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Glossary of Book Terms: Condition, Anatomy, Sizes & Abbreviations

Condition Guide

Typical Usage: F/VG - Fine book in very good jacket.

Fine/Like New (F) - No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.

Very Good (VG) - Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive.

Good (G) - The average used book with all pages present. Books with loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine, torn dust jackets, can fall into this category.

Fair (FR ) - Obviously well-worn and handled but no text pages are missing, however, it may be without endpapers or a title page. There might be markings, but they do not interfere with readability.

Poor (P) - All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category.

Book Anatomy


Book Sizes (English & Metric)

All sizes are approximate.

4to, Qto. . . . quarto size (9" x 12" or 22.9cm x 30.5cm)

8vo, Oct. . . . octavo size (6" x 9" or 15.2cm x 22.9cm)

12mo . . . duodecimo size (5" x 7 .5" or 12.7cm x 19.1cm)

16mo . . . sextodecimo (4.25" x 6.75" or 10.8cm x 17.2cm)

24mo . . . twentyfourmo (3.5" x 6" or 8.9cm x 15.2cm)

32mo . . . thirtytwomo (3.25" x 5" or 8.3cm x 12.7cm)

64mo . . . sixtyfourmo (2" x 3" or 5.1cm x 7.6cm)

Atlas folio . . . 16" x 25" or 40.6cm x 63.5cm

Elephant folio . . .14" x 25" or 35.6cm x 63.5cm

Folio (Fo., Fol.) . 12" x 15" or 30.5cm x 38.1cm

Common Abbreviations

A.D. : Autograph document

A.D.s. : Autograph document, signed

Ads, adverts : Advertisements

A.E.G.: All Edges Gilt

A.L. : Autograph letter

A.L.s. : Autograph letter, signed

A.M.s. : Autograph manuscript, signed

auth : author

bce : book club edition

bd. : bound

bdg. : binding

bk : book

bks : books

bkpl : bookplate

bkstrp : backstrip

BMC : British Museum Catalog

brk/brok : broken

buck : buckram

C. & p.: Collated and perfect

ca. : circa, approximately

cat : catalog

CBEL : Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature

chip/chp : chipped

cl: cloth

col : color

conts : contents

cpy : copy

cv : cover

DAB : Dictionary of American Biography

dec/decor : decorated, decoration

dict : dictionary

disb : disbound

dj : dust jacket

DNB : Dictionary of National Biography (British)

doc. : document

dw : dust wrapper

ea : each

ed : editor

edn : edition

Eng./Engl. : English

eng./engr. : engraved

ex-lib/x-lib : ex-library

ep : endpaper

F./ff. : Folio, folios (leaves)

facs : facsimile

f/o : fold out

front : frontispiece

fwd : foreword

fx : foxing (also foxed)

grn : green

hc : hardcover

hf. : half (as in half sheets)

hist : history

hndbk : handbook

hng : hinge

ill/illus : illustrated, illustration

Imp. : Imperial

impft : imperfect

ins : inside

inscr : inscribed

intro. : introduction

Ital. : italic letter

lea. : leather

lf : leaf

lge. : large

lith : lithograph

L.p. : large paper

LS : letter, signed

ltd : limited

mag : magazine

M.e. : marbled edges

Ms/Mss : manuscript(s)

mssg : missing

mrbld : marbled

N.d. : no date

N.F. : Near Fine

N.p. : no place

N.s. : Note, signed

N.V.G .: Near Very Good

Ob./obl. : oblong

oct : octavo

OED : Oxford English Dictionary

op : out-of-print

orig. : original

o/w : otherwise

pamph : pamphlet

pb : paperback

pc : price clipped

P./pp. : page, pages

pg : page

photo : photograph

pict : pictorial

Pl, pls : plate, plates

po : previous owner

pol. : polished

port : portrait

p., pp. : page, pages

prc clpd : price clipped (from dust jacket)

pref : preface

prelims : preliminary leaves

pres : presentation copy

prev : previous

priv prntd : privately printed

pseud : pseudonym(ous)

pt. : part

pub : published or publisher

rbkd : rebacked

reprd : repaired

rev : revised

sc : soft cover

sgd : signed

sig : signature

slpcs : slipcase

sl : slight

sm : small

sp : spine

sq : square

STC : Short-Title Catalog

stns : stains

swd : sewed

T.E.G : top edges gilt

T.L.s : Typed letter, signed

tp : title page

trans : translator

TS : typescript

unb/unbd : unbound

vd/vy : various dates, various years

vol/vols : volume(s)

w.a.f .: with all faults

w/ : with

w/o : without

wn : worn

wr : wear

wrap(s) : wrappers, paperback

wt : weight

yr : year

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