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Glossary Page P

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


Glossary of Book and Ephemera Terms and Abbreviations


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P. poor. (adj.) describes an extremely worn and flawed copy, but one that has the complete text, unless otherwise noted. A poor copy may be worn, stained, have loose [boards] or missing [plates], or have other such flaws as noted. Sometimes called a [reading copy].  See [condition terms].


packworn. describes wear caused to the book as it slid around in a book bag or backpack.


page. one side of a [leaf]. Compare [sheet].


page proof. a [galley proof] with editor's corrections written on it. Without corrections it is called an [unedited galley].


paginated / pagin. printed with page numbers on every page except chapter openings and blanks. Most modern books, apart from [picture books] and some art books, are paginated. See also [unpaginated], [foliated].


pamphlet. 1. small separate work, usually bound without a cover, also called a [booklet]. Compare [leaflet]. 2. volume published with no cover, or with a paper cover, not part of a [series], and having five or more pages and fewer than 49 (Library of Congress definition).


panel. 1. area inside a decorative border. 2. one surface of a [dust jacket].


Pantosete (brand name). an [imitation leather] fabric.


pap. [paperback].


paper. any flexible writing material, manufactured of any of various substances but mainly plant fibers. The first paper was invented by Ts'ai Lun in China in the year 105 CE.


paperback. 1. small inexpensive book bound in a paper cover. The first US paperback was printed in 1831. Today the term generally refers to [mass market paperbacks] published from about 1935 to the present. Usually abbreviated pbk, but also pb, ppb, pap, pbe, pc, pp, or ppr. 2. general term for any [softcover]; that is, any book with a paper cover, as distinguished from a [hardcover]. Also called paperbound or wraps. See [trade paperback].


paperback original / PBO / pbo. a book whose [first edition] was a [paperback]. Most PBOs are [mass

market paperbacks]. Very common with [science fiction] titles.


paper boards. stiff cardboard or [pasteboard] covered in paper. Usually refers to a book with [paper

covered] [boards].


paper covers. another term for [softcover].


paper covered. refers to a [hardcover] where the [boards] are covered in paper, rather than cloth or leather.


paper over boards / pp-ov-bds. another term for [paper covered].


paperwraps. another term for [softcover].


parchment / parch. 1. specially treated sheepskin or goatskin, formerly used for diplomas and records and as a bookbinding material. Parchment, like [vellum], is untanned animal hide; because it is not tanned it is technically not leather. 2. any paper manufactured to imitate parchment, usually having a crisp, heavy texture and a tan to yellowish color.


parts. installments or sections of a large work, published separately in magazine format, or as part of a [periodical], usually monthly. In the 1800s, many novels, such as those by Charles Dickens, were originally published in parts. A group of such parts is called a [serial].


paste action. discoloration of [endpapers] due to the paste used to fix the papers to the [boards]. Not considered a defect.


pasteboard. a stiff type of cardboard produced by laminating sheets of paper together, often used for binding [hardcovers].


pastedown. 1. the portion of the [endpaper] pasted to the inner cover of a book. 2. same as [paste-on].


paste-on. a [label], often having a large color [illustration], pasted to the front of a [hardcover] book, usually

by the publisher or original binder. Also called pastedown, pastelabel, mounted plate, onlaid plate.


PBO / pbo. see [paperback original].


PC / pc. 1. price [clipped]. 2. paper cover, another term for [paperback]. 3. plastic cover, usually referring to a protective transparent cover over the jacket. 4. [postcard]. 5. piece.


pebbled. having a texture similar to tiny pebbles, as some cloth and leather finishes.


peeled. partly or completely stripped due to wear. May refer to damage to a polished leather finish, or

damage to the thin plastic coating on a [glossy] book cover.


penciled. refers to notes or marks made with a pencil, and therefore possibly removable.


penned. refers to notes or marks made with a pen, rather than a pencil, leaving ink that may not be



penny dreadful. cheaply printed book or [booklet], costing one penny, usually providing poorly written horror and hack stories for popular consumption, often consisting of [serial] fiction with a new chapter published every week. Penny dreadfuls became popular in the 1850s, reached a peak in the 1890s, then died out. Compare [dime novel], [pulp].


people's edition. publisher's term for one volume of a [set] of reprints of popular literature produced in uniform, inexpensive bindings. Also called household edition.


perfect binding. an inexpensive binding method, mostly seen in [softcover] books and some magazines. The page edges are trimmed on all sides, glued together along the edge to be bound, then glued into the covers, creating a square, flat [spine]. Perfect-bound books can be identified by the fact that they have no [signatures]. This term comes from the book manufacturing industry and is not commonly used by bookdealers.


perforated. cut with a deliberately positioned row of very small holes or slits, in order that part of a page or sheet may be easily torn off.


perforated stamp. tool that perforates a page with a pattern of tiny holes in the form of letters that give the name of a library or [owner]. Not common; usually found in [ex-library] books of the 1950s or earlier.


periodical. any publication having [issues] appearing at regular intervals, such as a newspaper, magazine, journal, or newsletter.


