Glossary of Book Terms
1/2 Leather: When the spine and corners of the boards are covered in leather and the boards are cloth or paper.
1/4 Leather: When the spine is covered in leather and the boards are either paper or cloth.
12mo: Duodecimo or twelvemo, book stands between 7"-7 1/2" tall
16mo: Sextodecimo or sixteenmo, book stands between 6"-7" tall
1st Ed. Thus: (see "First Edition Thus")
1st trade ed: (see "First Edition Thus")
24mo: Vegisemo-quarto or twenty-fourmo. Book stands between 5" and 6" tall
3/4 Bound: When the spine and large amount of the boards are covered in leather and the rest of the boards are paper or cloth.
32mo: Trigesimo-decundo. Book stands between 4" and 5" tall
48mo: Quadragesimi-octavo. Book stands between 3 1/2" and 4" tall
4to: Quarto. Book stands between 9" and 13" tall
64mo: Sexagesimo-quarto. Book stands between 3" and 3 1/2" tall
8vo: Octavo. Book stands between 7 1/2" and 9" tall. The average hardcover is 8vo.
Advance Reading Copy: An advance prepublication copy of the book sent to reviewers and booksellers, usually softcover.
All Edges Gilt: Edges of pages cut smooth and gilded to protect from dust.
As Issued: Book is in original condition, with all parts present.
Backstrip: Covering of the book's spine
bds: (See "Boards")
Beveled Edges, Boards: A style of binding where the edges of the boards have been bevelled, ie cut to a slanting angle.
Bibliomania: A madness for books, a bibliomaniac is a book collector with a slightly wild look in his eye.
Bilbliophily, Bibliophile: The love of books, a lover of books
Binding Cover of the Book: (See "boards, waps, wrappers")
Blank Leaves, Blanks: Binder's blank sheets usually found between the end papers and title page, and between the end of the text and rear endpapers.
Blindstamp: A decorative pattern or lettering that has been impressed onto the boards or leather.
Boards: Refers to the covers of a hard cover book, the spine not included.
Bookplate: A label stating previous ownership, usually found on an endpaper.
Book-Stamp: a stamp indicating previous ownership, either in ink or blind.
Broken Type: Caused from a deterioration in the plates during the process of a printing, often used to distinguish between issues or states.
Calf: Leather from the hide of a calf, one of the most common type of leather used in bookbinding
Chip, Chipping: When the color on the surface of the book or dust jacket has begun to chip away, or the loss of tiny pieces along the edges of the dust jacket.
Cloth: Boards that have been covered in cloth, i.e. cloth bound
Cocked: A spine that has become slanted, the boards are no longer square with each other.
Colophon: A statement following the text providing all or some of the following information: title, author, printer, place of printing, date
Contemporary: Usually referring to the books binding, that it is done in the style of the decade in which it was printed.
Copyright Page: The reverse side of the title page, lists printing information, copyright, pulisher, printer, etc.
Covers: The book's binding, see boards, wraps, cloth, leather
Cracked: When the hinges or binding of a book have started to pull away from the spine but is still holding.
Cuts: Referring to small illustrations incororporated into the text (as opposed to plates).
Damp Stain: A stain caused by contact with moisture, sometimes appears as a ripple in the paper, a tan stain or water spot
Deckle Edges: When the edges of the text block have not been evenly trimmed.
Dentelle: A lacy patterned border found on the inner edge, most often on the inside of the boards.
Device: A decorative design used by the publisher or printer as their imprint on the book.
Disbound: A binding that has come undone, or boards that are no longer attached
Dos-a-Dos: Two books that have been bound togeter, one upside down from the other, sharing the same spine.
Dust Jacket, DJ: A paper cover, usually decorated, that wraps around a books boards and spine.
e.p.: Endpaper
ed.:Edition
Edges, Block Edges: The outer edges of the leaves of a book, see also "Block"
Edition: All copies of a book printed from one type setting
Elephant Folio: Book that stands over 23" tall
Endpaper: The first and last two papers of a text block, one being pasted to the inside of the board. Often endpapers are marbled or illustrated.
Engravings: Illustrations made using the intaglio or relief printing process.
Ephemera: A piece of nostalgic memorablia, often pamphlets, brochures or braodsides.
Ex-Lib: Ex-Library
Ex-Library: A book previously owned by a library. May include library markings, stamps, card pocket or library binding
Ex-Libris: Meaning "from the library of." Refers to a private owner as apposed to a public library.
f.e.p.: Front endpaper
f.f.e.p.: Front free endpaper
f.p.d.: Front paste down
Facsimile: An exact copy of the original.
Fall-down-back Box: A protective box for the book with a double hinge enabling it to lay flat when open.
First Edition: The first appearance of a book
First Edition Thus: The first edition in this form.
First Trade Edition: The first edition printed for general sale.
Folio: Book stands between 15" and 23" tall
Fore Edge: The outer edge of the text block, or page leaves, opposite the spine.
Fore-edge Painting: A small painting, often a landscape, painted on the outer edge of the text block, only visible by fanning the pages slightly.
Foxing, Foxed: Referring to small tan spots that can appear on the binding or paper of a book, caused by acidity.
Frontispiece: The illustration or plate facing the title page.
Full Bound: When the binding on the boards and spine is all the same, i.e. full bound leather.
