books are smooth-trimmed after binding so that all
edges are even, or flush. This is described as having been "cut."
- [image] A light stain on the cover or on
the leaves of a book caused by moisture such as a piece of food or perspiration.
Generally not as severe as waterstains.
Darkening - [image] When book covers
are exposed to light, the colour darkens or becomes more intense. See
Deckle Edges - Another term for uncut or untrimmed edges.
Decorative Stamped Binding - [image]
A highly detailed impression stamped into the cover and/or spine of a
Dedication Copy - The copy of the book inscribed by the author to the
person to whom the book is dedicated.
Definitive Edition - The most authoritative version of a work.
Dents - Damage to the edges of the cover of hardcover books.
Device - A printer's ornament. Also an insignia that is the publisher's
identifying mark. Now interchangeable with Colophon.
Disbound - This term refers to a book
or pamphlet, once bound, from which the binding has been removed.
Dog-Eared - [image] Book
pages which have been folded over in the corners. Some people do this
to mark their place in a book.
Dos-a-dos - Two separate books bound together so that each cover represents
the cover for a different title. The Ace paperbacks or many science fiction
books were issued this way.
Dummy- A mock-up of a book used by salesmen in the late 19th
and early 20th century to show prospective buyers what the
book would look like. It usually had a title page, 10 or 20 pages of text,
and then blank pages to fill out the rest of the binding.
(12mo) - A book approximately seven to eight inches tall.
Dust Jacket - [image]
A term synonymous with Dust Wrapper, indicating
the usually decorative paper wrapper placed around a book to protect the
- See Dust Jacket.
Edges - [image] The outer surfaces of the leaves of a
- [image] Wear along the edges of hardback
Edited - Prepared for publication.
Edition - All the copies of a book printed from
the same plates or typesetting.
Editor- A person who gathers material for a book,
oversees text written by others, and/or makes the text more readable.
Elephant Folio - A book about 23 inches tall.
End Papers- [image] The
sheets of paper pasted onto the inner covers, joining the book block to
the covers. One side of the sheet is pasted to the inside cover, the other
is left free.
Ephemera - From the Greek work ephemeron,
meaning something that disappears quickly. Examples are: manifestos, broadsides,
programs, menus, tickets, playbills, etc.
Errata - Mistakes or errors. Generally encountered in the term "errata
slip," a small sheet of paper laid into a book by a publisher who
has discovered errors prior to publication.
Example - A particular copy of an edition.
Ex-Library-[image] A term
used to indicate a book was once in a library. They are usually identified
with one or more markings of the library such as stampings, card pockets,
cataloging numbers, etc. Frequently they are marked as "discarded"
or "withdrawn" when sold by a library.
Ex-Libris - A bookplate printed with
the owner's name or initials. Latin for "From the library of..."
Extra Illustrated- A copy of a book into which additional illustrations
have been bound.
Fading - [image] The colour of some book covers fades
or becomes less intense when exposed to light. See also Darkening.
First and Second Printing before Publication - This indicates the publisher
was successful in promoting the book and had more orders before the actual
publication date than the first printing quantity would cover, therefore
a second printing was ordered. Not a first edition.
First Edition - Generally used by book dealers
and collectors to mean the first appearance of a work in book or pamphlet
form, in its first printing.
First Separate Edition- The first appearance as a complete book or
pamphlet of a work that has previously appeared as part of another book.
First Thus - Means not a first edition, but something is new. It may
be revised, have a new introduction by the author or someone else, be
the first publication in paperback form, or first by another publisher.
First Trade Edition - The edition produced for general commercial sale,
as distinguished from a limited edition.
Flyleaf- A blank leaf, sometimes more than one, following the front
free endpaper, or at the end of a book where there is not sufficient text
to fill out the last few pages.
Fly title - See Half-title.
Folio- Has several meanings:
(1) a leaf numbered on the front;
(2) the numeral itself; and
(3) a folio-sized book.
