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Glossary Page S

Page history last edited by Gwen Foss 15 years, 2 months ago


Glossary of Book and Ephemera Terms and Abbreviations


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S.A. / s.a. (Latin: sine anno = without year). no date is listed. This is an old bibliographer's term. If the correct date is actually known, or can be guessed at, it is often listed in brackets. Usually indicated by [ND] ("no date").


saddle stitch. simple form of binding consisting of two or three metal staples along the center fold of a sheaf of pages. Such books are generally called [booklets] or [pamphlets]. Also called saddle staple, stapleback, stapled wraps, fold-and-staple. Compare [side stitch]. Most magazines are saddle stitched; those with a square, flat spine are usually [perfect bound].


salesman's dummy. see [dummy] (sense 1).


same date / sd. indicates that the date on the [title page] and the date on the [copyright page] are the same, evidence the book may be a [first edition].


sans. lacking; without.


SB / sb. softbound; another name for [softcover].


SC / sc. 1. [softcover]. 2. [slipcase].


scarce. refers to an item that might only turn up every two or three years. Not as uncommon as [rare]. This term has started to go by the wayside with the advent of internet used-book shopping.


science fiction. a type of [fiction] in which the use of science or technology figures importantly. Coined by science fiction magazine editor Hugo Gernsback in 1929, who had in 1926 called it scientifiction. Abbreviated SF, sci-fi, scifi.


sci-fi / scifi. [science fiction].


scorched. blackened, and perhaps warped, from being in a fire or near a heat source. Also called singed.


screw-post binding. similar to a [looseleaf] binding, but instead of rings that open up, there are three (or more) solid metal posts or tubes affixed to the rear cover so that they are vertical when the book is laid down. Each post is capped with a screw or wingnut which is screwed onto the post. To add or remove pages, the screws are removed and the front cover is lifted off. This form of binding is not usually used for commercial publications but rather for business reports and the like.


scrollwork. ornaments resembling long, narrow, ribbon-like strips with rolled, spiral, or convoluted forms.


scuffed. a defect similar to [rubbed], but notably worse, with bits of the surface missing.


SD / sd. see [same date].


S.D. / s.d. (Latin: sine datum, or English: sans date = without date). no date is listed. Usually indicated by [ND] ("no date").


self-wraps. bound in the same type of paper as the body of the work. For example, newspapers and most [pamphlets] are self-wraps. Sometimes called self-bound; generally not called [softcover].


sepia-tone. a type of [illustration], usually a photo, with a soft brown quality.


ser. see [series].


serial. refers to a piece of [fiction] published in [parts] rather than as a complete book.


series / ser. group of volumes with a common theme, issued in succession, usually by a single publisher; may be [fiction] or [nonfiction]. A series is open-ended; in other words, with no foreseeable end, and as such it differs from a [set].


serigraph. an [illustration] made by silkscreen, in which the image is cut into a stencil adhered to a fine screen, and ink is squeegeed through the screen onto paper.


set. general term for two or more volumes published together and intended as a group. A set is not open-ended in nature; in other words, there is a finite amount of information and a planned end to the publication. Compare [series].


sextodecimo. 16mo. See [size terms].


sewed. (adj.) stitched without a cover. Early [pamphlets] and small [booklets] were usually sewed.


SF / sf. [science fiction].


sgn. [signature].


S/H or s/h. shipping and handling.


shadowed. 1. pages are [yellowed] around the edges, a normal result of the acid content of some types of paper. 2. part of a page is yellowed from being against a slip of acidic paper such as a newspaper [clipping].


shaken (adj.). describes a book where the binding is damaged: the hinges are [starting] and the [textblock] is beginning to come loose.


shape book. book, usually a children's book or novelty item, which has been [die-cut] or trimmed into an unusual shape as part of the publication process.


sharkfin. part of a [corgorbled] page that protrudes beyond the edge of the [textblock]. Not considered a serious defect.


sheet. 1. any piece of paper. 2. one whole piece of paper within a binding, having two leaves, and thus four pages. Compare [leaf], [page].


sheet music. a type of [ephemera], often [collectible], consisting of one popular song published separately, with the complete music, lyrics, and attractive cover art. One piece of sheet music may have only one fold and four pages; when it has more than four pages, the inner pages are usually [laid in], not bound.


shelf-back. another name for the [spine].


shopworn. (adj.) having wear caused to a book as it sat in a bookstore waiting to be sold.


shrinkwrap. a layer of thin, tight-fitting, sealed transparent plastic completely enclosing a book, which might indicate the copy is new and has not been touched or opened since it was published. Shrinkwrap shrinks continuously over time and will warp the item if it is left in place and intact year after year.


side notes. items printed in the [margins] by the publisher. Compare [margin notes].


side stitch. simple form of binding consisting of two or three staples placed through a sheaf of pages or a group of [signatures] near the fold, rather than through the fold; the staples are then hidden beneath the covers. Common in children's [hardcovers], for example, Little Golden Books are side stitched. Such books are also called stabbed or flat stapled. Compare [saddle stitch].


