An illustrated dictionary of terms for describing books and ephemera, their condition and the bookselling trade.
ABA - UK
Antiquarian Booksellers Association. The UK equivalent of the ABAA. A trade association in the British Isles for dealers in antiquarian and rare books, manuscripts and allied materials; founded in 1906 and the oldest organization of its kind in the world.
ABA - US
American Booksellers Association. Founded in 1900, the ABA is a national not-for-profit trade organization that works to help independently owned bookstores grow and succeed. ABA’s core members are key participants in their communities' local economy and culture, and to assist them ABA provides education, information dissemination, business products, and services; creates relevant programs; and engages in public policy, industry, and local first advocacy.
Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America. The U.S. equivalent of the U.K. ABA. A trade association of booksellers established in 1949 with over 450 members located throughout the United States, specializing in fine and rare books, maps, documents, autographs, illuminated manuscripts, ephemera, and prints spanning the economic spectrum.
Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of Canada. Canadian equivalent of the U.K. ABA. A trade association of booksellers in Canada, founded in 1966 with the aim of fostering interest in rare books and manuscripts and maintaining high standards in the antiquarian book trade.
Advance Review (or Reader's or Reading) Copy. A special pre-publication copy distributed by publishers for review purposes. ARCs are sent to reviewers and editors prior to publication date. ARCs are usually softbound in wrappers, which may be similar to dust jacket art of the first trade edition, but the wrappers are more typically merely printed text. ARCs are sometimes issued as a hardcover with a review slip laid in by the publisher. Occasionally the distribution of ARCs lead to textual differences between an advance review copy and a first edition. The textual differences between various versions may give value to ARCs to the collector.
A particular copy of a book once belonging to the author, or signed or annotated by the author to someone closely associated with the author of the book or the book itself in some way.
A book whose text block is complete and serviceable (and usually in reasonably good condition), but contained within a binding that is defective or incomplete. The term suggests that the book is suitable for rebinding. Note: Technically, what we call bindings on most books today, where the text block is glued in (in a hardcover book the text block is glued to a cover by some mull and end sheet paper, and in a softcover book normally the text block is glued directly to the spine of the cover), is actually a casing. Traditionally, bindings were actually sewn to the collected gatherings. The two terms- Binding and Casing – are, becoming interchangeable today).
BIOPREDATION - CATS
A great many booksellers have cats. Most of the time they do little to harm anything. There are exceptions.
The first image shows a book entitled How to Massage Your Cat. It arrived in pristine condition; by the next morning it had been reviewed, and approved. The damage came from biting the corner of the book.
The second image shows a John Henry Nash imprint from the time he was in Eugene, Oregon. This is not the most valuable of Nash titles though only 350 copies were produced, It was rejected for sale by the use of claws across the dust jacket, The scatches make clear that this is no longer a title to be sold.
BIOPREDATION - MICE and RATS
Mice and rats eat many things, and they are able to cause damage to books in their search for food. The damage each cause is similar but some are larger and cause more damage.
The items pictured were all damaged by one or the other. The first image shows some damaged boards with some additional damage to the pages. The second image shows some damaged spines. In one case, the perp even ate through the clear protective cover.
BIOPREDATION - MOLD
A book that becomes wet can become moldy. The mold grows on natural paper (like that produced from trees or cotton). It looks powdery and most commonly is black in color. Books that show evidence of mold must be handled carefully and should be kept away from other books.
Pictured are black mold on the side of a book, and black mold at the spine on the front endpapers.