See Book Sizes.
Fore Edge - [image] The
trimmed edge of the leaves of a book; the edge of the page opposite the
spine, bound or back edge of the book.
Fore-Edge painting- The front page edges of the book are bent back
to expose a greater area and a watercolor painting is applied to this
surface. After completion the book is closed and the painting cannot be
seen. The opposite is also true. The painting is done on the edge of the
pages so it can be seen when the book is closed but is not visible when
the book was open.
Foxed, Foxing-[image] Brown spotting
of the paper caused by a chemical reaction, generally found in 19th
century books, particularly in steel engravings of the period.
Free Endpaper - See End Papers.
Frontispiece- [image] An illustration at
the beginning of a book, usually facing the title page.
Front Matter- The pages preceding the text
of a book, in the following order:
bastard title or fly title
preface or forward
table of contents
list of illustrations
Full Binding - A binding in which the spines and boards are uniformly
covered with the same material.
Galleys - Sometimes called "galley
proofs" or "loose galleys" to distinguish them from bound
galleys. Long sheets of paper bearing the first trial impression of the
Gathering - A group of sheets folded together for sewing or gluing
into the binding.
Gauffered - An 'engraved' design on the
edges of a book.
Gilt Edges - The page edges have been trimmed
smooth and gilt, or gold, has been applied. The abbreviation ge
means gilt edges; aeg
means all edges gilt; gt means gilt top; teg
means top edge gilt.
Glassine - A transparent paper dustwrapper.
Gutter - The inner margin of a leaf near the spine of a book. See Tail.
- [image] A book in which the spine and corners
are bound in a different material (frequently leather) than the rest of
Half Cloth- Paper-covered boards with the spine bound in cloth.
Half Leather- A term indicating that the spine
and the corners of a book are bound in leather, while the rest of the
binding may be cloth or paper. Also see Quarter
Half-Title - The page carrying nothing but the
title of the book, usually preceding the title page.
Head - [image] The upper
margin of a leaf, cover or endpaper. Also referred to as the top.
Headband - A decorative cloth band, sometimes colored or multi-colored,
appearing inside the backstrip
at the top (and sometimes bottom) of the spine of a book.
Headpiece - [image] A
decorative type ornament found at the start of a chapter or division of
Highlighting - [image]
The use of transparent and brightly coloured markers to draw attention
to particular text. Frequently done by students. See also Underlining
Hinge- [image] The joint
(either outer or inner) of the binding of a book - the part that bends
when the book is opened.
Holograph - A term indicating the handwriting of the author.
versos blank - "Hors texte"
is French for "outside of the text," and the term usually refers
to plates, without printing on the reverse sides. The plates may be tipped
in to paper of a different stock from that of the text.
Hypermodern - Collected first editions
published within last ten years or so. Most were published so recently
that there is no track record on author or book.
- Referring to polychrome illustrations. It usually means an illuminated
Illumination - Decoration applied by hand in gold, silver or coloured
Illustrated - Decorated with pictures or other
graphical material to portray or clarify the text.
Illustration - A design, picture, plate, plan, diagram, chart, or map
printed within the text.
Impression - A much misused term, but one that,
when accurately employed, means the number of copies printed during any
given press run.
Imprint - A term that can refer either to the place of publication
or to the publisher.
Incunabula - Books, pamphlets, calendars, and indulgences printed before
Index- An alphabetical listing of names or topics
mentioned in the book, with their page numbers. For serials and journals,
the index is usually published after the volume is completed and is usually
found in the last issue.
India Paper - An extremely thin, yet relatively opaque paper, used
to help reduce the bulk of what would otherwise be a book of unwieldy
Inscribed - [image] Usually
indicates a book signed by the author, either with an inscription to a
specific person or bearing some brief notation along with his signature.
Integral - A leaf or page is said to be integral when it is one that
was sewn and bound into a book during its manufacture.
