Book Collectors' Glossary
For Beginners & Others.
Presented by Tappin Book Mine.
© MMIII Tappin Book Mine.
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- A B C FOR BOOK COLLECTORS.
- The title of a book by John Carter, published by Oak Knoll Books. It is a wonderful and witty glossary of books and book collecting terms, far superior to this.
- acid migration
- The acidification of a book or part of book by contact with something that is acidic. Acid is destructive to paper and cloth in that it breaks the long fibers of into shorter fibers thus making them more fragile. It also often causes discoloration. One of the most common senarios may be seen in older books where the pastedown end paper, and often the free endpaper as well, have been discolored from proximate contact with the board that forms the front and back cover of a hard cover book. This discoloration may look much like foxing, and indeed, is frequently misdescribed as "foxed endpapers". Typically, staining from acid migration damage to the end paper is more solid in coverage than real foxing. Often, you will see a distinct line of demarcation near the edge of the endpaper where the turn-in of the binding material has blocked or neutralized the acid. Often the mull, the linen strip beneath the endpaper near the spine will have the same effect. Acid migration may also come from cardboard boxes, or even wood shelving. It is a slow and gradual process. The rate cannot be predicted as it will vary enomously depending on the relative pH's of the materials, and is heavily dependent on environmental factors.
- abbreviation for "all edges gilt", referring to a book where all three page edges of a closed book are decorated and protected with gold leaf.
When gilt has been applied to the Face of a page, it is said to be Illuminated.
See: gilt. teg.
- a reference to the book Collected Books: The Guide To Values by Patricia and Allan Ahearn. They are authors of several very useful works for booksellers and book collectors. You may run in to the same reference but indicating what is usually known as APG (Author Price Guides), or other works. Collected Books is a direct (and acknowledged) successor to and updating of Van Allen Bradley's Book Collectors Handbook of Values, which saw several editions in the seventys and eightys. Both works are price guides containing a good chunk of the better known and well established book collecting targets. While neither Ahearn nor Bradley set out to produce a bibliography, both works do have some value in that field. Entries tend to be somewhat criptic, and one must always use them with the foreknowlege that the prices therein quoted are for Excellent examples of the book, and tend to be the high end of the range at the time of publication.
- Author Price Guide. This work takes individual authors and treats their entire body of work item by item. Besides pricing, there is usually enough information to clearly identify the edition being discussed. When appropriate, both the British and American first editions are treated. Additionally, information about limited or special editions is usually included.
APG may be purchased one author at a time in loose-leaf format, or in bound volumes for dealers.
Despite the title, I believe this splendid reference's primary value lies in it's bibliographic information. Good price information is useful, but inevitably very time sensitive. The key guestion is usually not "How Much?", but rather "Is it?" By that I mean that it is the authentication of the primacy of the edition that is often the stumbling block. This work usually provides enough information to identify the edition in question.
Despite it's value, it must still be used with care, as the information is not always up-to-date. A good example is the section on John D. McDonald, wherein the information is often incomplete.
APG is produced by Quill & Brush, which is a business of Patricia and Allen Ahearn.
- Abbreviation for Advance Reading Copy. A copy of a book released in advance of the publication date, for the purpose of promotion and or review. ARCs are usually sent to booksellers, to drum up advance orders, and to allow the bookseller to talk it up prior to release. ARCs are usually in bound in wraps, typically with information on the cover or inside regarding intended date of release; promotional budget and other information intended to whet the appetite of the bookseller. See: review copy. Galley proof.
- Literally, "Book Geography". This is the study of books. For the purposes of book collectors, this usually refers to analytical bibliography, which is the study of books as objects, with the most useful works for us providing information to allow us to identify the various editions, printings, states, issues and/or points of issue.
If one is seriously collecting an author or subject area, that person would be well advised to identify and acquire the best bibliographic information they can. Quality bibliographies are often out-of-print and difficult to locate. If an out-of-print bibliographic work is common, I might question it's value. The better ones are seldom inexpensive. Consider though,the value of the books being collected. If the use of a bibliography prevents a collector from making a single dumb buy, then the price of the work is often paid for. Rremember what the man told me: you pay the tuition, or you pay the ignorance tax.
Critical bibliography is primarily concerned with content and influences thereon.
- Book lover. As individuals or in groups, a particularly pleasant and enjoyable catagory of humans to associate with, especially when well informed.
- The method and materials used to hold the parts of a book together.
The names of the exposed parts of a typical book binding are:
Head. Tail. Fore edge.
Covers. Spine. Endpaper.
See: Bound. Perfect bound Wrappers boards Cloth.
- A descriptive euphemism for "insect damaged". Presumably it might also describe rodent damage, but in general rodent damage isn't actual predation, as the little mammals don't actually feed on the book, they usually gnaw on it to keep the little rat incisors in good shape. As euphemisms go, I prefer threading, which describes the particular appearance of the defect, rather than implying an appearance by making an educated guess at the cause.
- or "blind stamped" or "stamped in the blind" This refers to stamping or impressions on the cover of a book that have not been filled in with color or gilt.
Use the word "embossed" if you are talking to someone who is secure in their ignorance.
Book clubs have often used a small blind stamp in the form of a circle, square, small leaf on the bottom right corner of the back cover of a book to distinguish their issue from that of the regular publishers edition.
