Glossary of Book Publishing Terms
supplementary material additional to the main body of a book and printed separately at the start or end of the text.
advance reading /review copy
An advance preview or 'galley' copy of a book that is usually sent to book buyers, reviewers, booksellers, before the book is published.
additional or supplementary material generally found at the end of a book.
a smooth coated paper obtained by adding a coating of china clay compound on one or both sides of the paper.
refers to the condition of a book; it is immaculate and without flaws. Sometime also described as in mint condition. Many dealers would avoid this term altogether, not without good reasons preferring to describe even the best books in their inventory only as "fine".
a book that was either owned by its author, owned by someone connected to the author, or owned by someone connected to the contents of the book. It can also refer to a book that was annotated by the author. Proof of the association is usually in the form of some written notes.
changes made to the copy by the author after typesetting but not including those made as a result of errors in keying in the copy.
autographed (signed) copy
copy with signature of either author or the illustrator, often accompanied by an inscription.
The covering of the book spine that has the title and author of the book printed on it. It is usually made of cloth, leather, or paper, and is sometimes decorated.
bevelled boards (edges)
a binding technique in which the edges of the boards of the book have been cut to a slanted angle
a reading list, a guide for further study, or list of works that have been consulted by the author. In another meaning of this word, bibliography is also the study of books as physical objects.
the process that secures the pages or sections of a publication to keep them in order and to protect them. Binding may be stapled or sewn, sewn and enclosed in wrappers, or by gluing the pages to the outer cover, but most often refers to a hardcover binding.
a book whose covers are in serious state of disrepair, but the text block is fine and worth re-binding.
an unprinted page, usually included as part of a signature to make an even count. Also known as blank leaves or printer's blanks.
layout, type or pictures that extend beyond the trim marks on a page. Illustrations that spread to the edge of the paper without margins are referred to as 'bled off'.
the words on the fold-over part of a jacket or flap of the boards inside the end-papers; also refers to the words on the back of the jacket or boards
the front and rear surface of a binding, as opposed to the spine. These may be composed of card, wood, or other materials, covered by cloth, paper, or leather. Synonymous with covers
a material consisting of two layers of leather and a lining attached to each other by a chemical process or adhesive
book club edition (bc, bce)
a book that was printed specially for a book club that often utilizes a lesser quality paper and binding materials. These editions are usually available by book club subscription only and are usually of little interest to collectors.
refers to the condition of a book; it refers to worn, bent, or rounded corners of the boards of a book
a hardback book made with stiff outer covers. Cases are usually covered with cloth, vinyl or leather.
cases or boxes
usually made to measure for preservation of books (see also slipcase)
a sleeve wrapping around the spine and boards of a binding to protect it from wear when inserted into the slipcase.
refers to the condition of a book; a mark or flaw caused by scuffing, gouging, or breaking off of a small piece of the jacket, pages, or backstrip
the commonest material used for binding of books in England and America, since about 1850 (see also hardback)
the symbol or emblem that is printed on a book and represents a publisher or publisher’s imprint. Also the details of the title, printer, publisher, and publication date given at the end of a book
a term used to describe a work that was published within the last decade or to indicate that all of the components of the book (the binding, the colouring of plates, inscriptions, and side notes) were created at the same time the book was printed
See boards (see also jacket)
the head of the spine (of the binding).
a method of trimming a book after the cover has been attached to the pages
a copy of a book specifically inscribed by the author to a particular person
the page of a book that lists the persons and/or institutions to whom the author has committed the work. It is usually located opposite the copyright page.
also known as edition de luxe. An edition of a book that has been specially printed and bound for its fine appearance. Sometimes refers to limited editions with special leather or decorated cloth bindings.
damage to the edges of the cover of hardbacks
refers to a printer's mark or imprint that was used primarily in the 16th and 17th centuries, typically found on the title page or at the end of a book. Today the term can also be used to describe a publisher's trademark or logo. Also known as printer's mark.
