Advance Reading Copy (ARC) - a copy of a book produced in advance of the trade edition for reviewers, booksellers, and others in the trade. An advance reading copy is usually bound in pictorial wrappers with the finished cover art.
ALS - autographed letter signed.
As Issued - a term used to emphasize the condition of a book when some individual feature differs from the normal expectation; for example, describing the condition of a hardcover book as “fine book without dj as issued.”
As New (AN) - see Very Fine
Association Copy - a copy of a book that once belonged to (or was annotated by) the author or someone connected to the author; someone famous or noteworthy in his own right; or someone associated with the contents of the book.
Backstrip - see Spine
Blurb - a praiseworthy comment from a review or another author, usually printed on the dust jacket or wrappers of a book.
Boards - the sides (paste board or other base) and covering (paper or cloth) of any cased or hardcover book.
Book Club Edition (BCE) - a copy of a book printed by or especially for a book club. Some book clubs (such as The Literary Guild) may produce an edition separate from the trade edition, while others (such as Book of the Month Club) may contract with the publisher to produce a run of the books with a unique, identifying mark.
Bookplate - a decorative label in a book usually indicating ownership of a book. A bookplate may also contain the signature of the author.
Chapbook - a small, stapled pamphlet, usually less than 100 pages. Before modern publishing, chapbooks were distributed primarily by chapmen (peddlers), rather than booksellers.
Cloth - a common material used, from the late-19th century, to cover the boards of hardcover books. In modern trade publishing, however, paper has become more common than cloth for covering boards.
Colophon - the last printed page of a book containing such information as title, author, printer, place of printing, date, typefont, and/or binding cloth. In modern publishing, the colophon has generally been replaced with the title and copyright page.
Copyright Page - a page following the half-title that contains on its verso information about the book, such as copyright date and holder, publisher name and address, year of publication, and edition and printing.
Cut - an illustration printed within the text pages of a book. see also Plate
Dedication Copy - an early copy of a book presented by the author to the person to whom it is dedicated. Usually the dedication copy is inscribed and signed to the dedicatee by the author.
Doctored - a pejorative term that describes a copy of a book that has been restored, repaired or rebuilt.
Duodecimo (12mo) - a book that is approximately 7 to 8 inches tall.
Dust Jacket (Dust Wrapper) - a paper covering, usually illustrated, used to protect the boards of a book. Often abbreviated “dj” or “dw” in catalog listings.
Edition - all copies of a book printed at any time originating from the same (substantially unchanged) plates or typesetting. For example, 100 copies of a book are printed on Monday and 100 copies of the same book are printed on Wednesday without a substantial change in the plates or typesetting; the 200 copies printed are part of the same edition. see also Printing
Else Fine - a redundant term often used to enhance the perceived condition of a book.
Endpaper (Endleave) - a double sheet of paper added at the front and back of a book. The outer portion of the sheet is pasted to the inner surface of the cover and the inner portion becomes the first or last page of the book. The outer portion is referred to as the “pastedown” and the inner portion is referred to as the “free endpaper.”
Errata - mistakes and misprints in the text or contents discovered after a book has been printed. Often the publisher will print and include an errata slip, indicating the errors with their locations and corrections.
Ex-Library - a book that has been removed (discarded) from an institutional library. Such books will often have library card pockets and ink stamps and will show considerable wear.
Fair - condition description. A book or dust jacket with significant signs of wear. All text pages must be present, but may lack endpapers, title page, and so on.
Fine (F) - condition description. A book or dust jacket that approaches the same condition in which is was published, but not crisp. May show signs of being read, but no real defects or faults.
First Edition - all copies of a book printed at any time originating from the initial (substantial unchanged) plates or typesetting. see also Edition
First Printing - all copies of a book printed the first time from the initial plates or typesetting. see also Printing
First Published Edition - a term used when a published edition of a book was preceded by another edition privately printed and not offered for sale to the public.
First Separate Edition - material published between its own covers that was previously published as part of another book. For example, a short story in an anthology may subsequently be published in chapbook form.
Flaps - the parts of the dust jacket that fold in over the pastedowns.
Folio - a book that is more than 13 inches tall.
Follow the Flag - the practice of collecting the first edition of a book published in the author’s own country, even when the book is first published elsewhere. For example, a collector may acquire the first US editions of an American author, although the true first of each novel is first published in the United Kingdom. see also True First
Foxing - rust-colored spots caused by impurities in paper when exposed to certain humidity and temperature factors. The process of foxing is inherent to the particular paper used in each book; foxing will never appear on some books.
Free Endpaper - see Endpaper
Frontispiece - an illustration that faces the title page of a book.
Good - condition description. A book or dust jacket with significant signs of wear, but with all pages and binding intact.
Half-Title - a page preceding the title page (and frontispiece, if present) that contains only the title of the book.
Headband - a decorative band fastened inside the top and occasionally the bottom of the spine of a book. A bottom headband may be referred to as a tailband, but usually the term headband refers to both head- and tailbands.
Hinge - the inside flexible junction where a book cover meets the book spine. see also Joint
Impression - see Printing
Inscribed Copy - a copy of a book with a handwritten and signed message by the author (unless otherwise stated) to a specific person or persons. see also Presentation Copy
Inscription - a handwritten message in a book.
