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Glossary Page O

Page history last edited by Gwen Foss 15 years, 4 months ago


Glossary of Book and Ephemera Terms and Abbreviations


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oasis. a high quality goatskin leather, usually used for binding only very expensive books.


oblong / ob. 1. refers to any shape or object that is wider than it is tall. 2. refers to a short, wide book, wider than it is tall. This shape is commonly seen in modern softcover gift books, inspirational books, and some humor books. (In computers, the oblong format is called "landscape" to distinguish it from the more common upright format, called "portrait.")


obverse. front or right-hand page of a book, also called the [recto]. Normally, page 1 is an obverse page, and right-hand pages carry odd numbers. The opposite page is the [verso].


ochre / ocher. a color between orange and yellow.


octapla. multilingual book printed in eight languages, or with eight versions of the text, usually printed side by side for comparison. Term usually describes a Bible or a printing of Biblical parts. The famous scholar Origen printed an Old Testament octapla in the 3rd century, using the Hebrew text and seven different Greek translations. See also [hexapla].


octavo. 8vo. see [size terms].


odor. a [musty] smell that emanates from some poorly-stored books, caused by colonies of bacteria or [mildew] which flourish in dampness. In general, odorous books are of no value; however, if the subject matter warrants it, a book with a slight odor may be offered for sale, in which case the odor should be noted. Such books can be deodorized with the right products and procedures.


offprint. separate printing of a section of a larger publication. The term usually refers to an article reprinted from a [periodical], as distinguished from a [clipping].


offset. 1. a type of printing method using the transfer of ink from one page to another. 2. unintentional transfer of ink from a page to a facing page, often from an [engraving], but sometimes from a page of text; [tissue guards] were created to prevent unintentional offset.


omnibus edition / omnibus. refers to a book that contains a collection of writings, all previously published

separately. Omnibus editions often contain recent [fiction] by popular authors.


OOP / oop. see [out of print]. Usually abbreviated OP.


ooze sheep. soft, velvety sheepskin, turned underside out, sometimes used for flexible leather bindings.


OP / op. see [out of print].


open tear. rip or tear in which material is missing. The opposite is a [closed tear].


opened. the opposite of [unopened].


or. / orig. original; as in "original leather," "original cloth."


or.bds. original [boards].


or.cl. original cloth. Refers to a binding of cloth-covered [boards] as manufactured by the publisher; that is, not [rebound].


or.cl.d.w. [original cloth] with original [dust wrapper].


Otabind (brand name). a type of [layflat binding].


out of print / OP / op / oop. discontinued; no longer being published. When a book goes out of print it is no longer available as a new book and must be sought on the used book market.


out of series. overrun or extra copy of a [limited edition]. Usually refers to a book with a [limitation notice] but lacking an actual number.


overstock. another name for a [remainder].


OW / ow / o/w. otherwise, as in "scribble on page 23, o/w clean."


owner. person who previously possessed the book. The term usually refers to an ordinary individual whose [autograph] or memorabilia is not collectible.



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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



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