book pages which have been folded over in the corners
a method of binding a paper cover to a book by drawing the cover on and gluing to the back of the book.
a mockup of a book that is created to represent the physical appearance, including actual arrangement of the printed matter and illustrations, of a forthcoming book to book buyers. Modern trade publishing has replaced the use of dummies with materials such as advance reading copies and uncorrected proofs.
the top, bottom, and un-hinged outer sides of a book
all copies of a book that are printed from the same plates or one setting of type. An edition can have more than one printing. For example, if 400 copies of a book are printed on 12th August, and 600 copies are printed from the same plates on 16th November, all 1,000 copies are part of the same edition.
relief images formed by using a recessed die.
the page or pages attached to the text block and the binding. The free end-paper is the extension of the paste-down
objects which, in general, are fragile and not made to last for a long time. Examples include, but are not limited to, magazines, journals, paper toys, and publisher promotional items.
a list of errors and misprints in the text of a book. The list might be printed on a bound page in the book or on a separate piece of paper that is pasted or laid in the book.
identifies a book that was once the property of an institutional or corporate library. Usually there are noticeable marks and stamps on the binding and/or in the text. It may also have library card pockets, and it often shows considerable wear and/or rebinding. For collectors, it is worth considerably less monetarily than a book that has not been owned and marked-up by an institutional library.
a copy that looks like the original printing of a book but is not original. Facsimiles can be a source of frustration to collectors and booksellers but are acceptable for some institutional library collections. The term can also refer to one or more pages or illustrations that have been reproduced or copied to replace parts of the book that are missing. Also known as fake.
refers to the condition of a book; describes the loss of colour on the pages, dust jacket, or the cover of the book, which is usually caused by time or exposure to sunlight
obviously well worn and handled copy, but no text pages are missing, however, it may be without endpapers or a title page. There might be markings, but they do not interfere with readability.
a fake raised band that is attached directly to the spine of the book or the hollow of the cover. This decorative element is designed to make the book look sturdier than it actually is.
extra material used to complete a column or page, usually of little importance.
a rule in gilt or blind on the boards of a book, usually around the circumference of the front board.
book has no defects, it has had little usage. Older books may show minor flaws.
an elaborately designed book; for example, a book that is bound in leather with blind stamps and gilt edges
first American/English edition
the first edition published in the U.S.A./England of a book that was previously printed elsewhere
the first appearance of a work in book form. Every printed book has a first edition but many never have later editions. When book collectors use the term, they're usually referring to the first printing and if there are different states or issues, the earliest of those. See also edition and high spot.
first edition thus (first thus)
an edition of a work that postdates the first edition and contains some modification to the work. The modification might be a new introduction, added illustrations, new supplement, new format, and/or a revision of the text. It can also refer to a first edition of the work by another publisher.
the designed title of a newspaper as it appears at the top of page one
a fold-over part of the outer covering of a paper-back containing blurb
an inexpensively produced circular used for promotional distribution
the blank page or pages following the front free-endpaper
a process for stamping a design on a book cover without ink by using a coloured foil with pressure from a heated die or block.
refers to the condition of a book; intrinsic to paper, the patchy brownish-yellow spots that discolour plates and pages of a book. It is most likely caused by lack of ventilation and/or chemical reactions between the paper and micro-organisms. The spots are generally found in 19th century books and can range from barely visible to ruinous.
refers to the condition of a book; the unravelling of the threads or fibres of an edge of a book cover that is caused by excessive rubbing
an illustration placed before the first pages of a book that usually faces the title-page
a binding in which boards and spine are uniformly covered with the same material.
refers to the condition of a book; chewed on edges or corners of a book
a majority of second hand books would probably belong to this category. The average used book with all pages present. Books with loose bindings, highlighting or annotations, cocked spine, torn or edgeworn dust jackets, can fall into this category.
