arc (Advanced Review Copy): A pre-publication sample copy for booksellers and reviewers.
agt (Age-Toning): This refers to discoloring that can be found on the paper in older books. The color of the paper has darkened overtime and is no longer as vibrant.
bc (Binding Copy): A book in need of rebinding and is worth rebinding.
bdg (Binding): Refers to the binding of a book.
bds (Boards): The covers of a hard bound book, generally consisting of cardboard or other sturdy paperboard. This material is then covered with paper, cloth or leather.
bce or bomc (Book Club Edition or Book of the Month Club): A mass market edition produced with inexpensive materials (i.e. cheap paper and light weight bindings) as part of a subscription to members of a Book Club. These edition are very rarely offered here at Ruby's Bookstore.
bl (Book Label): A small name label used to indicate a previous owner. Usually the size of a return address label used when mailing a letter.
- 4to (Quarto): A book that is up to 12" tall.
- 8vo (Octavo): A book that is up to 9 3/4" tall.
- 12mo (Duodecimo): A book that is up to 7 3/4" tall.
- 16mo (Sextodecimo): A book that is up to 6 3/4" tall.
- 24mo: A book that is up to 5 3/4" tall.
- 32mo: A book that is up to 5" tall.
- 48mo: A book that is up to 4" tall.
- 64mo: A book that is up to 3" tall.
- Folio: A book that is up to 15" tall.
- Elephant Folio: A book that is up to 23" tall.
- Atlas Folio: A book that is up to 25" tall.
- Double Elephant Folio: A book that is up to 50" tall.
bp (Book-plate): A name label used to indicate a former owner. These labels are much larger than a Book Label.
btm (Bottom): Bottom.
cab (clean and bright): Used when a specific part of the text block is clean and bright and without any age-toning.
cs (Cocked Spine): The front and the back of the boards are misaligned. Sometimes referred to as a "slanted spine." When the book is resting on it's back, cover facing up, the boards do not line up evenly with each other. In other words, the book is not square and was improperly stored at one time.
de (Deckle -Edges): Untrimmed or Uncut page edges.
ds (Dampstain or Damp-staining): Simply put, a stain caused by the presence of water. A book with tan, brown or gray stains. Books with this damage were usually stored in basements/cellars or other similar environments. Books with this condition are only listed when it's very old or rare.
dj (Dust jacket): The paper cover, often with information or illustrations about the book, placed on the exterior of a hardback book.
eps (End-Papers): Papers found at the beginning and end of a book. See also fep, ffep, rep, rfep.
ex-lib (Ex-Library): A book that has been removed or discarded from a public or school/university library. Books with this description may have typical ex -library markings such as discard stamps, date-due slip pockets, etc.
ex-libris (Ex-Libris): A Latin phrase meaning "from the books," or "from the library or collection of." Typically found on book-plates. We normally use bp to describe this.
ew (Edge-wear or Edge-worn): The refers to any edge of a book or dust jacket.
fe (First Edition): This is a first edition of a book, which generally means a first printing.
fep (Front End Paper): The end-paper that is pasted to the inside of the front cover.
ffep (Front Free Endpapers): The end paper that is not attached to the inside front cover.
fl (Fly-Leaf): A blank leaf, or leaves, inserted during the binding process between the free end-paper and the beginning or end of the printed pages.
fp (First Printing): First printing.
ftp (First Thus Printing): Means it's NOT a first edition. This is a book that's been republished in a different format or by a different publisher. It may be the first publication in paperback form. A first thus book may have a new introduction by the author or someone else. A first thus printing can state that it's a first printing but remember, a first thus is NOT a true first printing.
fx (Foxing): Rust, yellow or brown colored spots. This occurs from oxidation of impurities left behind during the paper making process. When books are stored in the right environment where certain humidity and temperature factors exist, foxing can occur. Not all books stored in the environment described will have this issue, this foxing is intrinsic to the particular paper used during production.
fr (Fray or Fraying): This is a condition indicating loose threads from the cloth overlay on the book board or backstrip.
frontis (Frontispiece): An illustration or plate, sometimes protected by a tissue overlay, found at the beginning of a book normally facing the title page.
fs (Flat-signed): An author signed book that displays only the author's signature (no inscription).
gt (Gilt / Gilding): A decorative gold colored finish applied to the cover for titles and/or author & publisher names. It may also be applied to one or all three page edges (i.e. top, fore-edge or bottom) of a book.
gs (Glassine): A transparent protective wrapper used to cover the books exterior.