- The cardboard covers of a hardcover book with a final cover of paper.
See: cloth Wrappers leather vellum
- bookclub (aka: "book club")
- A company or organization that markets & sells books via the mails through subscription. Typically, but not always, their offerings are popular mass-marketed works, and also usually offered at a price discounted from the publishers suggested retail. A copy of book identified as having been thus sold is also known as a "book club" or "book club editon". The phrase "Publisher's edition" is generally used to desribe a book that is NOT a bookclub edition. With very, very few exceptions, bookclub editions are emphatically NOT collectable.
The identification of book club editions is as much art as science, as the book clubs have been cleverly inconsistant over time in making their product distinguishable from the publisher's edition. For many years, the presence of a Blind stamp indicated a book club. This cannot be counted upon any longer. Any book from a major publisher that lacks a price on the dust jacket should be viewed with suspicion of being a bookclub. Bear in mind that the statement "Book of the Month club selection" when printed on the dust jacket does not mean that the book in hand IS a bookclub.
- The past tense of "to bind", i.e., a book that is no longer in loose sheets.
Less common, but perhaps more important, the emphatic use of this is to distinquish a "bound" book from a casebound book. Nearly all books today are casebound, rather than bound. In a truely bound book, the covers are attached to the sewn book individually by cords or ribbons which are laced into holes or slots in the covers and glued in place, the cords having been attached to the back of the book in the sewing process, After the covers are attached in this way, the final covering of cloth, paper or leather is glued on. The pastedown end paper is then glued to the inside of the board, which hides the lacings.
A cased book, on the other hand, has the two outer covers assembled as a separate unit, already covered, and are as a unit attached to the sewn page block. The point of connection here is the mull, which is a strip of muslin, or sometimes paper, glued to the back of the sewn pages. The mull is wider than the book is thick, and must be sufficently wide to allow the overhanging part to be glued to the inside edge of the covering boards. The pastedown end paper is then attached which hides and further secures the attached mull to the covers. It may sound overly complicated, but if you will search your library for a very old book, say, early 19th century, or perhaps somewhat later, and look carefully at the inside edge of the opened covers, you may find two or more little bumps under the endpaper. This is where the cords were passed through the boards. Look now at a modern book, and you will probably see a continuous ridge from top to bottom in the same place. this is the edge of the mull.
- The severe discoloration of book paper by poor storage and age. See yellowing for a more detailed discussion.
- A defect in a book caused by, you guessed it, being bumped. You may see this clearly by taking a closed book in your hand, and striking one of it's corners smartly on a hard surface. Now throw the book away.
- A part of the book that is a substitute for what was originally printed. The most common type of cancel today is where an entire leaf has been removed and replaced, generally to correct a mistake that is too embarrassing or legally risky to ignore. When well done, the cancel can be detected only upon close examination. A title cancel is one of the more common cancels. A cancel can be less than an entire leaf, however. A small slip of paper with the corrected text may simply be glued on top of the offending text. Minor errors are more often corrected by the inclusion of a an errata slip.
- Small flakes or tears to the edge(s) of a dust jacket, pages or spine of a book.
- Short for "Cloth bound", refering to the cardboard covers of a hardcover book with a final cover of fabric. In fact, a softcover may be cloth bound, but if so, is properly described as "limp cloth" or requires some other explicit description. A simple descripitve: "Cloth" clearly implys a book is hardcover.
- A statement in the back of a book, placed by the publisher or printer, giving information regarding the production of the book. Colophons are still in sporadic use, depending on the publisher. That's an awfully uncertain thing to have to depend upon. John Carter notes that the word is often misapplied to the publisher's logo or symbol on the title page or elsewhere, but that is properly referred to as the publisher's device. The mixing of the two terms probably results from the fact that a colophon often contains the publisher's device.
- The state of preservation of a book. The primary grades are VERY FINE; FINE; VERY GOOD; GOOD; FAIR; POOR. The grades GOOD and VERY GOOD are often further discriminated with the appendence of a plus or minus sign. For example G+ is better than good, but less then VG-. The whole condition grading process is highly subjective, and that is why experienced book buyers look for detailed descriptions beyond the basic condition grade. Indeed: In my opinion a description of "VG" without further explaination is rather incomplete: the fact that you will find me as guilty as others in this matter from time to time not withstanding.
Take a look at the Book Grading page at Firsts Magazine's website
- Two leaves in a book are said to be conjugates if they are of a single piece of paper. Consider an octavo [8vo] format book, where the printed sheet has been folded three times to produce a gathering of eight leaves which bear sixteen pages. The top and fore edge of the folded gathering are cut, leaving the first leaf conjugate with eighth, the second leaf with the seventh, the third with the sixth, and the fourth with the fifth.
- Copyright page:
- statement in a book, placed by the publisher stating various copyright information. Usually the verso of the title page.
- The rectangular cardboard or (rarely)wood part of a book binding that is centered over the first or last page. Usually slightly larger than the page, to better protect the page edges. Today, it nearly always made from heavy cardboard and finished with an outer covering of decorative cloth or paper.
See Cloth. Boards.
- Usually "Publisher's device". The logo or symbol of the publisher. Certain publishers, such as Doubleday Doran and Farrer & Rinehart, have used their device to identify their first editions. Sometimes inaccurately called the publisher's "colophon". The presence of the Farrer & Rinehart stylized "FR" on the copyright page is just about a certain indication of the book being a first edition.