signature / sgn / sig. group of pages produced by folding a large printed sheet in half, sometimes then folding it in half several more times so its dimensions are greatly reduced, before binding it into a book. Also called a gather or gathering. See [size terms]. Compare [autograph], [signed].


signed. having the [autograph] name of a notable person. Compare [signature].


singed (singe: to burn the edges). another term for [scorched].


silhouette. an [illustration] showing only the shadow or outline of the subject, usually in profile, usually printed in solid black but sometimes having added detail. Silhouettes were a common form of [portrait] prior to the invention of photography.


silver age. refers to collectible [comic books] from about 1955 to the 1970s.


silverfished. damaged by a small boring insect known as a silverfish.


silvered. covered or stamped with silver leaf, usually referring to silver lettering or a decorative silver coloring on the top edge of the pages. The equivalent term for gold leaf is [gilt].


silver print / silver gelatin print. an early type of photograph printed on special paper treated with silver nitrate; such prints have a silvery sheen and are highly susceptible to fading.


simulated / sim / simul. imitation.


SKU / sku. Stock Keeping Unit. Usually pronouced "skew." General term for any system of retail product codes utilizing a unique number code for each specific product. Standardized SKUs are used in the retail industry to handle computerized inventory chores. Dealers in used books and ephemera generally do not use standardized SKUs (known as [ISBNs]) but set up their own inventory numbering system for their own stock.


sl. 1. slightly 2. slight.


S.L. / s.l. (Latin: sine loco = without location). no place of publication is listed. This is an old bibliographer's term. If the place of publication is actually known, it is listed in brackets. The more recent term is [NP] ("no place").


S.L.A.N. / s.l.a.n. (Latin: sine loco, anno, vel nomine = without place, date, or name). the book in hand lists none of the usual publication data. See [NP].


slander. the circulation of defaming information, usually by word of mouth. Compare [libel].


slanted. does not stand perfectly vertically on shelf; [cocked].


slick. coated with a shiny, smooth surface. More or less equivalent to [glossy], but implying a tough, dense coating that will withstand much wear and can be easily wiped clean. Many modern books, particularly [textbooks] and [picture books], have slick covers. Also called coated, laminated, plasticated.


slight / slightly / sl. flawed but not seriously.


slipcase. box or case, usually of cardboard, that holds a book with only the [spine] exposed. Abbreviated sc or s/c. See also [ribbon pull]. A slipcase with two separate slots is a [double slipcase].


sm. small.


sm8vo. small 8vo. See [size terms].


sm4to. small 4to. See [size terms].


smamped. smeared with something that looks like jam, a fault usually found only on books for young children. Coined by author and blogger Erica Perl, who blogged about it in 2007. Compare [handsoil].


smooth cut. edges of pages are neatly trimmed and uniform in length, the opposite of [deckle edges]. Also called guillotined.


smyth-sewed. standard binding technique in which [signatures] are sewn together with thread before being placed in the covers. (Pronounced "SMITH-sohd.") This term comes from the book manufacturing industry and is not commonly used by bookdealers.


S/N. signed and numbered. Artwork term. Refers to an original print that the artist has signed and numbered, the number indicating where this copy occurred in the order of printing. For example, 5/100 means copy number 5 of 100 copies printed.


S.N. / s.n. (Latin: sine nomine = without name). no publisher is listed. This is an old bibliographer's term. If the publisher is actually known, it is listed in brackets. See also [NP].


softbound. another name for [softcover].


softcover. bound with flexible card or paper covers, the opposite of [hardbound]. The softcover has many names, including softback, softbound, paperback, paperbound, paperwraps, stiffwraps, wraps, wrappers. Abbreviated pbk, pp, sb, sc, wp, wr, wrs. Where books are divided into softbound and paperback, the term softbound refers only to books that are not [mass market paperbacks]. See also [paperback], [self-wraps].


sophisticated. altered to improve value. For example, a [Fine] copy of a [first edition] is combined with one page from a damaged copy [signed] by the author to produce a Fine signed first edition. The resulting item is sometimes called a [made-up copy]. A reputable dealer will always disclose such manipulation.


special edition. marketing term which may refer to any kind of feature such as color [illustrations] or [imitation leather] covers. Not necessarily a valuable book.


spine / sp. general term for the backbone of a book, where the [signatures] are gathered and where the title is usually printed; in other words, the visible part of a book when shelved. Sometimes called the shelf-back. The spine is covered with the [backstrip]; the upper end is called the [crown] while the lower end is the [heel], foot, or tail.


spinefold. refers to the spine of a [softcover] publication having only a fold-and-staple binding rather than the square-cut spine of a standard softcover. Such publications include [booklets], [sheet music] (which is often not actually stapled), and most magazines.


spine leans. another term for [cocked]. Usually describes a leaning [paperback].


spineline. a crease along the length of the spine, a common flaw of [softcover] and [paperback] books.


spiral. a type of binding consisting of a plastic or metal spring, each page having holes through which in the spring is threaded, and the ends of the spring are folded back to hold it in place. Often seen on cookbooks and books of music. Also called ringbound. Compare [Wire-O Binding].