Issue - occurs when a portion of an edition is intentionally published differently from the rest of the edition. For example, there are two issues of a book if sets of sheets are bound by two different publishers, each using a different binding cloth. see also State
Joint - the outside flexible junction where a book cover meets the book spine. see also Hinge
Laid In - material such as a photo, letter, author-signed bookplate, or review slip that accompanies a book, but is not attached to it. see also Tipped In
Leaf - the standard unit of a book; a piece of paper comprising one page on the front side (recto) and another page on the back side (verso).
Limited Edition - an edition of a book limited to a stated number of copies, usually numbered or lettered and signed by the author.
Manuscript - the original pages of an author’s work, either written in the author’s hand or typed.
Modern First - a first edition published in the 20th century or later.
Near Fine - condition description. A book or dust jacket that approaches the condition of Fine, but has a few minor defects or faults. see also Fine
No Date (n.d.) - a catalog entry indicating that the date of publication does not appear in the book, nor has it been established by research. If a date can be established by external evidence, the catalog entry will read, for example, “n.d. (1948)”.
Obverse - see Recto
Octavo (8vo) - a book that is approximately 8 to 10 inches tall.
Out of Print (OP) - a publisher’s stock of a book is permanently exhausted and only second hand copies are available. see also Out of Stock
Out of Series - extra copies (overs) of a limited edition, printed as a reserve against the possibility of defective copies and/or for the author’s and publisher’s use.
Out of Stock (OS) - a publisher’s stock of a book is temporarily exhausted and the publisher plans to reprint the book. see also Out of Print
Pastedown - see Endpaper
Pictorial (Boards, Cloth, Wrappers) - a book with a picture or artwork on the cover. see also Printed Wrappers
Plate - a whole-page illustration, separate from the text of a book. see also Cut
Point - a peculiarity in a book, due to manufacture or issue, that distinguishs it from other copies of the book. Most often used to provide evidence for priority of issue.
Poor - condition description. See Reading Copy
Presentation Copy - an inscribed copy of a book, presented as a gift by the author, to a specific person or persons. see also Inscribed Copy
Printed Wrappers - a book with lettering only (no artwork) on the cover. see also Pictorial
Printing (Impression) - all copies of a book printed at any one time originating from the same (substantially unchanged) plates or typesetting. For example, 100 copies of a book are printed on Monday and 100 copies of the same book are printed on Wednesday without a substantial change in the plates or typesetting; the first 100 copies comprise the first printing and the second 100 copies comprise the second printing. see also Edition
Proof (Proof Copy) - see Uncorrected Proof
Provenance - a record of the previous ownership of a specific copy of a book.
Quarto (4to) - a book that is approximately 10 to 13 inches tall.
Reading Copy - a book that is significantly worn so that its only merit is the complete text.
Recto - the front side of a leaf; the right-hand page of an open book. see also Verso
Reissue - a new edition of a book from new plates or typesetting. While the text will remain substantially unchanged, the reissue may have a new title page, binding, and/or other decorative changes. see also Reprint
Remainder Mark - a mark (stamp, black mark, spray) on the bottom edge of a book that identifies it as a remainder. see also Remainders
Remainders - books that are surplus stock or that publishers no longer intend to stock. Remainders are sold to wholesalers at a significantly reduced price, who resell them to bookstores to sell to the public at reduced prices. see also Remainder Mark
Reprint - a new edition or impression of a book from the same plates or typesetting as a previous edition. see also Reissue
Reverse - see Verso
Review Copy - a complimentary copy of a new book sent for purposes of review. Usually includes a laid in review slip containing publishing information.
Sextodecimo (16mo) - a book that is approximately 6 to 7 inches tall.
Signed Copy - a copy of a book in which the author and illustrator and/or publisher has written their name only, without a message.
Spine - the part of a book that is attached to the front and rear covers at the joints. The spine is visible when a book is closed and shelved.
State - occurs when a portion of an edition is printed differently from the rest of the edition without intention of creating a separate issue. For example, there are two states of a book if a portion of an edition is printed, the printer discovers an error and makes a correction, then prints the remaining portion of the edition. see also Issue
Tailband - see Headband
Text Block - the text part of a book, bound and trimmed, but without endpapers and boards.
Tipped In - material such as a photo, letter, author-signed bookplate, or review slip that is attached to a book. see also Laid In
Title Page - a page following the half-title that contains on its recto information about the book, such as title, subtitle, author, publisher, and year of publication.
TLS - typed letter signed.
Trade Edition - an edition of a book made available to the general public through bookstores, as opposed to privately-printed or limited editions.
True First - the first publication of a book when that book is published by multiple publishers and/or in multiple countries. For example, if a book is published in the United Kingdom in January and the same book is published in the United States in March, the British edition of the book is the true first. Likewise, if publisher X issues a limited edition of a book in January and publisher Y issues a trade edition of the same book in March, the book issued by publisher X is the true first.
Uncorrected Proof - a copy of a book produced in advance of the trade edition, generally used for author’s and publisher’s corrections. An uncorrected proof is usually bound in printed wrappers. In modern publishing, production of an uncorrected proof is often eliminated in favor of an advance reading copy, which may be bound in either pictorial or printed wrappers. see also Advance Reading Copy
Variant - copies of an edition that differ in some way from other copies of the same edition.
Verso - the back side of a leaf; the left-hand page of an open book. see also Recto
Very Fine (VF) - condition description. A book or dust jacket that is in the same condition in which it was published.
Very Good (VG) - condition description. A book or dust jacket with noticeable signs of wear.
Wrappers - the sides and covering of any paperback book.