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Glossary of Book and Ephemera Terms and Abbreviations

 

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ABA. 1. Antiquarian Booksellers Association. An organization of independent UK [antiquarian] booksellers. 2. American Booksellers Association. An organization of independent US new booksellers.

 

ABAA. Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America.

 

ABAC / ALAC. Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of Canada / Association de la Librairie Ancienne du Canada.

 

ABookCoOp. Owners and operators of www.TomFolio.com. We are a group of independent used and [antiquarian] book and [ephemera] dealers, the world's first internet bookselling cooperative. For more on the history of TomFolio.com, check out this page.

 

about fine. same as [Near Fine]. See [condition terms].

 

abrasion. [rubbed] area.

 

abridged. shortened or [condensed]. The opposite is [unabridged].

 

acetate. heavy plastic transparent sheet. Some books are issued with acetate [dust jackets], which are usually not printed, and serve the same purpose as a paper jacket, to protect the book. Sometimes called plasticine. Compare [Mylar].

 

acid free. produced without the use of caustic chemicals. Usually refers to paper which, being acid free, will not turn yellow nor stain other papers in contact with it. Most newspapers, many books, and many other printed items from about the 1870s to the 1980s were made with acidic paper, and a good deal still is, thus the pages will turn yellow and brittle over time, and a [clipping] [laid in] a book will leave stains on adjacent pages.

 

accordion folded. folded to the right then to the left several times, in imitation of an accordion. Also called concertina folded, zigzag folded. Such a book is said to have [double-folded pages].

 

accordioned. severely bumped and mashed.

 

ads / advts / adverts. advertisements printed as part of a book or [periodical].

 

advance copy. general term for any pre-publication copy printed for booksellers or reviewers, usually having a plain paper cover, but sometimes bound similar to the regular edition and having a [review slip] [laid in]. See [advance review copy].

 

advance reading copy / ARC / advance reader's edition. [softcover] [advance copy], usually having the same cover art as the [hardcover] book will have. These are sent to bookstores in the hopes of generating more sales.

 

advance review copy. [hardcover] [advance copy] with a press release or other promotional material [laid in]. These are sent to book reviewers in the hopes of getting a good review into print.

 

AEG / aeg. all edges [gilt].

 

aged / age tan / age tanned. another term for [browned].

 

AL / al. see [autograph letter].

 

all edges gilt. the top, [fore-edge] and bottom of the [text block] are colored in [gilt] or gold leaf, or in some cases in silver.

 

ALS / als. see [autograph letter signed].

 

ambrotype. an early type of photograph, invented by Frederick Scott Archer, in use from 1851 to the 1890s, now collectible. Other names are collodion positive, melainotype.

 

albumen print. an early type of photographic print, in vogue from the 1850s to the 1890s, now collectible.

 

AMS / ams. see [autograph manuscript signed].

 

AN / an. [As New]; in the same immaculate condition in which it was published; perfect. See [condition terms].

 

-ana / -iana. suffix denoting an item or a collection of material relating to a specific person or subject; for

example, Americana, Canadiana, Frostiana, Oziana.

 

annotated edition. edition with scholarly notes. Also called a variorum.

 

anthropodermic bibliopegy (Latin: anthropo = human, dermic = of the skin, bibliopegy = book binding). the practice of using human skin as the binding or outer covering of a book.

 

antiquarian. refers to old, rare, collectible antique books rather than merely used books. Usually applied to

high quality, out-of-print, fairly pricey books.

 

anti-theft device / anti-theft implant / security patch. microchip enclosed in a piece of flat, rectangular plastic and affixed to the book or jacket, used in connection with electronic door monitoring devices ("anti-theft portals") as a deterrent to book theft. Used by new book stores and by many libraries. Also called targets, security targets, tags, smart tags, beepers, strips, security strips, Tattle-Tape (brand name).

 

appendix. section of text providing useful supplemental information, usually appearing after the main text. The plural is appendices or appendixes.

 

aquarelle (French: watercolor). a type of color [illustration].

 

aquatint (Latin: water dye). a type of colored [etching] in which the illustration is created on highly polished copper or steel plates by careful application of nitric acid, after which colors are applied to the plates for printing. Perfected in 1768 and used in some books through the 1800s, aquatints have soft tones resembling watercolors or ink-wash drawings. Compare [mezzotint].

 

ARC / arc. See [advance reading copy].

 

archival quality. refers to materials and methods used to permanently preserve and house rare and old items. Archival materials are designed to cause no chemical reactions (for example, [acid free] paper) and are designed to be reversible (that is, they do not adhere to or cause damage to the item).

 

armorial. having a coat of arms, badge, or other hereditary emblem printed on it.

 

art paper. coated paper with a high [glossy] finish.

 

ASIN. Amazon Standard Identification Number. Amazon's bookselling software is keyed to a book's

[ISBN], but ISBNs only date from the late 1960s, and not every book has an ISBN. Their solution to this lack of ISBNs is to create a new code system that functions like the ISBN system, and to assign one of these codes to every non-ISBN book. These codes are called ASINs.

 

as issued. in the original state as published; for example, "CD-ROM in rear pocket, as issued," meaning the book was published with packet in a CD-ROM came, and the set was published together.

 

as new. see [condition terms].

 

association copy. refers to a book that once belonged to the author, or to someone closely associated with the author, or to some important historical figure. Such association tends to increase the item's value to collectors.

 

as usual. refers to a commonly found defect. Often used to describe a defect that often occurs on a title the dealer is familiar with; for example, "lacks map, as usual."

 

auction catalog. book or [booklet] containing names and descriptions of items to be auctioned at a specific place and time. Some auction catalogs contain detailed information, color illustrations, and other useful features, making the catalog collectible.

 

author's edition / authorized edition. printed with permission of the author, as opposed to a [pirated edition].

 

autochrome. early color photo process, patented in the US in 1906 by Auguste and Louis Lumiere of

France.

 

autograph. 1. (adj.) in the handwriting of the author. Also less commonly called holograph. 2. (n.)

handwritten signature of the author; usually referred to as [signed]. Compare [signature].

 

autograph letter / al. letter handwritten by the author.

 

autograph letter signed / als. letter handwritten and [signed] by the author.

 

autograph manuscript signed / ams. [manuscript] witten by the author's hand and [signed] by the author.

 


 

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This glossary was written and compiled by Gwen Foss of Alan's Used Books with thanks to the many independent bookdealers of TomFolio.com