A Book Collector's Glossary
Carl Noe

NOTE: This is the first full edition of "A Book Collector's Glossary." It is not complete, but is a work in progress, and a labor of love for those who collect books, published here as a service to those who've requested it.
academic reprints Items published by a photographic process for the academic market when a scholarly work, for which there is relatively little demand after its original edition, requires a new printing.
accession Recording of books added to a collection in the order of their acquisition.
accession number The serial number assigned to a book in accessioning.
accession record Record which lists a brief description and the essential facts of a specific book's history.
accession record book A book which begins with serial number one, and is used to record a brief description of additions to a collection in the order of their acquisition.
addendum, pl. addenda A supplement to a book. When material needs to be added to a finished book at the time of its binding, it may be printed on a slip of paper and tipped in, or pasted in.
advance copy A review copy. When a book is published, complimentary advance copies will often be sent to reviewers.  Sometimes abbreviated as ARC or Advance Review Copy.  Generally published as soft cover volume.
Americana A classification of books and other objects having to do with America, its people and their history (generally considered to bear relation to the United States of America by those residing in North America).
annotated Including critical and explanatory notes.
antiquarian Of old, rare books, or one who deals in them.
apocryphal A work which is of doubtful authenticity or authorship.
appendix The additional or supplementary material sometimes found at the end of a book.
atlas folio Description of the size of a book: about 25 inches high.
author's copies Complimentary copies of the first edition of a book given to the author by the publisher.
autograph The author's signature, typically found on the title page or flyleaf of a book.
backbone A book's backstrap, backstrip or spine.
bar code The common term for Universal Product Code.
bds. Abbreviation for "boards" (see below)
belles lettres Fine arts literature (fiction, poetry, drama, etc.) as distinguished from scientific/technical writing.
bibliomane A book-nut (or worse ; ).
bibliophile A book lover (or worse ; ).
blurb The paragraph or so printed on the cover or dust jacket of a book which almost always tells you how important the book is.
boards The stiff front and back parts of a hardcover book.
book plate A personalized piece of paper that is signed and glued into a book, identifying it as belonging to the owner.
bound galley An uncorrected page or galley proof sent out by a publisher before publication for publicity.
bowdlerization The practice of censorship by publication of expurgated texts. This practice got its name from English editor Thomas Bowdler (1854-1825) who published altered editions (especially of Shakespeare's works).
casebound A hardcover book.
chapbook A small, usually paperback, book of poetry or a religious tract or some such.
chipped A condition in which small pieces of the dust jacket have been chipped away at the edges.
clothbound A book with cloth covering the boards.
codex A volume of ancient manuscript.
colophon Either a publisher's trademark or information concerning the book's publication printed at the end of a book. Literally the finishing stroke.
comb binding A binding similar to a spiral binding, but made of plastic, and which if flattened would resemble a comb.
deaccessioning Selling or otherwise disposing of books from a collection.
deckle edge Rough edges which a sheet of paper has after it has left the deckle, but before it is trimmed in the papermaking process.  Books may be printed and bound with deckled edges which some find appealing, others do not.  Frequently, deckled edges are equated with cheaper or book club editions of books.
definitive edition The most authoritative version of a work.
desideratum, pl. desiderata Something needed and wanted. Desiderata is a want list.
dust jacket The paper cover (d.j.) that protects the actual hard covers of the book.
dust wrapper The same as a dust jacket (d.w.).
double elephant folio Description of the size of a book: about 50 inches high.
duodecimo Description of the size of a book: about 7.75 inches high (12mo).
edition All the copies of the book made from a specific set of type (with the exception of minor alterations).
elephant folio Description of the size of a book: about 23 inches high.
embossing A process which produces decorations raised above the surface (typically of printable material).
endpaper The folded sheet of paper pasted to the inside of the front or back cover and attached to the edge of the first or last page of a hardcover book during manufacturing. Endpapers are not normally numbered.  While endpapers are glued to the boards, you may see reference to the FFEP or Front Free End Paper (which isn't glued - making it Free) containing a signature or stamp.