- dust jacket:
- The (usually printed paper) wrapper folded around the book. Originally, used entirely for the purpose the name implies, i.e., to keep the dust off the book while it resided in the bookstore awaiting purchase. The late 19th and early 20th century dust jackets were very plain, on unprinted paper, or with simple printed titles. As bindings were generally ornate and well decorated, it wasn't thought necessary to spend money decorating the Dust Jacket. Printed titles were added to aid the bookseller in identifying his stock at a glance. Then some bright book publicist or designer came up with the idea of decorating the dj as well as the book to promote it better as it lay on the book seller's shelf. Since the publisher's interest in a book generally ends when it sells, it was only a short time before the elaborate decoration of bindings fell away as an economy measure. The novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs are probably the most notable early use of garish and brightly decorated dust jackets.
In modern book collecting, an original, pristine dust jacket is treasured. In many cases, the well preserved dj itself represents 70 to 80% of the total value of an important work of first edition fiction. Indeed, there is a growing group who collect even BAD fiction if it has a particularly striking dust jacket. Since dust jackets became marketing tools, they are, in a real sense, icons of the tastes of a given period.
A dust jacket's presence usually has less impact on nonfiction, but can still be very significant. "Dust Jacket" is usually abbreviated to "dj" or "dw". The latter is for dust wrapper. Don't confuse that term with wrappers or wraps.
- dust wrapper:
- See dust jacket. Don't confuse "dust wrapper" with wrappers or wraps.
- A vague term used to confuse booklovers. In the strictest sence, any group of books printed from the same set of plates. More commonly, the term used to refer to the entire number of books produced at a particular time and place. It may be a number, i.e.: "an edition of 10,000"; or it may refer to a priority or source: i.e.: "the second edition"; "the London edition"; or "the Scribner's edition". The real questions today should be: What does "first edition" mean? and Is it the same as "First Printing? Used to be the answer was "YES", but no more. Many sellers still use the terms interchangably, but others use the term "First Edition" in a much broader sense. This second and growing group of the used book world uses phrase "First Edition" to describe any printing of the book that is not substantually changed from the first printing. see: Printing, first edition.
- end paper:
- Sheets of paper of which half is pasted to the inside covers of the book, and the other half of which is trimmed to form the first leaf in the book. The pasted part is called the " Pastedown end paper", and the unpasted part is known as the "free end paper" or the "fly page". End papers are structural and protective. The pastedown of the properly selected end paper will counter the tendency of the covers to warp or cup from the gluing of the binding cloth on the outside. The free end paper serves as a protective sheet for the title page or other leaves that follow it. End paper are often decorative, in the past often marbled. This is a fine practice, but I agree with Carter that the common habit of placing maps, tables or other useful information on the end paper is deplorable, as end papers are usually sacrificed to rebind a book. "End paper" is commonly abbreviated as "ep", and you will also often see "ffep" as the abbreviation for "front free end paper".
- See intaglio printing.
- A list of corrections to the text or contents of a completed work, often laid in or tipped into the book as a separate slip of paper, but sometimes an entire leaf attached or bound in. Errors are inevitable, and the publishers' options are, in increasing order of cost and difficulty: to do nothing (a too common practice today); next, to print and include an errata slip, indicating the error(s), its location and it's correction; next to remove the leaf or leaves in error and replace them with a cancel; and lastly, to withdraw the book and replace it with a new, more correct issue. The presence of an errata slip may be a significant point in determining the priority of issue of a given book.
- etching :
- See intaglio printing.
- first edition:
- Formerly in book collecting practice this refered to the earliest issue of the first printing of the first edition. That was the only true first. Today, the term "First Printing should be looked for if one is seeking the earliest copy of a title. In the publishing industry, any issue of the book that is without significant content change. See Edition for more discussion, but don't expect crystal clarity.
- See end paper.
- fly page :
- Usage varies, but generally refers to the front free end paper or any other blank page preceeding the first page with printing. See end paper
- fore edge:
- That part of the book and it's pages farthest from the spine, i.e., the part that faces the back of the shelf when a book is placed in a normal position on the shelf.
- fore edge painting
- Exactly as the name implies, a decorative painting on the fore edge of a book. The page edges are fanned slightly so that the paint is actually applied not to the actual fore edge, but to the edge of the page near the fore edge. The result is that the painting is hidden or mostly hidden when the book is closed, but is revealed when the pages are fanned just so. The artist may apply a second painting by fanning the pages in the other direction, in which case we say that the book bears "double fore edge painting."
Fore edge painting was common in the nineteenth century, and the works of popular poets, such as Walter Scott, were frequently the canvas. The demand is strong for such books, and as is difficult to distinguish an old book with an old fore edge painting from an old book with a not-so-old fore edge painting the buyer should be beware.
At the risk of being labled a rumor monger, I will say that I have heard that modern painting on the fore edge of old books is the major industry in more than one small town in Italy, but I have been unable to verify this.
