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The difference between ex-library & ex libris books

When searching on AbeBooks, you will see the terms ex-library and ex libris. Although they sound similar, it’s important to understand the difference between the two.

Ex-library shows that the book was once in a public library. Ex-library books are usually identified with some marking of the library – a stamp, a card pocket, or catalog number. They are often marked as “discarded” or “withdrawn” or have their catalog number struck through when sold by the library. Ex-library books are often worn by use but they are affordable.

Ex libris refers a book that has come from the library of an individual. Ex libris is Latin for “From the Library of……” An ex-libris book usually has a bookplate – a small print of artwork pasted inside the cover that features the owner’s name or initials. You can see the example from the video (right) of the bookplate that belonged to Reverend Clement Mitchell from Prince Edward Island in Canada.

Learn more at the AbeBooks’ Book Collecting Guide.

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