erratum, pl. errata A correction of error(s) inserted into a book after it has been printed.
ex library A book with library markings on it.  Typically in pretty rough shape if a popular title and containing a multitude of stamps, markings, and perhaps library card holders.
ex libris A Latin phrase meaning, "From the Library of."  This generally means that someone has inserted or otherwise glued a bookplate into the book identifying it as theirs.  Some are even embossed with raised seals.
even folio Page numbers on the left-hand pages.
facsimile edition An exact reproduction of an original book depicting the text and the book's physical appearance.
fair condition A worn book with defects such as a torn dust jacket, foxing, or loose binding, etc.
fine condition Nearly new, with slight signs of aging, but no defects.
first edition The first printing of the first edition (as far as collectors are concerned).
flyleaf Unprinted pages (other than endpapers) which may appear at the front or back of a book.
folio Description of the size of a book: about 15 inches high (Fo).
fore edge The front of a book, considering the spine to be the back of a book.
fore-edge painting A form of book decoration popular in the late eighteenth century which displays a painting when the books pages are fanned.
fortyeightmo Description of the size of a book: about 4 inches high (48mo).
foxed Discolored, usually with reddish-brown spots, especially the leaves of a book.
frontispiece Illustration which faces the title page.
galley A proof of a book made before the pages are numbered.
gauffering Decorative, deckle edged pages.
good condition A complete book with no major defects, showing normal wear and ageing.
gutter White space between facing pages.
headband A decorative cloth band added to the top of bottom of a book's spine.
holograph A document handwritten by the person purported to have written it.
hornbook A child's primer, made of parchment, mounted on a board with a handle, protected by a transparent plate made of horn.
i.p. In print.
illuminated Old manuscripts and early books decorated with ornamental letters or colored illustrations.
illustrated Decorated with pictures or other features usually for the purpose of clarifying the context.
impression The number of books printed in a press run, or the run itself.
imprint The publisher's and/or printer's note usually found at the foot of the title page giving place, date and publication information.
incunabulum, pl. incunabula A book from the "cradle" time of printing (before 1500).
inscription Generally a written dedication from the giver of a book to the receiver.  It may or may not be written by the author and its presence is generally negative if personal.
library binding A reinforced binding.
limited edition A printing which is limited to a stated number. Often inscribed with the author's signature and a sequence number.
mint condition Term referring to a used or antiquarian book whose condition is "Like new". This term is more proper to numismatics and philately, with antiquarians usually preferring "as new."
nom de plume Literally "pen name," the pseudonym an author uses.
o.p. Out of print.  Sometimes seen as "OOP".
octavo Description of the size of a book: about 9.75 inches high (8mo).
parchment Animal skin (usually sheep) used for a writing material.
quarto Description of the size of a book: about 12 inches high (4mo).
reading copy A book which has little or no value as a collectible item, but has complete text.
recto The right-hand or front of a book leaf. Contrast "verso," the back of the leaf.
shaken A condition characterized by very loose binding.
sixteenmo Description of the size of a book: about 6.75 inches high (16mo).
sixtyfourmo Description of the size of a book: about 3 inches high (64mo).
stacked A condition characterized by a shift in the binding of a book.
thirtytwomo Description of the size of a book: about 5 inches high (32mo).
tooling Decoration of a book's cover by impression of gold leaf or other material.
twentyfourmo Description of the size of a book: about 5.75 inches high (24mo).
vanity publisher One who publishes a book paid for by the author.
vellum A fine calfskin used for writing or book manufacture (used for most ancient manuscripts).
verso The back of a leaf. Contrast "verso," the front of the leaf.
very good condition A complete book, as issued, with very few blemishes or signs of wear.
widow A single word or partial line.
woodcut A block of wood which is engraved for printing or the resulting product of its use.
zinc etching A photoengraving process which produces black-and-white line drawings.

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