Permabound (brand name). [paperback] book that has been [rebound] as a [hardcover] for library use. The generic term is [prebind].


Persian morocco. a fine bookbinding leather manufactured in Iran (Persia). See [morocco].


pgs. pages. See [page.]


Phostint (brand name). a patented early color printing process used on souvenir [postcards] manufactured by the Detroit Publishing Company, which was in business 1895 to 1924.


photocopy. 1. a reproduction of an original document. Invented in the 1950s, the photocopy all but replaced the [mimeograph] some time in the 1970s. The process is also called xerography and copies are also called xerographs; the adjective is xerographic. Photocopies tend to be of much lower quality than other forms of printing. Compare [facsimile]. See also [Books on Demand]. 2. to make a photocopy.


photogravure. a type of photo [illustration], common in books prior to the 1960s, produced by projecting light between minute granules of resin onto an emulsion to produce the image. Photogravures somewhat resemble modern photos but usually have a soft, sometimes brownish appearance. Compare [heliogravure].


photomicrograph. photo taken of a view through a microscope. Most often seen in science and engineering books.


photoplay. a [reprint] edition of a novel published at the same time the novel has been made into a film, containing the complete text of the novel and a number of still photos from the film. Photoplays were popular in the early days of motion pictures, from the 1910s to the 1930s. Compare [Fotonovel].


pictorial. 1. having a picture on the cover. 2. having many [illustrations]; in most cases photos.


picture book. a type of children's book consisting mainly of [illustrations], usually in color, usually filling each page, and usually having relatively little text, written for very young readers, or to be read to children.


pirated edition. a publication issued without permission of the author and without payment of royalties to the author or copyright holder; in other words, printed illegally. Pirated editions were exceedingly common in the late 1800s, until copyright laws were tightened. The opposite is an [author's edition] or authorized edition.


pl. see [plate].


place-book. old term for a scrapbook or journal.


plastic comb. see [comb].


plasticated. another term for [laminated].


plasticine. another name for [acetate].


plate. a full-page [illustration] printed separately from the text, often in color or on special paper, often on a [leaf] with a blank rear. May be [tipped in] or [bound in]. In contrast, [illustrations] printed directly on text pages are usually called "in text" or "cuts."


playbill. 1. poster or [flyer] advertising a theatrical performance or movie. 2. another name for a [program].


pls / plts. plates. See [plate].


Pluviusin (brand name). an [imitation leather] fabric.


PO / po. previous owner. See [owner].


POI / poi. previous owner's inscription. Usually refers to a short note written by an ordinary individual whose [autograph] is not collectible.


point of issue / point. a distinguishing characteristic, often but not necessarily an error, that occurs within a [first edition] and indicates the chronological order of [printings]. When a change is made after the first batch of copies has been printed, the second batch, while still technically firsts, are not considered to be [true firsts] by the serious collector. Reference guides are available that describe points of issue for collectible books. See also [first edition], [true first], [state].


polybag. a [polyvinyl] bag, open along the top or along one edge, often with a flap along the open edge, used to store fragile items such as [comic books], [postcards], and [booklets].


polychrome. in multiple colors. The opposite is [monochrome].


polyglot (Latin: many tongues). a book printed in several languages. The most common book thus published is the Bible. See also [hexapla], [octapla].


polyvinyl / polyethylene / poly. thin, tough, flexible, highly transparent plastic material, often used to make protective sleeves and covers. [Mylar] is a polyvinyl brand name. Compare [acetate], [cellophane].


PON. previous owner's name. See [owner].


poor / P. see [condition terms].


pop-ups / popups. a type of [illustration] that is [die-cut] and inserted so as to lift off the page and become

three dimensional when the book is opened. The earliest pop-up books appeared in the 1500s, but such

books did not become commonplace until the 1800s. Also called movables, mechanicals.


portfolio. 1. group of [unbound] sheets, often having diagrams or [illustrations], enclosed between covers which open like the covers of a book. 2 group of sheets, enclosed between covers which open like the covers of a book, the whole bound by a cord threaded through two or three edge holes and knotted. Souvenir pictures of tourist attractions are commonly published as portfolios.


portrait / port. [illustration] of a person or small group of people.


