When you're buying books on ebay, you might find some of the following terms appearing in the description. These are all standard "jargon" used in the book trade, and it's helpful to know what they really mean.
A term used to describe normal defects related to ex library books, i.e., end papers removed, pockets & library stamps.
The method of holding pages together, maybe stapled, sewn, glued etc. Also refers to the type of binding, see Paperback and Hardback.
The covers of a hardback book: stiff cardboard covered with cloth, leather, paper etc.
Book club edition
An inexpensive reprint produced for members of a club, often smaller than standard hardbacks, and using lighter, softer (less durable) paper.
Slight bending, creasing or other pressure damage to top & bottom of spine, and corners.
Small pieces missing from the edges of a dust jacket or binding
See Price Clipped
Book binding material woven from cotton, linen, wool or synthetic fibers
Description of the state of a book.
* Mint / As New A book that is in new condition, that has never been read and is without any defects whatsoever.
* Fine (F) Approaches the above, but not crisp. May have been carefully read and dust jacket may have been slightly rubbed or spine ends slightly bumped from shelving/shipping, but no real defects or faults.
* Very good A used book showing some small signs of wear on either binding or dust jacket.
* Good The average used and worn book that has all pages or leaves present.
* Fair A worn book that has complete text pages (including those with maps or plates) but may lack endpapers, half-title page, etc. (which must be noted). Binding, dust jacket, etc. may also be worn, binding loose.
* Poor A book that is sufficiently worn that its only merit is the complete text, which will be legible. Any missing maps or plates should will be noted. May be soiled, scuffed, stained, or spotted, and may have loose joints, hinges, pages, etc.
A small bump or dent leaving an impression, sometimes caused by careless handling or storage or having been leant against by a biro-wielding owner!
Publisher’s original paper wrapper covering binding. Ususally decorative. Always desirable in a collectible volume.
End papers (EPs)
Front and Back End Papers are those extra leaves before and after the text & title pages, particularly those pasted to the inside cover.
Legitimately removed from an institutional library, such as a public library, university library, historical society, etc. Often has catalog numbers inked or taped on the spine, library bookplates, embossed or rubber-stamped identification on the title page and plates, library card pockets, plastic covers and front end papers torn out. Referred to as "ex-lib. See also “as usual”.
A reproduction of a book. Many facsimiles have some designation on them to distinguish them from the book they are replicating
Front End Paper, see End papers.
Not a first edition, but something new, revised, having a new introduction by the author or someone else, new illustrations, but the first publication in its new form or by a new publisher
Rust colored spots which occur on paper resulting from oxidation of both organic and iron impurities left behind during the paper making process. Only when these impurities exist in the paper, given exposure to the right humidity and temperature factors, will foxing occur. This process is intrinsic to the paper; some paper will never have the rusty, brown, yellow spots known as foxing
An illustration or plate inserted immediately in front of the title page, with the illustration facing the title page, often abbreviated as frontis
The inside portion of the flexible area where book cover meets the book spine; often used interchangeably with the term joint, which should be used to designate the outside or exterior portion of the "hinge". A volume which has received heavy or rough use often has cracked or broken hinges
The exterior flexible "hinge" where book cover meets book spine; "hinge" is usually used to designate the equivalent inside or interior flexible area. The joint is often an area that splits or cracks or otherwise shows wear in an older cloth or leather volume
Small number of copies of book published. Books are usually numbered such as "100/500" meaning number 100 of an edition of 500
A tear which may have some material missing
No longer available from the publisher.
A book bound with flexible paper covers; usually a term reserved for mass-market publications
An illustration(s) printed on a separate sheet of paper (usually heavy and better quality than the text pages) and added to the book during the binding process
The price on the inner flap of a dust jacket has been cut off
Well worn, usually abused copy of a book, often in need of rebinding; i.e. suitable for reading, but unlikely to be included in a book collection unless rebound; sometimes refers to a copy that can be read, but is not of a quality worth rebinding.
A crease down the spine of a book (usually a paperback);
A mark (rubber stamp, felt marker stroke, or spray, often on a book's bottom edge) signifying that the book was returned to publisher as unsold, and then sold at a much lower price.
Where color has been worn from portions of the binding or dust jacket
Refers to a printed item on which the author (or illustrator or publisher) has written their name, usually on the end papers, title page, or in the case of pamphlets on the wrappers
A box with one open side, into which a volume or a multi-volume set is "slipped" for protection; publishers often issue a slipcase with two and three volume sets
Typically is synonymous with paperback, but it can also describe a book with a limp cover or a flex-cover
The back portion of a book's binding which is visible when a book is shelved in a bookcase; the portion which is attached at the joints to the front and rear covers
A price sticker has been roughly removed resulting in surface damage to the underlying material
Sticker has been left on book for some time, and the glue, reacting chemically, has discolored the surface
A sticker has been partially removed, or wholly removed but has left glue traces on the cover.
Browning, yellowing, or fading of paper or binding as a result of sun exposure
Traces of cellophane tape which remains on the paper or a book's cover, resulting in brown stains or bits of tape adhering to paper.
The page which gives important information about the book such as title, author, publisher, date, etc.
Book buying and selling jargon
Views 96 Likes Comments Comment
12 November 2005
Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides