How We Describe our books

We take considerable care over the description of our books and below is an explanation of some of the terms we use.

Books are supplied with dust wrappers only where mentioned in the description. Major defects will be noted in the description. Books are graded as follows:-


Fine (F) or As New - There are no obvious defects unless these are noted.  Generally the book will be in almost perfect condition. There will be no inscription or other writing unless this is noted in the description. A Fine dust wrapper will also be in excellent clean condition without creases, tears or loss. These book would be suitable to give as a gift or to add to your collection.

Near Fine - the book appears to be in excellent condition. Closer examination will show slight evidence of ownership and/or storage. There many be a small inscription or the name of a previous owner but this will be noted in the description. Generally the book will be in near perfect condition. A Near Fine dust wrapper will also be in excellent condition with very slight rubbing at corners. In most cases these books will also be suitable as a gift or to add to a collection.

Very Good (VG) - Slightly below near fine condition but still acceptable to many collectors - the book may have minor faults such as slight fading or foxing, minor bumps or wear but there are no major faults. A VG dust wrapper will be without loss. It will be clean and bright. There may be slight wear to corners and edges & very small edge tears.

Good (G) - the book will be obviously second-hand and previously read but will be complete in all respects unless otherwise described. A Good Dust wrapper will be fairly clean, but may be marked or creased. The edges will be rubbed and worn and may have small tears and/or minor loss.

Acceptable or Reading Copy - The book is well used and may have considerable faults, inscriptions, undelining or notes. The text of the book will still be complete and totally readable but the endpapers may be removed. The book will not be falling to bits but it will not be in collectable condition and is offered as a reading or reference copy.


Other terms & abbreviations


Binding - the cover of the book


Boards - the stiff binding material of most modern books


Bookplate - a pasted in sign of ownership


Cocked spine - refers to a spine which is angled so that the boards do not line up evenly with each other.


Dust wrapper or dust jacket - decorative coloured paper wrapper placed around the book to protect the binding.


Edges - the outer surfaces of the books pages.


Endpaper - sheet of paper pasted to inner covers, joining the book to the covers. One side of the sheet is pasted to the cover the other is left free.


Ex-Library (ex-lib) - a book that was once in a public or school library - may have stamps or labels or other markings


First edition - first appearance in book form. It is a first printing


First Thus - not a first edition, but something is new - new illustrations, new publisher, revised, new introduction etc.


Fly leaf - blank page or sometimes more than one at beginning or end of a book.


Foxing - brown spotting of the paper caused by a chemical reaction.


Frontispiece (frontis) - an illustration at the beginning of the book usually facing the title page.


Impression (imp) or printing - copies printed during any given print run


Inscribed (insc.) - a dedication to the recipient of the book by the giver or sometimes by the author


Prize plate or presentation plate - pasted in plate indicating that the book was originally presented as a prize.


Reading copy - a book which is not in collectable condition but the text is complete and may be of use to some one who wants to merely read it.


Sunned - faded or discoloured from exposure to light.