split. cracked; the cover and [textblock] are beginning to come apart. See [sprung].


spray. ornament consisting of a cluster of floral shapes.


spread. (n.) the two side-by-side pages displayed in an open book. Sometimes a single [illustration] occupies a full spread.


sprinkled. 1. decorated with an even pattern of colored spots; also called mottled or stippled. 2. decorated by the application of small drops of acid; usually referring to the [boards] of a leather bound book. Sometimes the density of the speckles is indicated by more specific terms, such as "medium sprinkled."


sprung. the binding is completely detached; usually called [disbound]. Prior to being disbound, a damaged binding is first [starting], then [cracked].


square. 1. referring to the [spine], usually of a [paperback], that is not [cocked], [rolled], warped or otherwise deformed in any way. 2. referring to the shape of a book that measures the same in height as in width.


stabbed. another name for [side stitch].


stamped. 1. letters or decorative motifs impressed onto the binding, with ink or [gilt] being applied to the impression. When no gilt or ink is applied, the impression is said to be [blind-stamped]. 2. an ink mark, often the name of an owner, applied to the pages or edges of a book mechanically rather than by hand. Also called [rubber stamped].


standee. a form of advertising [ephemera] that stands upright. Examples include full-sized images of celebrities or media characters, which stand on the floor, and smaller ads for products, which stand on a shelf or counter. The extending piece that holds up the standee is called a [kickleg].


stapleback. refers to a book with [saddle stitch] binding.


stapled wraps. refers to a book with [saddle stitch] binding.


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


starting. beginning to come loose, often used to describe a hinge that is not seriously damaged but is not perfectly tight, as in, front hinge starting. See also [sprung].


state. nearly synonymous with [point of issue]; however, point of issue generally refers to the correction of a misprint whereas state usually refers to some other change, such as adding text to the [dust jacket]. For example, a book might be described as a "1st edition, 2nd issue, 2nd state." (Such a book may be called a [first edition] but would not be a [true first].)


stated. printed in the book. Usually refers to the words "first edition" printed on the [copyright page], as in, "first edition stated."


std. [stated].


steel engraving. a type of [engraving] in which the original illustration is prepared on a sheet of hard steel. Steel engravings are sharper and clearer than [copper plate engravings] which steel engravings replaced about 1820.


stereograph (Greek: stereo = solid). a type of [ephemera] consisting of two nearly identical photos, taken by a special dual camera, then mounted side by side on a stiff card, so that when viewed with a stereo viewer (a.k.a. stereoscope, stereopticon), the image appears to be three dimensional. Popularity peaked in the 1880s and fell off by the 1920s. Compare [View-Master].


stereotype edition. an early type of [reprint] in which the printing is made from exact copies of the original plates, the new plates obtained by making molds of the originals. Compare [facsimile].


Stevengraph / Stevensgraph. a type of [ephemera] consisting of a decorative, usually pictorial, ribbon of woven silk cloth, having the appearance of a miniature tapestry, and frequently used for a bookmark. Created by Thomas Stevens of England in the late 1880s; now highly [collectible].


sticker pull / sticker scar. a defect, usually seen on the cover of a [paperback], where a sticker has been removed, leaving a small, white bare patch. Other descriptive phrases for this type of defect include "gloss layer damaged," "fragment of pictorial paper overlay missing," "laminate removed from cover," etc.


stiffwraps. a [softcover] book with stiff, sturdy covers.


stippled. another name for [mottled].


stns. stains.


stock. 1. paper; the term is usually used in combination with an adjective, as in "acid-free stock." 2. inventory.


strapwork. ornaments consisting of long, narrow lines or fillets, often crossed, folded or interlaced; mainly used for [rules] and borders.


stripped. said of a [mass market paperback] when the front cover is torn off and missing. In the new-book business, when such a book fails to sell, the bookstore may return it to the publisher or distributor for credit, but due to prohibitive return shipping costs, the seller is required only to mail back the front cover. The seller thus strips the front cover off the book, returns the same, and tosses the rest. Stripped books should never be sold because they were never paid for: they are essentially stolen books.


stub. narrow strip of paper indicating a separate page has been sewn into the book. Such stubs are necessary in cases where a special page, such as a color [illustration], is to be bound into an otherwise normal [signature]; however, a stub may also indicate where a page has been cut away. Sometimes called a tab.


subsidy publisher. another name for [vanity press].


subtitle. the second part of a two-part title. In the 1800s, subtitles were often used as advertising and frequently consisted of several long paragraphs describing every feature and highlight of a book.


suede. leather with a soft fuzzy finish, as opposed to leather with a slick, smooth, or stiff finish. (Pronounced "swayed.")


sunned. faded or discolored from exposure to light. Also called aged, browned, shadowed, tanned, toned, yellowed.


supered paper. printing industry term for paper coated with a super fine [glossy] finish.



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N ~ O ~ PQ ~ R ~ S ~ T ~ U ~ VW ~ XYZ


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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