Interleaved - When blank leaves alternate with the printed leaves a
book is said to be interleaved.
Issue - Synonymous with State, referring to the priority
of copies within the first edition.
Jacket - The printed or unprinted
cover, usually paper, placed around the bound book. Sometimes called Dust Jacket (dj),
Dust Wrapper (dw),
dust cover or book jacket.
Japan Vellum - A smooth, glossy paper, made in imitation of vellum,
generally a light tan color.
Joint - [image] The exterior
junction of the covers and spine of a book.
Juveniles - Books originally or primarily written to be read by (or
Juvenilia - Work written when an author was extremely young, often
as a child.
Laid In - A letter or other sheet(s)
inserted but not glued into a book.
Laid Paper - A handmade paper showing parallel lines of the papermaking
frame, visible when held up to the light.
Large Print - A book that is made with large
type for the visually impaired.
Leaf - A single sheet in a book; each leaf contains
two printed pages, one on each side.
Ledgit - A label or memo slip projecting
from a book's pages.
Library Binding - Reinforced bindings used by many public libraries.
Limited Edition - Any book whose publication
is deliberately restricted to a comparatively small number of copies,
usually numbered and often signed by the author and/or illustrator.
Limp - An adjective describing a flexible binding in suede or imitation
leather such as that used on the early titles of the Modern Library.
Loose - The binding of a new book is very tight; that is, the book
will not open easily and generally does not want to remain open to any
given page. As the book is used, the binding becomes looser until a well-used
book may lay flat and remain open to any page in the book.
Made-up Copy - A copy of a book whose parts have been assembled
from one or more defective copies.
Marbled - Paper decorated with an imitation marble pattern.
Marginalia - Notes written in the margins of
a page around the text. Frequently used by students and others when studying
a text. See also Highlighting and Underlining.
Mass-Market Paperback - The most common
paperback book, about four inches wide and seven inches high. Seen most
often as mystery, science fiction and romance books. See also Trade
Miniature - A
book that is less than 3" in its largest dimension. See
Mint Copy - An absolutely perfect copy; as perfect as the day
it was issued.
Misbound - Pages or signatures sewn together
in an improper order.
Modern Firsts - All books published in this century.
Monograph - A work, generally short, dealing with a single subject
and usually issued in pamphlet form.
Morocco - A type of leather made from goatskins, especially suitable
for book bindings because of its durability and beauty.
No Date - No date
of publication mentioned within the book.
No Place - No place of publication listed in the
Number - An issue of a periodical.
Obverse - The
right-hand page of a book, more commonly called the Recto.
Octavo (8vo) - A book of about five inches wide
and eight inches tall to about six by nine inches. Octavo is the most
common size for current hardcover books. To make octavo books, each sheet
of paper is folded to make eight leaves (16 pages).
Offprint - A separate printing of a section of a larger publication;
i.e., a periodical.
Offset - The transfer of ink from one page to another, either as a
printed page or an engraving.
Out-of-Print - A book no longer being printed.
Out-of-Series - Refers to overruns or extra copies of limited editions.
Owner's Bookplate - See Bookplate.
Page - One side of a leaf. The front
side of a leaf is called the recto or obverse and the back side of the
leaf is called the verso or the reverse.
Pamphlet - A small separate work issued in paperwraps.
Paperback - Books in paperwraps published since
the 1930's, although it can describe any book with a paper cover.
Paperback Grading - A letter grade system is sometimes used for describing
the condition of a paperback:
- "A" grade. Basically an unread book. No
book store stamps on the edges, inside the front cover, etc. The book
is as close to perfect as possible. These are typically very difficult
to find for older books written in the 1980s and near impossible for those
in the 1970s and earlier.
- "B" grade. Given to a book that is slightly
creased in the spine. Might have name, initials, light stamp in the book.
grade. This means that there are creases in the spine and maybe on the
tips of the cover. Basically, it is a reader's copy only.