- Traditionally, the approximate size and shape of the book as defined by the number of times the printed sheet is folded before binding. Since sheet paper size and shape varied, so did the size and shape of the book. Despite this, it is standard today for catalogers to use format to describe the size of the book. One fold produced a Folio, two folds: Quarto(4to), three folds: octavo(8vo), 4 folds: sextodecimo(16mo). Duodecimo(12mo) is a common format between 8vo and 16mo, but the folding method varies and is too complex to describe here. 32mo and 64mo also exist, but these are very small books. 8vo (octavo) is what most people think of a "Normal sized" book. A folio is a large book, noticably taller than wide. A quarto is oversized, usually "squarish" format. Specific dimensions are probably more practical, but the book world is not dedicated to practicality.
12mo and 16mo are commonly pronounced as the abbreviations read, ie, "twelvemo".
- Foxing is a pattern of spotting or speckling on paper or sometimes cloth, usually brown or yellowish brown in tone and often more or less circular in shape. It's cause is not fully understood, but generally it is believed a slow process caused by microrganisms, enabled by impurities in the paper and storage conditions that are damp and warm enough to facilitate the process. In our Florida climate, it is a common defect: even on quite recent books, some less than ten years old. In very recent books it seems to manifest itself first on the edges of the paper, so that when the closed book is viewed, a fine sprinkling of spots of variable density is evident.
- an illustration placed in the front of the book, usually opposite the title page. Often shortened to just "frontis".
- galley proof
- A copy of a book that was produced ostensibly for proof readers. In times past, these were produced in very small numbers within the publishing house itself, on a small press called a galley. The product of the galley tended to be long, narrow sheets These sheets, also called galleys, were crudely bound up for in house use.
The galley presses are mostly gone, but the name survives. The distinction between proofs (galley or other), and ARC's and review copies is quite blured. In some cases a single issue is referred to as all of the foregoing.
- a group of pages of the book, that are sewn as a unit into the bound book. Typically, but not always, folded from a single sheet. Also known as a "Section", the British term for this is a "Quire". The word " signature" is commonly misused for this.
- Gold leaf that has been applied to the binding, page edges or less often the pages of a book. Gold leaf is a popular choice for lettering the title or other information to the cover of a book for same reason it is sought for other uses. It is beautiful and can be quite enduring. It does not tarnish easily. The difference here from other uses, is that it doesn't cost much. Gold leaf is INCREDIBLELY THIN. It takes so little to title a book, that I'm hard pressed not to laugh when a neophite is awed by it. Binders do not touch gold leaf with their fingers, as it will disappear into the pores of the skin when touched.
See: teg. aeg. illuminated.
- Reference work by Geoffery Ashall Glaister, published under the title Glaister's Glossary of the Book, as well as The Encyclopedia of the Book.
It is a large single volume reference of enormous breadth and content. I highly recommend it to any curious minded bibliophile.
List price 2002 was US$50 for the paperback, and US$75 for the hardback. Like the man said to me, you either pay the tuition, or pay the ignorance tax.
- Usually "Goffered edges." Where the page edges of the closed book have been impressed with a design. Usually done to gilt edges. Most popular in 16th and 17th century, it is seldom seen today. Also sometimes, Gauffered.
- Top of the book, esp. at the spine.
- Hand written, ie, not printed, usually meaning by the author of the work. (This has nothing to do with 3d laser imaging, and it's use precedes the invention of lasers by many, many years.)
- A page that has been decorated with gold, either as gold leaf, or gold that has been ground up and placed in a suspension of liquid and then painted on the page. The application of silver leaf is generally also regarded as illumination, but I belive that to be relatively modern use. A aggregious missuse of this term is found when used to describe red or other color inks or paints applied to a page. Such use should be described as rubication.
See: gilt; aeg.
- Words handwritten in a book, typically as a preface to the signature of the author. Common examples might be: "Best Wishes...", "Thanks for the help..." "Sincerely....", but it may be long and involved. It is commonly inscribed TO someone, such as : "To Joe, w/,much appreciation for a fine day of fishing- Ernest Hemingway." Strangely, the market place at present seems to prefer a signed book over a copy inscribed and signed to a specific person, unless that person is a public figure of significant stature. In the hypothetical example provided, of course, the desireablity of the inscription would probably not suffer by the presence of "Joe's" name.
- A kind of printing wherein the ink image is transfered to the paper or cloth from grooves incised into metal printing plates. This is used primarily for illustration, rather than text. When the grooves are hand cut, with a burin or gravuer, it is engraving.
When the plate is cut with acid, that is called etching. Prior to the acid cutting, the etching plate is prepared by coating with a layer of wax-like substance, from which the artisan scratches or scrapes away the wax in the areas to be cut.
In either case, the incised plate is thoroughly inked, and then wiped clean, leaving ink only in the grooves. Paper is laid on the plate, and rolled with great pressure, forcing the paper into the grooves to pickup the ink. The paper must be slightly damp to get a good image, as the dampness prevents the ink from bleeding. The metal plate of choice was copper until the early-mid 1800s, when steel came into widespread use. Intaglio processes are relatively slow and expensive.
Drypoint is a kind of engraving were a pointed stylus is used to scratch the plate, rather than using a burin to cut a clean groove. The drypoint leaves a soft burr of metal by the mark, which lends a peculiar soft appearance to the finished print. The burr tends to wear off quickly, so drypoints are usually produced in fairly limited editions if quality is to be maintained.
