Book Condition Guide   Book Collecting   Book Care & Cleaning   Book Terminology



 Terminology Main Page | Terminology H-Z



Advance Review Copy (ARC)


Also known as Reader's or Reading Copy, a special pre-publication copy of a book that is used for review purposes. Generally softbound in wrappers, that are sometimes similar to the dust jacket art of the first trade edition. There may also be some textual differences between an ARC and a first edition. In some cases, an ARC is issued as a hardcover with a review slip laid in by the publisher. It is preceded by an uncorrected proof copy for author's corrections, publicity, and promotion, which are usually published in plain wrappers and could have substantial textual differences from the finished published book.

Association Copy

These are books that once belonged to the author or that were signed or annotated by the author, either to someone closely associated with the author or to someone closely associated with the book itself. These can also be books inscribed by the author to a famous person, or owned by someone of interest.

Authors Edition

A book authorized by the author, generally applied in the case of a foreign edition of the book around the turn of the last century, due to many titles being pireated or "unauthorized."



Strips used by binders to reinforce the back of folded sheets inthe binding of a spine.


Reference work detailing known published titles on a given subject or by a given author.


A lover of books.


Material used to make a protective cover for books (Ex: leather, cloth, buckram, paper, etc.)

Binding Copy

Book in which the text block is complete and serviceable, but the binding is defective or incomplete.


Any attack on books that is made by living matter, such as insects and mildew.


Also known as Stamped or Tooled, it is an impressed into the paper or binding without color, meaning only the impression is left.


The front and back covers of a hardcover book.

Book Club Edition
(BCE, BOMC, etc)

Editions of books that were published by book clubs such as The Book-of-the-Month Club, Fireside Book Club, History Book Club, etc.

Book Jacket

Also called a dust jacket or dustrapper, it is a separate paper covering for a book.


Small books, usually only a few pages long and bound in wrappers.

Book Plate

Ownership labels that are usually placed inside the front cover of a book. Many book plates have become collectible because of the designer or owner, though others can lower the value of books that were printed in the last 50 years.


A heavy weave of binding cloth.


When the corners or spine ends of a book have been damaged by being dropped, or carelessly handled or shelved.



Covers that enclose a book, generally made of thick cardboard, and covered with cloth, paper, or leather.


When a book has one or more pages sliced out of the text block by the publisher after it has been bound, the new printed matter that is pasted on to the stubs is referred to as a "canel" or "cancellans".


Books produced from the 17th century until present time that are small and inexpensive, they were originally sold by "chapmen", peddlers, and hawkers.

Chapter Book

Modern term that refers to books for older children that are organized into chapters.


Small pieces broken off of dust jackets or bindings.

Circa (Ca)

Approximate date when actual date is unknown.

Closed Tear

A tear in a book with no material mising.


Paper is smooth and polished, something has been applied to the surface to make it appear glossy.


When looking down at the head of a book and the corners are not square, it is cocked or rolled. Also called a spine slant.


Illustrations made when the printing plate was engraved on copper, a method introduced before the end of the 15th century.



Stain left on the cover or pages of a book that have been exposed to water.

Deckle Edge

Unevent and uncut edges that are found on books printed on hand-made paper that was not trimmed by a binder. Sometimes it is simulated on regular paper.


If it is not part of a decorated cover, a dimple is a small indentation on a books cover or pages that is a defect.


Bumps or dents that leave an impressing on a book, caused by careless handling or storage.


usually refers to the edge of pages and the binding of a book that are worn and ragged. Also refers to the corners of pages being turned down.

Dust Jacket

A separate covering for a book that is made of paper. They were originally intended as protection for the book but today they now include information about the book.



The copies of a book that are printed from the same setting of type, at one time or over a period of time. There are no major changes, additions, or revisions to the book, only minor changes such as correcting misspelled words and adding a dedication may be made.


Double leaves that are added to a book by a binder that become pastedowns and free endpapers inside the front and rear covers. The are used to hold the text block and case together.


Books that have been deaccessioned from a public library or collection. Ex-Libris refers to books from a private collection.


First Edition

First printing of a book that is done from the original setting of type. Used to describe any printing done with the original setting until the type is altered enough to constitute and second edition. Today it means the very first printing of copies done at the same time.


Plain papers at the front and end of a book that come after the endpapers.


Brown ages spots on papers that are thought to be caused by impurities in the paper.


Gilt Edges

When the edges of pages are cut so that they are smooth and gilded, or covered with a thin layer of gold leaf.


Inner margins of two facing pages.