Galley: One form of a pre publication of a book, often in plain wrappers, sent to editors and reviewers. See advance reader & proof
Gilt Edges: All three edges of the text block are cut smooth and gilded
Glassine: A Translucent dust jacket, looks like onion paper
Gutter: Inner margin
Half Title: An abbreviated title page bound in before the actual title page.
Headband: A cloth band that decorates the head and foot (or tail) of the spine
Hinge: Where the boards meet the spine, usually refers to the inside of the book.
Inscribed: A signature by the author, artist or other affiliate of the book, that includes a note to the recipient.
ISBN (International Standard Book Number): The unique ten-digit number which identifies every new book now printed. The ISBN appears on the copyright page (usually on the reverse side of the title page) and/or as part of the barcode on a book's cover. Note that books prior to approximately 1970 often do not have an ISBN.
Joint: Where the boards meet the spine, usually refers to the outside of the book.
Laid In: A letter, note or other piece of loose paper that is inserted into the book but not bound in or glued.
Leaf: One piece of paper, forming one page, consisting of both sides (recto and verso)
Limited Edition: An edition of a book that has been held to a rather small number of printings, usually numbered individually
List Price: The publisher's original price.
Marbled: A form of decoration done to paper, similar in appearance to the swirls inside a marble, usally used for endpapers and on boards
Margins: The white boarder surrounding the text on any given page, head, tail, outer or inner.
Miniature: A book that stands under 3" tall
Modern First: A first edition published during the 20th century.
Morocco: A leather made from the hide of a goat, a heavy-duty leather suited for dyeing bright, bold colors.
N.D.: No Date
No Date: No date is noted on the title page or copyright page.
Offset: The transfer of ink from one page onto the facing page as a result of the papers being stacked before the ink is completely dry
Out of Print: When the publisher is out-of-stock of a particular book, only second-hand copies are available
p.d.: Paste down endpaper
Page: One side of a leaf.
Paste Down: The endpaper that is glued to the inside of the boards.
Plates: A whole page illustration, often printed on different paper than the text.
Presentation Copy: A copy of a book presented by the author, often to someone notable
Previous Owner's Inscription: When a previous owner has noted their name, gift inscription or other information in ink on a page in the book, usually an endpaper.
Price Clipped: When the publisher's price has been clipped off the dust jacket flap.
Private Press: A small press, usually printing small numbers of quality books.
Private Printing: Refers to a small number of books printed for a particular person or group, usually intended for private use.
Proof: One form of a pre publication copy of a book, usually in plain wrappers, see also advance reader, galley
Pub: Publisher, published
Raised Bands: When the leaves of a book are sewn together on horizontal cords, then covered, the cords stand out and are visible on the spine.
Rebacked: A method of repair done to the spine, and usually the joints/hinges. When possible the original spine is saved and glued over the repaired one.
Rebound: When a books original binding has been replaced by a new one.
Recased: When a book's boards have been reattached to the original spine, sometimes with new endpapers.
Recto: The right hand page of an open book, or the front side of a leaf.
Remainder (Mark): A mark made by the publisher on the edge of the text block. Denotes a book that was returned and has been re-sold at a discount
Review Copy: A pre publication copy of a book sent to reviewers, often containing review slip or publication information.
Review Slip: A slip laid in a book announcing the publication date and price of a book
Rubbed, Rubbing: A light form of wear from general use of a book, often in the form of fading or fraying.
Shaken: A binding that is becoming loose but is still attached
Sheet: A printer's unit. Four pages are printed per sheet for a folio, and then folded in half, to form two leaves. Eight pages are printed for a quarto, to form four leaves. Sixteen pages are printed for an octavo, to form eight leaves, and so on.
Signature: The groupings of leaves that are formed by folding single sheets together, these are sewn together to form a book.
Signed: A book that has been autographed by the author or illustrator.
Slipcase: A box with one open side for the book to slide in and out of.
Spine: The edge of the book that faces out when a book is on a shelf, the part of the book where the signatures are gathered and binding is made
State: Refers to the priority of copies within an edition, usually in reference to small changes that were made during a printing
t.p.: Title Page
Tail: The bottom margin of a leaf or the foot of the backstrip or spine.
Tail-Piece: An ornament found in the blank space, toward the bottom of the page, at the end of a chapter.
Text Block: All the pages that have been sewn together to form the book, located between the boards.
Tipped In: A method of inserting plates into a book. A small amount of glue or gum is placed on the corners of the plate which is then attached to one of the bound in pages.
Title Page: The page at the begining of a book bearing the title, author and usually the publisher and date.
Trade Edition: The average published edition, as apposed to a limited edition.
Unbound: When the leaves are loose, usually refers to a book that was never bound.
Uncut: A text block that has not been trimmed during the binding or re-binding process.
Unopened: When neighboring leaves have not been separated with a paper knife.
Variant: A Copy of an edition that exhibits some variation from another copy of the same edition, in the text, title pg, illustration, paper etc.
Vellum: A thin sheet of calf skin, de-greased and treated, used for binding or printing on.
Verso: The back side of the leaf, the left hand page of an open book.
Vignette: A small ornamental design usually found on the title page or at the begining or end of a chapter.
Vol.: Volume
Wrappers: The paper covers of a softcover, or paperback book.
Yapp, Yapp Edges: A style of binding, usually a limp leather, in which the edges of the wrappers overlap the edges of the text block.