In many art prints, the various aformentioned techniques are used in combination on a single plate. In fact, even in commercial illustrations it was not uncommon for a worn plate to be recut, or at least touched up, by a method other than how it was originally produced.
For a fine and fairly quick introduction to the practical aspects of seeing the differences between techniques, I suggest you refer to HOW PRINTS LOOK by Williams M. Ivins, Jr.published by Beacon Press.
There are other intaglio methods, such as aquatint. Wood engravings are not intaglio, but rather relief. Also see: Lithograph.
- Often used as a synonym for " Printing", but also often used as a substitute for State. Correctly, separate issues exist only if it has been demonstated that particular states had separate releases in time.
A subtle but important distinction, that.
A good example of states that are (so far as we know today) NOT separate issues would be some of the later published works of James Mitchner. Some of those books were released in editions too large for any single bindery to handle the entire edition. Up to three binderies worked on the books at the same time, prior to publication. The publisher, for whatever reason, had the binding source of each book encoded with a blind stamp on the lower right corner of the back cover that resembles an oversized book club blind stamp. I have seen three forms: square; triangle; circle. Thus, three separate states of the binding occur. Yet, there is no evidence (yet) that any one of these states was released in advance of the others. Therefore, it is not a point of issue.
- Japan / Japon:
- A kind of paper frequently used in deluxe editions, characterised by stiffness and it's pale yellowish glossy finish. Sometimes called "Japanese vellum".
- key book:
- In a given catagory of book collecting, that book which is the most important. frequently, in the case of a single author first edition collection, the first of the author's first published book is "Key". Certainly in the case of John McPhee, and Sue Grafton, this is true. (A SENSE OF WHERE YOU ARE and A IS FOR ALIBI", respectively.) I am of the opinion that in a given catagory, more than one title may be "Key", but others may differ on that.
- The single paper in a book, consisting of two pages, one page being on the front or recto of the leaf, the other page being on the back or verso of the leaf. In the making of an octavo format book each printed sheet, after folding and cutting, yields eight leaves, or sixteen pages.
By the way, in a properly laid out book, the recto of the leaf is always an ODD numbered page, and the verso is an EVEN numbered page.
- A defect in a book where the covers no longer line up squarely when the book is laid flat on its back cover. Some say a book with this defect has a "cocked spine". It is caused usually by poor storage or rough handling during reading.
- Animal skin that has been perserved with tannens, by various processes. A less common binding materal today than formerly, but when well done with good quality leather, a leather bound book is a splendid object to see, touch and smell.
Despite folklore to the contrary, leather bindings are not automatically the most durable and long lastings. Many leathers are relatively short lived, and the book would have been better served with a cloth or board(paper) binding. Much of the "leather bound" stuff that is mass-marketed is barely leather at all. By necessity, binding leather is very thin, but in this mass-marketed leather stuff, for reasons of economy, the original hide is passed through a machine called a skiver that is capapble of slicing the hide hoizontally into several layers, each of which is then stamped with a grain pattern to make it look like it might have been the actual hair side of a skin. Obviously, this is still leather of a sort, but much less strong than a traditional binding leather
Leatherette has been in use for a very long time, much of this century, and is usually leather powder mixed with a bonding agent and impregnated into a fabric then dyed and stamped with a leather-like grain.
See: cloth. boards
- limited edition
- An edition or issue of a book where the total number of copies has been deliberately held to a predetermined quantity. It is presumed and implied by this that the total number is somewhat or substantially less than what might have been sold, had the edition not been artificially limited. Limited editions are made for collectors. In most areas of collecting, any object concevied from its beginning to be for the collector market, is not a good candidate for collecting.
Yet, good limited editions of many books are extremely desireable and hotly sought after.
The collector should excercise some skepticism in judging "limited editions". Just because it say it is, doesn't make it so.
If the book is Limited to, say 25,000 copies, you are entitled to laugh out loud. There is nothing limited about 25,000 copies. Likewise, a "Limited" edition that does not clearly state the number of copies in the edition, should be viewed with the greatest skepticism. In older books, look for limitations in the low hundreds. Modern limited editions may run into a few thousand, but that is a pretty large edition.
In many limited editions each book is individually numbered. It is common for each copy of the limited edition to be signed by the author, or in many cases the illustrator, or sometimes both. Sometimes there is more than one limited edition of a title.
Sometimes limited editions are an entirely different product than the regular or "trade" edition. More often, they are identical except for the presence of an additionl leaf tipped into the book, upon which is found the limitation statement, and the copy number and the signature, if the latter two are part of the edition.
One may often see limitation pages which are signed, but were not numbered, even thought there is a obvious place for the number to have been written or stamped. Such copies are said to be "out of series", and are extra specimens that were produced to allow for damage or other losses prior to release.
- A method of printing where the printed and unprinted parts of the printing plate are in the same plane [planographic]. Originally used to refer to images transferred from stone plates [litho=stone, graph=image]. The lithographer uses a greasy crayon-like stylus to draw on the smooth, flat surface of the sandstone. The stone is then wetted, then inked. The artist's marks repell the water, and only the unmarked part of the stone can be wetted. The wetted part of the stone in turn will not accept the ink, which is oily, so only the image is inked. Paper is then laid on and rolled to pick up the inked image. Each color requires a different drawing and stone. The original Currier and Ives lithographs were produced this way.
