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BOOK TERMS ILLUSTRATED

THE BOARDS: The stiff binding material of a book is called a board. Every book has two boards, a front board and a rear board.

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The front board of this book has a gilt illustration.

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This book has a colorfully marbled front board.

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The boards of this book have bumped corners.

 

THE SPINE: The spine is the book's backbone. Because the spine is generally all you can see when a book is on the shelf, the spine displays the title and author of the book and is often ornately decorated. The top edge of the spine is called the head and the bottom edge the tail.

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This book has a beautifully gilt spine with raised bands.

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The head and tail of the spine of this book are both softened and frayed.

 

THE HINGE:The hinge is the joint of the binding of a book,
the part that bends when the book is opened.

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The hinge of this book is cracked.

 

THE EDGES:The edges are the three outer surfaces of the leaves (or pages) of a book.

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This book is all edge gilt (aeg). This means that all three edges of the book have been trimmed smooth and gilt, or gold paint, has been applied. Similarly, teg means top edge gilt.

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This book has marbled edges.

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The fore edge is the edge of paper opposite the spine. This book has a fore-edge painting, which is only revealed after the pages of the book are carefully curled together as shown.

 

THE END PAPERS (ep): The end papers are the sheets of paper pasted onto the inside of the boards, joining the text block to the covers. One side of the sheet is pasted to the inside cover, the other is left free.

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This book has illustrated end papers.

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This book has marbled end papers.

 

THE DUST JACKET (dj): Also known as a dustwrapper (dw) the dust jacket is the (usually) decorative paper wrapper placed around a book for protection.

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This dust jacket is in fine condition, with no tears or discoloration.

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This jacket is in fair condition. It is worn and has chips at the edges.

 

ILLUSTRATIONS: An illustration is a design, picture, plate, plan, diagram, chart, or map printed within the block of the book.

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A plate is a whole-page illustration printed separately from the text. This book has a intricately illustrated fold-out plate.

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This illustration is printed in the text pages and is therefore called a cut.

Rare Book Condition Standards

For rare and collectible books, Powell's follows the condition codes first proposed in 1949 by AB Bookman's Weekly, which have since been widely adopted as the industry standards. Powell's is generally very conservative when assessing the condition of book, so you can generally be assured that a book listed in, say, fine, condition is in at least as good a condition as the description listed below. Please direct any questions about condition to:

Inquiries: Powell's Rare Book Room
rarebooks@powells.com
503 228 0540 ext. 1559
1 800 878 7323 ext. 1559

Please note that we only use these standards for rare or collectible books. For the condition codes used for our general used book inventory, please see the glossary.

AS NEW: To be used only when the book is in the same immaculate condition in which it was published. There can be no defects, no missing pages, no library stamps, etc., and the dustjacket (if it was issued with one) must be perfect, without any tears. (The term As New is preferred over the alternative term Mint to describe a copy that is perfect in every respect, including jacket.)

FINE: Approaches the condition of As New, but without being crisp. For the use of the term Fine there must also be no defects, etc., and if the jacket has a small tear, or other defect, or looks worn, this should be noted.

VERY GOOD : Can describe a used book that does show some small signs of wear – but no tears – on either binding or paper. Any defects must be noted.

GOOD: Describes the average used and worn book that has all pages or leaves present. Any defects must be noted.

FAIR: A worn book that has complete text pages (including those with maps or plates) but may lack endpapers, half-title, etc. (which must be noted). Binding, jacket (if any), etc. may also be worn. All defects must be noted.

POOR: Describes a book that is sufficiently worn that its only merit is as a Reading Copy because it does have the complete text, which must be legible. Any missing maps or plates should still be noted. This copy may be soiled, scuffed, stained or spotted and may have loose joints, hinges, pages, etc.

EX-LIBRARY: Copies must always be designated as such no matter what the condition of the book.

BOOK CLUB : Editions must always be noted as such no matter what the condition of the book.

BINDING COPY : Describes a book in which the pages or leaves are perfect but the binding is very bad, loose, off, or nonexistent.

DUSTJACKET: In all cases, the lack of a dustjacket should be noted if the book was issued with one. spacer

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