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Booksellers’ Glossary

Terms in bold are listed elsewhere in this glossary, alphabetically.
Addendum
Additional information at the back of a book, sometimes laid in.
Advance Copy or Advance Reader Copy (ARC)
Copy of a book sent out to reviewers in advance of public edition release; sometimes not identical to actual edition.
Bonded Leather
Plastic binding containing particles of real leather. Technically not misrepresented by the publisher, for very large values of “technically.”
Broadside
Generally a limited edition of a poem or other short work printed on a single sheet.
Condition
These terms have specific and precise meanings in the used-book world, as follows:

Like New (sometimes As New) ~ in essentially perfect condition

Fine ~ an exceptionally well preserved copy showing little if any sign of wear. The standard typically demanded by collectors.

Near Fine ~ very closer to fine condition; perhaps slight shelfwear.

Very Good ~ although there may be some minor faults which will be enumerated, the binding is sound and the contents are clean and well preserved. May still be desirable to some collectors.

Good ~ the average used copy with obvious signs of wear which will be enumerated. Not collectable, but still a serviceable copy.

Fair ~ a below-average copy with major flaws which will be enumerated. Often referred to as a "reading" copy.

Poor ~ a book with serious damage and flaws. Reputable booksellers generally do not sell books in this condition.

Ex-Library ~ traditionally a catch-all euphemism for a poor copy, now only refers to used second-hand books from institutional collections.

Edition
All copies of a book printed (see printing) from the same setting of type; i.e., a revision of a book would be a new edition.
Errata, erratum, errata slip
List of mistakes noticed after the book was printed, usually laid-in.
Folio
More than 13 inches tall.
Laid-in
Separate pages or items placed inside the book, loose (not bound or attached).
Letterpress
Hand-press.
Octavo (8vo)
Between 8 and 10 inches tall.
Parchment
Untanned animal hide used in bookbinding (usually pale, like thin doggie-bone rawhide).
Printing
Copies of a work from the same press run or setting of type as an earlier printing; when revisions are made, a subsequent printing is considered to be a new edition. Generally indicated by a row of numbers at the bottom of the copyright page.
Publisher's Copy (PC)
Similar to an ARC; a proof copy not included in the edition itself.
Quarto (4to)
Between 10 and 13 inches tall.
Type
Metal letters or digital document file used to print a book.
Uncut edges
Untrimmed page edges.
Vanity publishing
Printed at the author's own expense; generally indicates that reputable publishers were unwilling to print the work, for a variety of possible reasons.
Vellum
Untanned calfskin; a fine grade of parchment used in bookbinding; pale and smooth, like thin rawhide.

See also:

Alibris Glossary of Book Terms: www.alibris.com/glossary/glossary.cfm

Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America: www.abaa.org/cgi-bin/abaa/abaapages/glossary.html

Booksplendour Glossary: www.booksplendour.com.au/bs_glossary.htm

Crazy Book Lady Glossary: http://crazybooklady.com/gloss.htm

Foreign-language bibliogrophic glossary: http://130.15.161.74/techserv/biblang.html

Independent Online Booksellers Association: www.ioba.org/terms.html

International League of Antiquarian Booksellers: www.ilab-lila.com/english/glossary.html

Shipley Art Booksellers: www.artbook.co.uk/glossary/