hb (Half Binding): A book which has its spine and corners covered in one material and the rest covered in another material. An example would be a book with a leather covered spine and corners and the cover finished with cloth. This example would be called a "half-leather binding."
htp (Half-Title Page): The page preceding the title page. This page normally list only the title and no other information.
hge (Hinge): The external or internal joint of the book that bends when a book is opened.
head (Head): The very top of the backstrip or spine edge.
hv (Heavy): Used to describe a particular condition, such as heavy rubbing, scufffing, staining, etc.
illus (Illustrations): Refers to images in a book such as drawings or paintings etc.
ins (Inscribed): A book signed by the author with a notation or statement written for a specific person.
jnt (Joint): The exterior flexible hinge were the book cover meets the spine.
lf (Leaf): A single sheet in a book. Each leaf contains two printed pages, one on each side.
lb (Library Binding): These are books produced for libraries and schools. They are made with more durable covers and usually have reinforced bindings.
lgt (Light): Used to describe a particular condition, such as light wear or light staining, etc.
mod (Moderate): Used to describe a particular condition, such as moderate wear or moderate scuffing, etc.
nd (No Date): No date found in the book.
nbl (Number line): Also known as the printers key. In modern books, the number line can be found on the copyright page which located on the otherside of the title page. The lowest number indicates the number of printing. For example, 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 , this would indicate the book is a first printing. As the number of printings goes up, the printers key gets shorter. For the second printing, the number “1” will disappear, but all else will remain the same. The number line will then look like this: 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 Not all books will use the same format as some number lines get a bit more complex. Some publishers have used letters instead of numbers - this is more common in older books. Number lines may also list the year printed and those numbers will fall away as well. The principle remains the same.
nt (Notation): A note/date/symbol by previous owner, dealer, etc.
oop (Out of Print): Currently this book is no longer being printed.
pc (Price-Clipped): The original price has been cut away from the inner flap of the dust jacket.
pgs (Pages): Refers to the pages of a book.
plate (Plate): A full page illustration, usually printed on heavier paper then text pages, and then added to the book during the binding process. Price-clipped: Dust Jackets that have had the price cut "clipped" form its corner.
pn (Price Notes): Price note/dates written usually on end-paper by a previous dealer. We do not write in our books.
po (Previous Owner): Used to indicate a previous owner's name/book-plate was found.
qb (Quarter Binding): A book in which the spine area is covered with a different materials than the covers.
rb (Raised Band): In older books the raised band conceals an underlying cord which is attached to the covers. In more modern books, the band is simply used for decorative purposes.
rbg (Rubbing): This usually refers to wear found on the boards of a book and sometimes is used to describe the dust jacket. On a hardbound book, rubbing is most commonly found along the bottom or top edge of the boards but can be present elsewhere. On a dust jacket, rubbing is where the coloring has worn away - most commonly found on older jackets made with uncoated paper.
rc (Reading Copy): A well read book. A book that shows more wear than would be acceptable for someone who wishes to purchase one as a collectible. This book is not worth rebinding but would make a suitable reading copy.
rep (Rear End Paper): An end-paper that is pasted to the inside of the back cover.
rfep (Rear Free End Paper): The end paper that is not attached to the inside back cover.
rm (Remainder Mark/s): A marked that is applied to a book by the publisher and then sold at a discount. Remainder marks are usually found on bottom of page edges. They are commonly marked with a stamp, by the stroke of a black marker, or with spray paint.
sfg (Scuffing): Used to indicate scuffing to the boards or dust jacket.
skn (Shaken): The pages of a book are starting to come loose from the binding.
slc (Slipcase): A protective box that leaves the spine disclosed.
slt (Slight): Used to describe a condition, such as slight edge-wear, slight rubbing, slight slanted or cocked spine, etc.
spn (Spine): The back portion of a book's binding. The spine edge is the part book that is visible when the book is standing upright on a shelf.
st (Stated): Stated. Most often used when refering an indicated print edition, an example "st fp" means stated first printing.
sw (Shelf-wear): The wear that occurs as a book is constantly placed onto and removed from a shelf. The boards wear as they rub against the shelf and other books. It is most commonly found on the head (top) or the tail (bottom) edge of the boards but can be found elsewhere on the boards.
tail (Tail): The very bottom of the backstrip or spine edge.
tgt (Tight): Used to refer to a tight binding.
tp (Title Page): The title page.
uc (Un-clipped): Refers to a dust jacket which has an original retail price intact on the inner front flap.
ws (Water Stained): Self-explanatory. Do not confuse with damp-staining.