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Frequently Asked Questions

Terminology Used in Book Descriptions


The terminology and grading to describe books is generally standard in the bookselling trade.

Below are others that we use to make clear distinction between other copies that were for sale at the time of listing or to clarify a book's characteristics or faults.

First Edition, First Printing - This is confirmation that the book carries the publisher's number string to identify it as a First Printing and Not a later printing. This will normally have the number 1 present although there are exceptions. Older publishers often used the naming of a later edition,impression or printing on the copyright page.

Age Darkening / Age Toning - Pages are darkened usually only to edges and closed edges caused by the quality of the paper and sometimes on older books.

Foxing - Brownish-yellow spots, varying in intensity caused by chemical action in poor quality paper and not uncommon on many older books. Sometimes this is only on the closed edges and early pages.

Not Book Club - The book is NOT one of the cheaply produced Book Club Editions but is from the orginal publisher.

Gift Quality - This is what we use to refer to books that have no previous ownership marks, no wear or defects present and are ones that we consider would make a suitable gift. Please seek advice if you intend to purchase a book as a special gift.

Not EX LIB - The book is NOT an Ex Library discard from a public or other institution library with all it's attendant faults including removal of front endpaper.

Uncut - Edges are untrimmed by the binder's knife or guillotine. Usually present on older books but has become fashionable in later modern editions.

Uniform - Applies to sets or books with a standard binding style and size or a published series.

Uninscribed / Unmarked - There are no indications of previous owner's name or other writing present. An important piece of information when purchasing as a gift.

Unopened - The folded pages have never been opened and need to be opened up before being able to be read. Usually present only on some very old books and is considered a plus point as condition of pages will be better than normal. These should only be opened with a non metal knife or card.

Book Sizes

4to - over 9" - 12" tall ; 8vo - over 7" - 9" tall ; 16mo - over 5" - 6" tall ; 24mo - over 5" - 5" tall ; 32mo - over 4" - 5" tall ; 48mo - over 3" - 4" tall ; 64mo - up to 3" tall ; Folio - over 12" - 15" tall ; Elephant Folio - over 15" - 23" tall ; Atlas Folio - over 23" - 25" tall ; Double Elephant - over 25" - 50" tall


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