refers to the condition of a book; an unintentional nick or hole in the cover of a book, or on its spine. Or in bookbinding, a single- line finishing tool that is used to create either blind or gold decoration on the covers but not on the spine of a book.
hard-back, hardcover (hc), hardbound (hb)
a book with an outer covering of card that is either covered with a decorative cloth, leather or other material or printed with a decorative design. Usually (since the early 20th century) protected with a jacket. Modern hard-backs may have a laminated covering and no jacket. 1st editions are generally published as hard-backs.
the margin at the top of a page.
a functional or ornamental band, made of coloured silk or cotton, which is fastened at the top (and sometimes at the bottom) of the spine of a book. Originally it was sewn into the boards or leaves of the book to link the sections together but in today's binding process, it is often glued-on for decoration. The headbands of the 12th and early 13th centuries were combined with a leather tab. The conventional cloth or silk headband was introduced in the early 16th century and decorative glued-on headbands were introduced in the early 19th century. Also known as heads.
a type ornament or decoration appearing at the start of a section or chapter of a book
a term that is used to denote a highly regarded first or important edition of a book
a document or inscription written entirely in the handwriting of the person whose has signed it
refers to any picture, diagram, portrait, or non- text item in a work, which is used to clarify the text or for decoration
all copies of a book printed at one time from the same set of type or plates. An edition may have several impressions. Synonymous with printing, press run, and print run.
refers either to the place of publication or to the publisher. The imprint information is located either at the base of a title page or in a colophon at the back of a book. The term can also refer to a printed piece from a certain location or period of time; i.e., the university has a collection of 18th century Massachusetts imprints.
a book in which a written inscription has been made by the author, to a specified person
inscription by previous owner
a written name, note, phrase, or comment made in a book. Unless indicated otherwise, the inscription is not written by the author.
a portion of the printing of an edition that has a different format, binding, or paper. An issue, of an edition, is done intentionally by the publisher and can contain various states.
(aka dust-wrapper, cover or dust-jacket) – the loose paper covering, usually decorative, on a hard-back, sometimes soft-back (and rarely, paper-back) book.
supposedly the most important or earliest significant work in its particular field
a thin layer of plastic that is adhered to another material, such as cloth or paper
a single sheet of paper in a book. A page is one side of a leaf.
issued in a stated, usually small, number of copies.
a publication of a book that differs from its previous publication by more than a new printing date or other bibliographical data.
a book with boards of paper or thin card. Usually smaller than a hard-back and very rarely with a jacket. In the majority of cases a paper-back edition will be published some time after the first hard-back or soft-back edition.
a privately established though not necessarily non-commercial printing office.
traditionally, a printed trial-run of the work, bound or unbound, which is used for proofreading and to determine if changes need to be made in the text. The typical publishing process is proof, advance reading copy, and publication. However, bound proofs are also used for pre-publication publicity and are often sent out in place of advance reading copies to booksellers and reviewers. Also known as galley, galley proof, page proof, and uncorrected proof.
the process of producing a book in its printed form to its intended reading audience
the right-hand page (as viewed when looking at an open book)
a publication of a book that is identical to its previous publication with the exception of a new printing date or other bibliographical data.
an open-ended box, sometimes leather-covered, made to protect a book
a book, usually the size of a hard-back, with a thin card or paper boards. Sometimes protected with a jacket. Soft-backs are generally published shortly after, or at the same time as, the first hard-back edition and before any paper-back edition.
the part of the book opposite of the opening, which is visible when the book is shelved. Also known as back, backstrip, and shelfback.
the textual matter of the book - everything that lies between endpaper and endpaper i.e. non-inserted blank pages, half-titles, title-pages, illustrations, advertisements, etc.
the page containing the title, author, publishing, printing and other information
a printed trial-run of the work, bound or unbound, which is used for proofreading and to determine if changes need to be made in the text. Also known as galley, galley proof, page proof (see proof).
the left-hand page (as viewed when looking at an open book)
a flexible paper binding. (see also jacket)