Paper Boards - Stiff cardboard covered
Parts - The practice of publishing novels in separate monthly installments
in magazine format.
Paste-Down - [image]
The portion of the end-paper pasted to the inner cover of a book.
Perfect binding - Used in paperback books, trade paperbacks and magazines
that have too many pages to be stapled. The page edges are glued together,
then placed in the covers. This is a less expensive process than traditional
book binding and stapling.
Pictorial - Describes a book with a picture on the cover.
Pirated Edition - Any edition of a work issued without permission of
the author and without payment of royalties to the author or copyright
Plates - Whole-page illustrations printed separately
from the text. Illustrations printed in the text pages are called cuts.
Points - Distinguishing characteristics, usually errors, that occur
within a first edition and indicate the priority of copies.
Preface - Author's introductory statement.
Presentation Copy - A copy of a book actually given by the author to
someone of his acquaintance, usually with an inscription of some sort
testifying to this.
Price Clipped - [image]
The price has been clipped from the corner of the dust jacket.
Printed Cover - Used to describe a dust wrapper or paper cover that
is only lettered.
Printing - Another word for Impression.
Private Press - A small press, often operated by one person, usually
devoted to the production of small quantities of finely printed books.
Privately Printed - This term refers to a book or pamphlet whose printing
was paid for by an individual or a group, and which is meant for private
circulation, not public sale.
Proofs - Precede the published book. The normal course of events would
be galley proof, uncorrected bound proof and advance reading copy bound
Prospectus - A publisher's announcement of a forthcoming book, set,
or periodical, with information about the price, contributors or authors,
date of publication, and binding.
Provenance - The history of ownership or possession of a given book.
Publication Date - The date a book is formally
placed on sale.
- [image] A book whose spine is covered in
a different and generally fancier material than the covers.
Quarter Leather - A book with a leather
spine. Also see Half Leather.
Quarto (4to) - A book between octavo and folio in
size; approximately 11 to 13 inches tall. To make a quarto, a sheet of
paper is folded twice, forming four leaves (eight pages).
- [image] The raised areas on the spine concealing
a cord which is attached to the covers. In earlier leather books cords
were really used. In some modern books the raised bands are purely decorative
and conceal no underlying cord.
Rare- Implies the books is extremely scarce, perhaps only turning up
once every ten years or so.
Reading Copy - A copy of a book that is worn
or used to such a degree that it is not in good enough condition to be
Re-backed - A book that has been repaired by replacing the spine and
mending the hinges.
Re-cased - A book that has been glued back into its covers after having
been shaken loose.
Recto - The front side of a leaf in a bound book;
in other words, the right-hand page of an opened book. Also called the
Rejointed - Means the book has been repaired
preserving the original covers, including the spine.
Remainder - When a book has ceased to sell, a
publisher may get rid of his overstock by "remaindering" the
Remainder Marks - The publisher will mark
the bottom edges of books sold as remainders with a stamp, a black marker,
or spray paint, which speckles the bottom.
Reverse - The rear side of a leaf in a bound book;
in other words, the left-hand page of an opened book. Also called the
Self-Wraps - Wrappers which have vestigial
flaps that imitate a dust jacket.
Series - A group
of volumes with a common theme issued in succession by a single publisher.
Sextodecimo (16mo) - A small book, approximately
four inches wide and six inches tall. To make it, each sheet of paper
is folded four times, forming sixteen leaves (32 pages).
Shaken - An adjective describing a book whose pages are beginning to
come loose from the binding.
Shelf Wear - [image]
The wear that occurs as a book is placed onto and removed from a shelf.
It may be to the tail (bottom) edge of the covers as they rub against
the shelf, to the dust jacket or exterior of the covers (when no dust
jacket is present) as the book rubs against its neighbours, or to the
head of the spine which some use to pull the book from the shelf.
