Book Grading Reference

Book Grading Reference

All Books and Paper items may be graded within a +/- range of the listed grades. " + " is always above the grade, and " - " is always below that particular grade.  We try to grade our material as closely as possible to market standards.  If you have a problem with a grade on an item, please contact us ASAP.    

Mint -  Just as it came from the Publisher.  It is perfect.  This type of condition is very rarely seen.


Like New, As New  or Near Mint - Almost perfect.  Crisp, bright, with no fading.   Spines are clean, square and tight as well as pages almost entirely white.  Sometimes it will have a slight darkening from age, but otherwise it is virtually a perfect copy.


Excellent (Very Fine) Only very minor defects.  Item is clean, fresh, and no major signs of wear.  There can sometimes be slight fading of the spine or c

Glossary of Book Terms

over, possible minor abrasions along the exterior extremities, but you will not find any owner inscriptions or other markings unless it is specifically noted.


Fine -  Evidence of very slight wear.  May have been read once or twice with a slight crease along the edge on paperbacks.  Sometimes slight faded edge staining.  Pages will be almost entirely white.  Covers will have no major creases or wrinkles, but very-very slight color flaking or "almost" un-noticeable minor wear may be noticeable on the outer edge.  Any markings or inscriptions will be noted in the descriptions.  


Near Fine - As listed in "Fine", with the exception of markings that we feel reduces the condition slightly.


Very Good - Has been read, but remains a reasonably tight copy.  Possible pealing in spots of plastic lamination, and corner bends.  It is possible there may be some browning of the pages.  No torn or broken spines.  Minor chipping, wearing in spots, possible abrasions noticeable, and very likely that the glosses have faded from Paperbacks, and Hardback covers have dulled. Possible spine wearing at the top or bottom of Hardbacks.


Good - Reading Copy - This is where you will find most of your average reading books.  There will most likely be creases and bends, possible rubbings, corner bumps, and notations (underlining, inscriptions, names) inside of the book, and possible that some pages may have minor tears.  


Fair , or Reading Copy Only- Soiled covers and possible some page stains.  Will most likely have been read several times, and show the wear from such.  Possible sun-bleached bindings, rolled bindings, and maybe some cover tears on the Paperbacks.  Although, it will still be complete and readable.  


Poor - Very worn, soiled, and most likely has a varying amount of damage.  There may be some pages or sections missing making the book non-readable or collectable.  


Glossary of Book Terms


Below you will find most (if not all) of the terms that we use to describe the books/items we have in inventory.

Our goal is to give you as much information as possible, to accurately describe the item.  We firmly believe that if you are an informed buyer then you will feel much more comfortable in purchasing future items from us.


ads., advts., adverts - advertisements.  

aeg - all edges gilt.

als - autograph letter, signed.

ARC - advanced reading copy.  These are sent out by a publisher to solicit reviews or to promote sales prior to its publication.  ARC's are sometimes in the form of bound proofs.   Sometimes a message from the publisher may be laid in or tipped in.

assoc. copy - an association copy with extraordinary associations.  Usually, because it belonged to a notable person, or has a presentation inscription by its author.

bc, bce, BOMC and book club - edition of a book printed especially for a book club, and usually less valuable.  

bdg. - binding.

binding copy - a book which needs to be rebound, and is worth rebinding.

bds. - boards, usually the hard portion of the books' binding, usually covered, as in picture bds.  

Brodart - Plastic cover which protects a book's dust jacket or binding.

b/w - Black and White.

bumped - dented (usually on the edges of the boards)

chipped - small tears along the edges of the pages, dustjackets, or binding.

clamshell - hinged box ( board covered in paper, cloth or leather, or a combination of them), usually custom-made, to hold a book for  its protection.  A clamshell box may look like a box, with a title on its spine.  

cocked - twisted spine. Usually on paperbacks.

dec., decor - decorated.  Often to refer to a binding.

DJ or JW - dust jacket, or dust wrapper.

ed - edition.

ep - endpapers; 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.

exlib, ex-lib -Ex library copy.  Usually, has markings or envelopes with library info on it.

F, ff, or fol - Folio(s); leaves of a book or else a size of a book. 

ffep, or ffep - front fee endpaper (the blank that is not pasted down onto the boards).

first edition - often, but not always, more valuable than later editions.

foxed - brownish spotting of paper, usually because of acid content.  It can be quite disfiguring.

gilt - indicates the pages of the book have been trimmed and the outside edges covered in gilt, or gold.  

gutter - center crease of an opened book: bread crumbs have a way of gathering here.

half-title - page before title page, usually only with the book's title printed on it.  

illum. - refers to polychrome illustrations on manuscripts.  

incunabulum - a book published before 1501.  they usually are set at high prices.  

insc. - inscribed.

laid in - a letter or sheet inserted but not glued into a book.

ltd., limited ed. - an edition limited to a specified number of copies.

lp. - large-paper edition.  

LOC - Library of Congress.

ms, mss - manuscript, manuscripts.

nd - no date on the book.

np - no place, publisher or printer listed on the book.

offsetting - the process which causes a reversed image inadvertently to appear on the page facing the original impression.  

orig. - original (as in original cloth binding).

pastedown - page which is pasted onto the front or read inside board of a book. 

PBO - paperback original.

pc, or price clipped - this signifies a small triangle cut from the front inside corner of the dust jacket to remove the book's price.  These price clipped dj's are considered less worthy than the complete dj.

ppr, or PB - Paperback

pub. - publisher or published.

rem, or rm - reminder.  A copy sold by a publisher after they have withdrawn the book from publication.  This is often slightly disfigured, sometimes with a rubberstamp or with a black line crudely drawn across one of the edges.

rubbed - indicates that the outer layer of the material used on the binding has been rubbed off.  

sc - softcover.  Usually a paperback or slightly larger than a paperback.

shaken - used to describe a book that is no longer firm in its covers because of deteriorating inner hinges.  

slipcase - cloth, paper or leather covered board in which a book may be placed for its own protection.

spine - the bound outer edge of a book.

teg - top edge gilt.

tipped in - sheets, or a sheet which was not part of the original book, but was placed in at a later date.  It is now considered part of the book.  This is usually done by dabbing very small amounts of glue to the edge which is inserted into the book.

tp - title page.

trade edition - this is usually a "first trade edition".  This is often signed or presented with special paper or bindings which generally appear before the commercial publication of the book.

ts - typescript.

vol. - volume.

wrappers - as in soft covers.


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