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 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
Apocryphal : A work whose authenticity or authorship is
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
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
Autographed Letter : A handwritten letter.
Autographed Letter, Signed : A handwritten letter signed
by the writer.
Autographed Manuscript, Signed : A manuscript all in the
Backstrip : The covering of the book's spine.
Biblio : From the Greek; signifying or pertaining to
Biblioclast : A destroyer of books.
Bibliognost : Having a deep knowledge of books.
Biblioklept : A stealer of books.
Bibliomaniac : A bibliophile in whom the love of books
has become an obsession; many bookdealers and certain
Bibliophile : A lover of books.
Bibliophobia : A fear of books.
Bibliopole : The people behind the booths at the book
Binding : The cover of the book.
Binding Copy : A book which needs to be rebound and is
Blind stamping : 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
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 : The stiff binding material for most modern
Book Block : The entire book sewn together before it is
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.
Book Label : A label indicating the ownership of a book.
Generally smaller than a Bookplate.
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
Bound : A book with a cover of any type, or a periodical
that has a cover other than its published wraps.
Bowed : 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 pasted in page to replace a page removed after
a book has been bound.
Case Bound : The book is hardbound as opposed to a
Chapbook : A cheaply printed book of the kind sold by
street vendors in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Chipped : 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 : 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
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
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
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 : The right angles on the unbound edges of the
front and back covers of a hardcover book.
Covers : 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
Cut : Many modern books are smooth trimmed after binding
so that all edges are even, or flush. This is described
as having been "cut."
Dampstained : 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 : When book covers are exposed to light, the
colour darkens or becomes more intense.
Deckle Edges : Another term for uncut or untrimmed edges.
Decorative Stamped Binding : A highly detailed impression
stamped into the cover and/or spine of a book.
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
Dents : Damage to the edges of the cover of hardcover
Device : A printer's ornament. Also an insignia that is
the publisher's identifying mark. Now interchangeable
Disbound : This term refers to a book or pamphlet, once
bound, from which the binding has been removed.
Dog Eared : Book pages which have been folded over in the
corners. Some people do this to mark their place in a
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.
DuoDecimo 12mo : A book approximately seven to eight
Dust Jacket : A term synonymous with Dust Wrapper,
indicating the usually decorative paper wrapper placed
around a book to protect the binding.
Edges : The outer surfaces of the leaves of a book.
Edgeworn : Wear along the edges of hardback book covers.
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
Elephant Folio : A book about 23 inches tall.
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
Ephemera : From the Greek work ephemeron, meaning
something that disappears quickly. Examples are
manifestos, broadsides, programs, menus, tickets,
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 : 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 : The colour of some book covers fades or becomes
less intense when exposed to light.
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
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.
Folio : A leaf numbered on the front; the numeral itself;
a folio sized book.
Fore Edge : 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 : Brown spotting of the paper caused by a
chemical reaction, generally found in 19th century books,
particularly in steel engravings of the period.
Frontis, Frontispiece : An illustration at the beginning
of a book, usually facing the title page.
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 type.
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
Half Binding : A book in which the spine and corners are
bound in a different material frequently leather than the
rest of the covers.
Half Cloth : Paper covered boards with the spine bound in
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.
Half Title : The page carrying nothing but the title of
the book, usually preceding the title page.
Head : 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 : A decorative type ornament found at the start
of a chapter or division of a book.
Highlighting : The use of transparent and brightly
coloured markers to draw attention to particular text.
Frequently done by students.
Hinge : 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
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.
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.
Illum : Referring to polychrome illustrations. It usually
means an illuminated manuscript.
Illumination : Decoration applied by hand in gold, silver
or coloured paint.
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 1501.
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
India Paper : An extremely thin, yet relatively opaque
paper, used to help reduce the bulk of what would
otherwise be a book of unwieldy size.
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.
Integral : A leaf or page is said to be integral when it
is one that was sewn and bound into a book during its
Interleaved : When blank leaves alternate with the
printed leaves a book is said to be interleaved.
International Edition : Usually refers to textbooks.
These books are lower priced editions of the original,
and have a statement on the cover that they are only for
sale in certain countries. The content of the
international edition of a textbook is typically
identical to that of the U.S. edition, but they sometimes
have less expensive covers or binding, are printed on
less expensive paper and/or in black and white instead of
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 : The exterior junction of the covers and spine of
Juveniles : Books originally or primarily written to be
read by or to children.
Juvenilia : Work written when an author was extremely
young, often as a child.
Laid In : A letter or other sheets 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
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
Library Binding : Reinforced bindings used by many public
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
Marginalia : Notes written in the margins of a page
around the text. Frequently used by students and others
when studying a text.
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.
Mint Copy : An absolutely perfect copy; as perfect as the
day it was issued.
Misbound : Pages or signatures sewn together in an
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
No Place : No place of publication listed in the book.
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
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
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 forthose in the 1970s
"B" grade. Given to a book that is slightly
creased in the spine. Might have name, initials, light
stamp in the book.
"C" 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 in paper.
Parts : The practice of publishing novels in separate
monthly installments in magazine format.
Paste Down : 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 holder.
Plates : Whole page illustrations printed separately from
the text. Illustrations printed in the text pages are
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 : 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.
Print on Demand POD : 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
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
Proofs : Precede the published book. The normal course of
events would be galley proof, uncorrected bound proof and
advance reading copy bound in paperwraps.
Prospectus : A publisher's announcement of a forthcoming
book, set, or periodical, with information about the
price, contributors or authors, date of publication, and
Provenance : The history of ownership or possession of a
Publication Date : The date a book is formally placed on
Quarter Binding : A book whose spine is covered in a
different and generally fancier material than the covers.
Quarter Leather : A book with a leather spine.
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
Raised Band : 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
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 considered collectible.
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 Obverse.
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"
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 Verso.
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
Shaken : An adjective describing a book whose pages are
beginning to come loose from the binding.
Shelf Wear : 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 : A book which the author has autographed.
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 : A cardboard case covered in paper, cloth or
leather which holds a book with only the spine exposed.
Spine :The book's backbone, where the signatures are
gathered. The spine is covered with the backstrip.
State : Closely allied to the definition of Issue. State
generally refers to a change other than a correction of a
Stub : A narrow strip of paper usually remaining where a
leaf has been cut away.
Sunned : Faded from exposure to light or direct sunlight.
Tail : 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 editions.
Three decker : A book in three volumes, almost
exclusively used to describe Victorian novels of the late
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 : A thin, protective sheet laid over an
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 : 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
Mass Market Paperback.
Trimmed : An adjective indicating that the pages have
been cut down to a size smaller than when originally
Typed Letter Signed : A typewritten letter signed by
Uncut : The pages of the completed book have not been
shaved down to a uniform surface.
Underlining : Using a pencil or pen to underline passages
in a book to draw attention to the underlined text.
Unopened : The leaves of the book are still joined at the
folds, not slit apart.
Unpaginated : The pages are not numbered although each
signature may be designated by letter.
Unsophisticated : Pure, genuine, unrestored.If a book is
so described, it can mean trouble as far as condition is
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
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 the Reverse.
Waterstain : Stain on a book cover or leaves from water
or other liquids. May cause discoloration and perhaps
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 to
Wrappers : The outer covers of a paperbound book or
pamphlet. Not to be confused with Dust Wrapper.
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.