Today, lithography refers to any printing method whereby the process relies upon the different ink holding properties of the various parts of the plate, rather than differences in height of the inked and non-inked surfaces. Most printing today is lithographic, even laser printers in a sense. A dot matrix printer would clearly not be lithographic. Also see: intaglio; relief.
- A kind of decoration of paper where the artisian floats inks or paints on a pan of water thickened with seaweed extract or other substance, and creates a pattern by various ingenious methods. The maker then transfers the pattern to paper by carefully laying the paper on the paint and lifting it up even more carefully. Marblers insist that this is not as difficult as it sounds.
I believe it is even more difficult to do well than it sounds.
It is a fantastically messy process, and all photos I have seen of a marbling workshop look very much like the aftermath of a serious explosion in a paint factory.
Marbled paper is a very traditional choice for end paper, as well as binding cover paper, and was at one time commonly applied to the edges of the closed book as well.
It can be and often is strikingly beautiful. The patterns can be as varied as the marbler's imagination and paint selection can allow. It's use was quite common in the 19th century, and it is still used today, however most commercial books with "Marbled papers" are really just lithographic reproductions of marbled paper. Real marbled paper usually has a depth and color density that printed papers can't match.
- Usually refers to the act of placing a dust jacket on a book with one taken from another copy. A book and dust jacket so united, are said to be "married". A dubious practice, however common. In fact, if the dj is from the same edition as the original, the practice is usually not condemned, but beware of the addition or substitution of a dust jacket from another, more desireable edition.
- A Reference work by Bill McBride entitled A Pocket Guide to the Identification of First Editions. Cryptic, as required to be literally a "pocket" guide. Extremely useful and highly recommended for all first edition collectors. Very unimpressive in appearance, and at $12.95 (April 2002), the least expensive reference book of real use for booksellers or collectors.
For a more verbose guide, see Zemple.
- nd (no date):
- An abbreviation used in a bibiliographic catalog descriptions to indicate that the book is undated. When the date is taken from the title page, it appears as it is, i.e., "1995". If the date is taken from the book but other than the title page(usually the copyright page), it should appear in parenthesis: "(1995)". If the book's date has been determined from other sources, it should appear in square braces after the notation "nd", i.e.: "nd, ".
While it is normal to find a date in a book, it is by no means a universal practice. The placement of the date on the title page is a decision of the publisher. They are under no obligation to date the title page, and frequently do not. Ususally, when the date appears on the title page, we can assume that the copy of the book we hold was actually produced within the year specified. Lacking that information, as we often do, we turn to the copyright page (usually verso of title) for the copyright date. A savvy bibliophile/cataloger will also look for a more germaine date in a colophon, if the colophon is present. It would be a mistake to draw much of a conclusion from the lack of any date whatsoever. There have been several periods where many very productive publishers opted not to date their books. One may suspect that the lack of a copyright date implys a work in the public domain, and therefore the book in question is a reprint, but the lack of date is slim evidence in itself.
- np (no place):
- An abbreviation used in catalog descriptions to indicate that the geographical location(city) of publication is unstated.
If the place of publication is determined from another source, it is common practice to enclose the information in square braces, i.e., np[London] or just: [London].
- See: Out of Print
- A book or edition of a book that is no longer availible from the publisher.
- See: out of Print
- Out of Series:
- A copy of a numbered limited edition that lacks the number. Such copies are usually part of the printer's overrun, produced to make of for lost, damaged or defective copies. It is not uncommon for the out of series copy to bear the authentic signature of the author (or illustrator or whoever), assuming it was produced as a numbered and signed edition. However, care and some skeptisim is called for. Generally less desireable than the numbered (in series)copy, but may still be desireable.
See: Limited Edition
- paste down:
- A part of the book binding which is the half of the end paper that is glued or pasted to the inside cover of the book.
- Perfect bound
- A method of binding where the pages are attached to each other and the cover with glue. Nothing else, just glue. All your popular fiction paperbacks are assembled this way.
One can't help but to snear or perhaps at least snicker a bit when this term is used. Frankly, I see nothing perfect about this method. Unless it is done with care seldom seen, it is at best a temporary means of keeping the book together. I'm sure the word was choosen because the entire edge of each leaf is a point of attachement. Also see Bound for a short discussion of real books.
- A change in text, materials or format that is used to distinguish states.
- Price Clipped:
- A defect in a dust jacket where the price printed by the publisher on the dust jacket has been cut off. Book publishers usually print the suggested retail price in the corner of the front flap of the dust jacket. It is common practice for gift givers to remove this price with scissors. In less sophisticated times, second hand booksellers would commonly "price clip" the book to avoid confusion with their marked price. Today, otherwise collectable modern books are significantly devalued if the dust jacket is price clipped. Indeed, in some cases, the price is the point by which the issue or state may be identified.
- A group of books produced from a single run of the printing press. Actually, though the press may be stopped and re-started, the term still applies if the plates are not removed from the press. Subgroups within a printing are sometimes further distinguished by state or issue.
Of course, the term also refers to the process of producing images on paper, cloth etc, with a reusable plate or matrix. In this sence, for the main kinds of different printing methods, see: lithograph; intaglio; relief.
- A British term which means the same as gathering.