POS / pos. previous owner's signature. Usually refers to the signed name of an ordinary individual whose [autograph] is not collectible. See [owner].


postcard / PC / pc. a collectible type of [ephemera] consisting of small piece of [card stock], usually measuring (9 x 14 cm) 3 1/2" x 5 1/2", printed on one side with a decorative or color [illustration], the other side reserved for writing a note, addressing, and affixing postage. See also [real photo].


pp. 1. pages. 2. [paperback].


p/p or P&P or P+P. postage and packing. Another term for s/h (shipping and handling), mainly used in UK.


ppd. postpaid. A term meaning shipping costs are already included in the price.


pp-ov-bds. paper over boards. See [paper covered].


prebind. general term for any [paperback] book that has been [rebound] as a [hardcover] for library use. There are a number of brand names for bindings of this sort, including MackinBound, Permabound, Textmount, Turtleback, Vinabind.


prediction. advertisement, usually a page at the rear, announcing the next book to come. A common feature of fiction [series] from the 1700s to the present.


preface / pref. author's introductory statement. Compare [foreword].


preliminary matter / prelims. another term for [front matter].


presentation copy. copy of a book actually given by the author to someone of his/her personal acquaintance, usually with an [autograph] [inscription] testifying to this fact.


previous owner. another term for [owner].


previous owner's name / PON. usually refers to a name written inside the book. See [owner].


price clipped. see [clipped].


priced jacket. a [dust jacket] having the price printed on it. This indicates the jacket is not [clipped]; also, the presence of the price usually indicates that the item is not a [book club edition].


primer. basic [reader] or beginner's school book. (Pronounced PRIM-mer.)


printed cover. a [dust jacket] that is only lettered, with no [illustrations] or designs of any sort.


printers key. a string of numbers printed on the [copyright page] of a book indicating which print run the

particular specimen was printed in. Usually called the [number line].


printing. (n.) refers to a batch of copies made at one time, from the same set of plates, as in "1st edition, 8th printing." Also called an impression. Abbreviated ptg, prtg, prtng. See also [first edition], [true first], [state].


private press. a small publishing company, often operated by one person, often devoted to the production of small quantities of high quality books.


privately printed. printed by an individual or a group and meant for private circulation, not public sale.


prize label. sticker denoting the item was awarded as a prize.


process printing. another term for [photo-engraving]; in other words, the production and printing of [engravings] with the aid of photography. The earliest example dates to 1827; the process became commercially viable in the 1870s.


proclamation. a type of [ephemera] consisting of an official notice bearing the word "proclamation" in the [headline].


proem (from Greek: a song before). old term for an [introduction] or [preface].


prof. professional or professionally (example: "prof reback" = professionally [rebacked]).


program / programme. a type of [ephemera] listing the performers, speakers, musical numbers, or other features of a specific entertainment, ceremony, or event.


proof. a special printing that precedes the published book, done as a test run to check for errors. The normal sequence of pre-publication printings is [galleys], [uncorrected proof], and [advance copy].


prospectus. a publisher's announcement of a forthcoming publication with information about the price, authors or contributors, date of publication, binding, and other details; in other words, an overproduced advertisement.


provenance. 1. ownership history, or a description of who once possessed, a given book. 2. evidence

supporting ownership history, such as an auction record or bill of sale. Provenance connecting an important

person to a specific item may increase its value.


prt / prtg / prtng / ptg. see [printing].


pseudonym (Greek: false name). an assumed name adopted by an author, usually to conceal his/her identity. Also called a pen name; or in French, nom de plume. Pseudonyms were common in the 1800s. In some cases the public was quite aware of the author's real name; for example, it was no secret that "Mark Twain" was the pen name of Samuel Clemens.


ptd. printed.


pub. 1. publisher. 2. published.


publication data page. another term for [copyright page].


publication date. date a book is formally placed on sale.


publisher's binding. any binding supplied by the publisher. Also called trade binding.


pulled. slightly out of alignment but not detached. Usually refers to a [signature]. Also called started.


pulp. 1. very cheap, poor quality paper made from wood fiber. 2. an inexpensive book or [periodical] printed on cheap, poor quality paper, usually written quickly and priced low for popular consumption. First appearing in 1896, pulps superceded [dime novels] and flourished until they died out in the 1950s. Compare [penny dreadful].



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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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