Sheet - The piece of paper on which the printer prints. The sheet is
folded one or more times to form the leaves of the book.
Signed - [image] A book
which the author has autographed. See Inscribed.
Signature - In bookmaking, this does not mean the author's name written
out in his hand. It refers rather to the group of pages produced by folding
a single printed sheet, ready for sewing or gluing into a book.
Slipcase - [image] A
cardboard case covered in paper, cloth or leather which holds a book with
only the spine exposed.
Spine - [image]The book's
backbone, where the signatures are gathered. The spine is covered with
State - Closely allied to the definition of Issue.
State generally refers to a change other than a correction of a misprint.
Stub- A narrow strip of paper usually remaining where a leaf has been
Sunned - Faded from exposure to light or direct sunlight.
Tail - [image] The lower margin of a leaf, cover or
endpaper. Sometimes referred to as the bottom.
Tailpiece - Decorative typography ornament on the lower part of a page
at the end of a chapter or a poem.
Thousands - Some publishers in the nineteenth century added a notice
on the title page stating, for instance "Eighth Thousand" to
indicate a later printing. These are not first
Three-decker - A book in three volumes,
almost exclusively used to describe Victorian novels of the late nineteenth
Tight - The binding of a new book is very tight; that is, the book
will not open easily and generally does not want to remain open to any
given page. As the book is used, the binding becomes looser until a well-used
book may lay flat and remain open to any page in the book.
Tissue - [image] A thin,
protective sheet laid over an illustration.
Tipped-in - Means the plate, autograph, letter,
photo, etc., is actually attached to the book.
Tirage - French for "a printing."
Usually used for a limited edition, often numbered and dated.
Title Page - The title page, near the beginning
of the book, lists the title and subtitle of the book, the authors, editors,
and/or contributors, the publisher or printer, and sometimes the place
and date of publication. The title page information should be used for
cataloguing (not the half-title page or covers).
Title Page Index - Used in describing periodicals
to indicate that the title page and index are present; without a title
page and index, the volume is incomplete.
Tooling - The decoration of a binding.
Top Edge Gilt - [image]
Usually abbreviated teg,
it means that the top edges of the pages have been covered with gold leaf
or gilt material.
Trade Edition - The regularly published edition. This term is used
to differentiate it from a limited signed edition of the same book.
Trade Paperback - A softcover book which
is generally large in size and made of better quality materials than a
Trimmed - An adjective indicating that the pages have been cut down
to a size smaller than when originally issued.
Typed Letter Signed - A typewritten letter
signed by hand.
Uncut- The pages of the completed
book have not been shaved down to a uniform surface.
Underlining - [image]
Using a pencil or pen to underline passages in a book to draw attention
to the underlined text. See also Highlighting
Unopened - The leaves of the book are still joined at the folds, not
- The pages are not numbered (although each signature may be designated
Unsophisticated - Pure, genuine, unrestored.If
a book is so described, it can mean trouble as far as condition is concerned.
Variant - A book
that differs in one or more features from others of the same impression,
but a positive sequence has not been established.
Vellum- A thin sheet of specially prepared skin of calf, lamb, or kid
used for writing or printing, or for the cover.
Verso - The second, or rear, side of a leaf in a
book; in other words, the left-hand page of an opened book. Also called
- [image] Stain on a book cover or leaves from
water or other liquids. May cause discoloration and perhaps actual shrinking.
Worming, Wormholes - Small holes resulting from bookworms (the larvae
of various beetles.)
Wrap-around Band - The band of printed paper the length of the dust
wrapper of a book. Wrap-around bands contain favorable reviews and are
put around some copies of books. Obviously fragile, they are of interest
Wrappers - [image] The
outer covers of a paperbound book or pamphlet. Not to be confused with
Yapped - Refers to the edges of the
cover of a book bound in paper or another soft material. These yapped
edges are not flush with the pages but extend beyond the edges of the
book and are fragile by nature.