- A very hard to locate and expensive book. Note please the association of Value. Demand is just as, in fact, more important than than scarcity. Indeed, if you have the only copy of a book in the world, if no one else wants it, it is valueless on the market, and emphatically not rare.
- A "right hand page". also see verso.
- Printing method by a matrix where the "raised" part of the matrix only is inked, and in turn pressed against the paper or fabric to transfer the inked image. Relief printing methods include: letterpress; woodcut; wood engraving; linolium cut, etc. In letter press, individual letters are cast in blocks with only the shape of the desired letter or image in the plane of printing. Only that surface is inked, and only that surface touches the paper during printing. The other relief methods are used mostly for illustration. In each, the smooth flat surface of the printing matrix is cut away so only the desired image (in mirror image form) is left of the original surface. Great pressure is not usually required for a good image, so the matrix is slow to wear out, and many good quality strikes may be achieved. Relief printing is an ancient form of printing. Gutenberg refined it by creating a practical means of reusing movable type. Relief/Letter press printing is still done, but has been replaced in most cases by lithographic printing.
Woodcut is done on the face of a wood plank, where wood engraving is done on the endgrain. The difference in properties between these two surfaces results in rather different styles and appearance. Wood engraving was a successful commercial illustration technique very popular in the last half of the 19th century. The famous Winslow Homer illustrations that appeared in Harper's Weekly from the 1860's and 1870's were wood engravings.
Engravings from metal, as well as etching, are part of a third kind of printing called intaglio.
- review copy
- A copy of book sent to a book reviewer, usually in advance of the publication date. Sometimes, especially today, a separate issue in wrappers. In years past, often a copy of the first edition with a small typewritten notice laid in with the information regarding release date and the address to which copies of the review should be sent in order for the publisher to consider them for promotional purposes.
See: ARC and Galley Proof
- A moderately difficult to locate and fairly expensive book.
See rare .
- self cloth
- Where the title or other decoration on the cover of a book is outlined by the surrounding stamping in color or gilt. The lettering itself will be in the color of the binding cloth.
- Other than the autograph name of a person, this refers to a small identifying mark, often a lower case letter, that is printed on the sheet of the book in such a way as to appear at the beginning of the folded gathering, placed there to aid the binder in assembling the book in the correct order. Today, often missused where the word "gathering" or section would be more accurate.
- Bearing the holographic name of, unless otherwise stated, the author.
- A common kind of box for a book, with the long, narrow side open for storing a book.
- An incomplete copy of a book that has been made complete by the addition of the missing leaf or leaves from another copy of the same same edition of the book. The term may still be applied if the leaf or leaves used are facsimiles of the same edition. Sometimes used to describe any book that has been altered from it's existing state, implying that something has been replaced or added. If the substitution is done in such as way as to make the book appear to be an edition or issue that it was in fact NOT, that is not mere "sophistication", that is fraud. For example, if the title page of a reprint is replaced with that of a first edition, it is clearly a attempt to deceive, and if done for gain, is fraudulent.
- The part of the book facing you when a book is place in the customary upright position on a shelf. It is the edge of the book at which the pages are joined. The spine is opposite from the fore edge.
- A specimen of a book that is distingishable from other copies apparently of the same edition, or printing, by some relatively minor change(s) in text, materials or format. This change, such as the correction of a misspelled word, or change in binding material may be a point of issue
- The discoloration of a book's binding or dust jacket, usually the spine or edges, by light. Most of the damaging light is ultraviolet, but visible light is nearly as damaging over time.
- Bottom of the book, esp at the spine.
- Abbreviation for "top edge gilt", refering to a book where the only the page top edge of the closed book have been decorated and protected with gold leaf.
See aeg . gilt.
- Damage to a cloth binding that takes the appearance of rough spots where the finish has been attacked by insects (usually cockroaches or silverfish). Binding cloth is usually sized with wheatpaste, which the insects love to eat. Since the sizing was put there to fill and smooth the weave in the fabric, it's removal by voracious mandibles leaves it rough and coarse looking. The individual threads of the fiber usually become quite evident, hence the euphemism which is infinitly less repellent than "Insect damaged". The recently seen phrase "biopredation", is another euphemism, though presumably much broader in scope than "threading".
- A weasel word used by nearly all booksellers. Usually "first thus". It means, not a first edition. Rather, the first time that the book has appeared in this form, which may mean the first appearance under new title, or the first appearance with a new introduction, or frequently the first with this set of illustrations.
- tipped in:
- Something is said to be "tipped in" a book when it has been attached to a page of the book by it's corners only. The point is that the entire back surface is NOT slathered with glue and firmly attached. When the entire, or most of the back surface of the object it attached, it is "pasted in" or perhaps "glued on". If an entire edge is attached, it may still be refered to as "tipped in". The usual means of attachment is glue or paste, however it is concevable some other means may be used. The object "tipped in" is nearly always of paper, as an illustration, letter, paper sample or such. Illustations "tipped in" lend an aura of quality to books, as it is perceived to be a more expensive and finer way of including illustrations. It is no doubt more expensive, but fine illustrations can be bound in as well and large numbers of tipped in plates tend to swell the text block of the book, potentially creating problems of manufacture, handling and storage.
