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Bookbinding Dict.

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Book Nook of Orange County

TERMS AND DEFINITIONS: The jargon used by book people can sometimes be confusing. Below is some information that will help you understand the specialized terms used in describing book conditions.

These definitions reflect an idealized standard: different booksellers may have slightly different uses of the below terms. These are therefore offered as general guides, rather than definitive statements.

HARDBACKS (HB): Usually shown in the form of VG/VG, Fine/Good, VG/--, etc. The 1st part is for book condition, the 2nd is for dust jacket (DJ). If "/--" is present, it usually means no DJ.
- AS NEW - To be used only when the book is in the same immaculate condition to which it was published. No defects, no missing pages, no library stamps, etc. The DJ (if issued with one) must be perfect, without tears.
- FINE (F or FN) - Approaches As New, but without being crisp. There must also be no defects, etc., and if the DJ has a small tear, or other defect, or looks worn, this should be noted.
- VERY GOOD (VG) - Shows some small signs of wear, but no tears, on either binding or paper. Any defects must be noted.
- GOOD (G) - The average used worn book that has all pages or leaves present. Any defects must be noted.
- FAIR - Worn; has complete text pages (including those with maps or plates) but may lack endpapers, half-title, etc. (must be noted). Binding, DJ (if any), etc., may also be worn. All defects must be noted.
- POOR - Sufficiently worn that its only merit is as a Reading Copy because it does have the complete text, which must be legible. Any missing maps or plates should still be noted. May be soiled, scuffed, stained or spotted and may have loose joints, hinges, pages, etc.

PAPERBACKS: A letter grade system is often used.
- "A" grade - An unread book. No store stamps on the edges, inside the front cover, etc. As close to perfect as possible. Typically very difficult to find for books written in the 1980s and near impossible for those in the 1970s and earlier.
-"B" grade - Slightly creased in the spine. Might have name, initials, light stamp in the book.
- "C" grade - Creases in the spine and maybe on the tips of the cover. Basically, a reader's copy.

For other specialized book terminology, please click on the "Glossary" or the "Bookbinding Dictionary" buttons to the left.

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