4to - Quarto

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).

8vo - Octavo

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).

12mo - Duodecimo

A book approximately seven to eight inches tall.

16mo - Sextodecimo

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).

ads, advts, adverts

Advertisements placed in the binding of the book.

aeg - All Edges Gilt

The top, fore-edge and foot of the book are coloured in gold.

al - Autographed Letter

A handwritten letter.

als - Autographed Letter, Signed

A handwritten letter signed by the writer.

ams - Autographed Manuscript, Signed

A manuscript all in the author's hand.


A suffix denotating a collection of sayings, anecdotes, or other material regarding a person or subject. For example: Americana, Hemingwayana, etc.



ARC - Advanced Reading Copy

A copy for reviewers and/or booksellers, usually bound in paperwraps and usually with either the finished cover art or possibly trial cover art. Generally, this copy is as it will appear in the stores and differs from the Uncorrected Proof.

bc, bce - Book Club, Book Club Edition

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.

bd - Bound

A book with a cover of any type, or a periodical that has a cover other than its published wraps.

bdg - Binding

The cover of the book.

bds - Boards

The stiff binding material for most modern books.



Bkpl - Bookplate

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.

bomc - Book Club of the Month

See Book Club

b/w - Black & White

Usually describes illustrations, photographs, etc.



cl - Cloth

A cloth-bound book. The covering can be linen, buckram or another textile.


Check or cash (payment) with order.

dec, decor

Decorated. Often refers to binding, as in dec. cl.

dj - Dust Jacket

A term synonymous with Dust Wrapper, indicating the usually decorative paper wrapper placed around a book to protect the binding.

dw, d/w - Dust Wrapper

See Dust Jacket


Edited, Editions, Editor

ep - End Papers

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.

ex - Example

A particular copy of an edition.

exlib, ex lib - Ex-Library

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.

F - Fine

As in Book Condition.

F, FF, fol - Folio

Has several meanings: (1) a leaf numbered on the front; (2) the numeral itself; and (3) a folio-sized book.

ffep - Front free end paper

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.

fpd - Front Pastedown

The portion of the end-paper pasted to the inner cover of a book.

G - Good

As in Book Condition.

ge - 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.

gt - Gilt

See Gilt Edges

htp - Half Title Page

The page carrying nothing but the title of the book, usually preceding the title page.

hvtb - Hors Texte, 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.

I - 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.

Ill, Ills, Illus. - Illustrations, Illustrated

Decorated with pictures or other graphical material to portray or clarify the text.

insc - Inscription, Inscribed

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.

l, ll - Leaf

A single sheet in a book; each leaf contains two printed pages, one on each side.


Large-paper Edition

Ltd - Limited

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.

mmpb - 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.

ms, mss


nd - No Date

No date of publication mentioned within the book.

NF, nf - Near Fine

As in Book Condition.

no, nos, # - Number

An issue of a periodical.

np - No Place

No place of publication listed in the book.

op - Out-of-Print

A book no longer being printed.

orig - Original

As in original binding

pb, ppr - Paperback

Books in paperwraps published since the 1930's, although it can describe any book with a paper cover.


Paperback Original

pc - Price-clipped

The price has been clipped from the corner of the dust jacket.

pl, pls - Plates

Whole-page illustrations printed separately from the text. Illustrations printed in the text pages are called cuts.

POD - Print on Demand

A digital printing technology that allows a complete book to be printed and bound individually, as opposed to traditional publishing that produces several hundred or thousand books in a lot. Print On Demand books are printed when your order is placed.


Prior owner signature

Prefs - Preface

Author's introductory statement.


Publisher or published

rem - Remainder

When a book has ceased to sell, a publisher may get rid of his overstock by "remaindering" the title.

rfep - Rear free end paper

See End Papers.

rm - 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.

rpd - Rear Pastedown

The portion of the end-paper pasted to the inner cover of a book.

ser - Series

A group of volumes with a common theme issued in succession by a single publisher.

teg - Top Edge Gilt

See Gilt Edges.

tle - Typed Letter Signed

A typewritten letter signed by hand.

tp - 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).

tpi - 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.

unpag - Unpaginated

The pages are not numbered (although each signature may be designated by letter).



VG - Very Good

As in Book Condition.

wr, wrs - Wrappers

The outer covers of a paperbound book or pamphlet. Not to be confused with Dust Wrapper.

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