- The name of a book (which, by the way, cannot be copyrighted). Also the the page of the book where the basic publishing information appears, including Title, author, publisher, city of publication and (sometimes) date of publication. It is not uncommon to find different titles on the the front cover, the spine and/or the title page. The "official" title should be taken from the title page.
- The mild discoloration of book paper due to poor storage and age. See yellowing for a more detailed discussion.
- trade edition
- The edition of the book made available to and sold via the normal distribution and sales network, i.e., bookstores. The term is seldom used except when there exists also a Limited edition.
When a book bears the phrase "first trade edition", you may assume that is was preceeded by some special, probably Limited edition.
- turn in
- The part of the covering material on a hard cover book that wraps over the edge of the cover and is pasted down on the inside edge of the cover board. The covering material may be paper, cloth, leather or other material. The cut edge of the covering material is usually concealed by the paste down end paper.
- a state where the page edge(s) of the book are rough or uneven. This is usually dealt with in the binding process whereby the top, bottom and fore edges of the book are trimmed to be smooth. This is not the same as "unopened".
- A state where the book's pages at the fore edge and/or top are still joined from the folding. This cannot occur if the book has been properly cut(See: uncut). At one time many books were issued unopened, and it is not uncommon to find older books still in this pristine state.
A rare book that is unopened may be considerably more valuable than that same book opened. Therefore, one should consider carefully before opening a book. Of course, you cannot read a book that is unopened, at least not in its entirety.
NOTE: If you wish to "Open" a book in order to read it, DO NOT USE A VERY SHARP BLADE TO OPEN IT. Use something like a letter opener, and gently TEAR the fold, DO NOT CUT THE FOLD. You may find it useful to sharpen the crease at the fold before you attempt to open it. Don't use your finger to open a book, either. That is guaranteed to result in a book that is "Badly Opened", with rough, ragged tears that extend into the page. At one time, Gentlemen carried a "Paperknife" to open books. See "uncut"
- Untawed (not tanned) animal skin that has been scraped clean & thin and treated and preserved with alum. It was a binding material popular in the old days of book making. It was also the common writing material through the fifteenth century, during and after which it was largely replaced by paper.
Since it is not tanned, vellum is usually stiffer than leather, and hard finished. It is generally off-white or cream colored. It soils fairly easily. If kept from dampness it is rather durable. vellum bindings, being more exposed, are less often seen in good condition than vellum pages, which have been protected by the surrounding leaves.
Originally vellum was distinguished from parchment, though this distinction is today largely ignored or forgotten. The combined usage is largely a practical thing, as it is difficult for most to tell the difference on a 500 year old piece. Originally, vellum was produced from the skin of a newborn calf or kid, and regarded as a higher quality skin than parchment which might come from any number of animals.
See: leather. cloth. boards.
- A left hand page, as you look at the open book. With normal pagination, the verso will be an even numbered page. It is the back side of the recto.
- a single book (nearly always), which may or may not be part of a larger group. We often hear this misused as a term for a set of books. The usage "...a volume of books." is wrong, as volume is singular and books is plural. A set of books is refered to as a "Multi-volume set" or, for example, a "three volume set". A "volume" refers to a member of the set.
However, while it is usual to bind each volume as a single book, it is not always done that way. We sometimes see the notation: three volumes bound as one, or the opposite: three volumes bound as six. In the latter case, it would be normal practice to label them as Volume 1, part 1; Volume 1, part 2; Volume 2 part 1....etc. The last volume in such a set would be Volume 3 part 2.
- Soft covers. i.e. paperback. Don't confuse this with "dust wrapper".
- see wrappers.
- The cutting of images on the surface of wood, or the production of images from such cuts. This may refer to woodcut or wood engraving.
See relief as a printing method
- Referring to the edges of a bound book that have been folded over the page edges. This means by design, not by abuse. The binding materal is usually some flexable material, such as limp leather or paper.
- A defect of the paper in a book, where the paper has discolored. It is a visible sign of decay. Good quality paper resists yellowing. Unfortunately, the bibliophile cannot usually tell what paper is prone to yellowing and which is not, at least not until the yellowing occurs.
Virtually all modern paper is manufactured from wood pulp. One of the components of wood is lignin, and unless the lignin is thoroughly washed from the paper, it will, over time, acidify and chemically attack the paper fiber.
The amount and rate of discoloration is going to vary with storage conditions. Higher temperature and higher humidity will hasten yellowing. Since environmental conditions are a major factor, it's not surprising that yellowing usually commences at the edges of the printed page, and slowly intrudes to the center. This is why you often see the catalog notation: "edges yellowed". Toning is the same as yellowing, but implies a very mild case. At the opposite extreme you have browning.
The product of certain publishers, especially publishers of juveniles, seem to be especially prone to paper discoloration. Saalfield is a particular example, and, unfortunately for those of us who remember the classic science fiction of the fifties with great fondness, so is Gnome Press.
- A reference work by Edward N. Zemple entitled First Editions: A Guide to Identification. Now in it's Third Edition, this book has evolved from an interesting idea into a valuable source of information in the current edition. Published by Spoon River Press, in Peoria.
Bear in mind that this book is a compilation of verbatum statements from publishers in direct answer to the question: How to you mark or indicate the first edition of your books? Unfortunately the replys are sometimes so vague or misleading, that one should also refer to Bill McBride's little gem.
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updated March 21, 2003
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