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Page history last edited by Gwen Foss 15 years, 1 month ago

Back to Reference Information on Books

Glossary of Book and Ephemera Terms and Abbreviations


Nothing can be more frustrating that being confronted with a string of gibberish when trying to ascertain the quality of a used book being offered for sale on the internet. There are literally hundreds of unfamiliar terms, some recently invented, some ridiculously arcane, which can be found in the descriptions of used and antiquarian books. Now www.tomfolio.com presents the internet's largest and most complete dictionary of these terms.


Please note: This page was compiled mainly to help buyers understand the difficult and unfamiliar terms found in descriptions of used, rare, antiquarian, and out of print books. Many terms relating to different kinds of ephemera and paper items are also included. Explanatory comments and crossreferences have been given in many entries to provide useful historical information and examples.


If you run across any perplexing terminology not covered here, don't hesitate to contact the dealer who is offering the book and ask for more information.




Part A. Alphabetical List of All Terms


(Please click on an initial to go to that page.)



A ~ B ~ C ~ D ~ E ~ FG ~ H ~ I ~ J ~ K ~ L ~ M


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




Part B. Size Terms


(Please click here to go to the Size Terms page.)


All the size terms are defined in Part A. This page lists them in order of size, from largest to smallest, to make it easier to see and understand the terms all together.


Part C. Condition Grading Terms


(Please click here to go to the Condition Grading Terms page.)


All the standard condition grading terms are defined in Part A. This page lists the three most commonn condition grading systems and the terms used in each system. They are:


   1. Standard Terms


   2. Paperback Grading / Letter Grading


   3. Periodical and Ephemera Grading




Written by Gwen Foss of Alan's Used Books with help from the many independent bookdealers of

TomFolio.com. Special thanks to Constance Petersen, Jeffrey D. Sandrone, Lee Kirk, and Jeff Falco for

specialized knowledge.


See more pages of interesting factoids by Gwen Foss.




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