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A reference for Used and Rare Books, Periodicals, and Paper Ephemera courtesy of an International Co-Op of Independent Dealers.
 
 
 
Book Glossary
 
 
Terminology used by book publishers, dealers, and collectors.
 
Information about book conditions, the various parts of books, sizes and formats, and various terms used in the book world.
 
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Glossary P
 
 
Page: One side of a Leaf. The front side of a leaf is called the Recto or Obverse and the back side of the leaf is called the Verso or the Reverse.
 
Panel: Specifically refers to the front or back of a book's covers. Often used instead of the somewhat ambiguous term Covers to clarify that reference is being made to only the front and/or back of the cover and does not include the Spine cover. Panel is also used in the same manner to refer only to the front and/or back of a Dustjacket.
 
Panelled: Describes a book cover on which Ruled lines form a rectangular area for the purpose of creating a frame or border surrounding printed, illlustrative or decorative matter done in Blindstamping or Giltstamping. Also known as panel compartments.
 
Paste Action: Discoloration on a book's Endpapers caused by the glue used to attach the Paste-down endpapers to the inside of the covers. The discoloration can range from a faint tan to a heavy Browning. All or part of the Paste-down endpapers can be affected, as well as the loose Endpapers when the paste bleeds into them.
 
Paste-Down Endpaper: The portion of the endpaper pasted to the inside of a book's cover. See Figure 5.
 
Pastedown Paste-Down Illustration: A paper illustration applied to the front cover of a book bound in cloth or boards. Books bearing such illustrations are also described as having an applied pictorial cover. The illustration, almost always in color, was printed on a fairly heavy paper and then glued to the cover. See Figure 17.
 
Photolithographic: Refers generally to the printing processes used in the modern era, which replaced Lithographic methods, to create book illustrations. Called planographic printing, these processes use printing plates made from photographic images.
 
Photoplay Edition: A book illustrated with still photographs of scenes from a motion picture based on the book, or a book based on the motion picture's script. The former, which is most often the case, is not a First Edition. Photoplay editions can be more valuable than first editions if the movie has inspired more interest than the book upon which it was based. When this is not true, even as a later edition they have greater value than other later editions of the book because they are collected in their own right, valued by collectors of the actors or others responsible for the film, or collectors of the author or things pertaining to the film itself. Photoplay editions soared in popularity during the 1920s and declined rather rapidly thereafter.
 
Plates: A full-page illustration in a book whose reverse side is blank and without text, or contains another full-page illustration. The plates, particularly in older books, are generally printed on paper of a better quality than the text pages and are Coated. Many recent books, however, use coated paper for both, and often have more than one photographic illustration on a page each labeled as a plate. Where this is the case, descriptions in this catalog give the number of plates so labeled. It is not uncommon in older books to find plates " Tipped-in", i.e. glued-in after all the Gatherings were sewn together as opposed to being added during the binding process. Many of the plates in older books have a protective thin leaf of tissue-like paper called Tissue Guards placed between a plate's pictorial page & the opposing page. Smaller illustrations printed on the text pages of a book are called Cuts.
 
Points: Characteristics that enable one to establish the Priority between the First Edition of a book and others, or between the States or Issues within a first edition. The distinguishing signs are usually printing or textual errors, but can also include evidence of the use of worn or broken type, misplaced pagination numerals, misordered signatures, canceled leaves, etc.
 
Preliminary Pages: The printed pages preceding the main text of a book, which may include and are often in the following order:  
Half-Title
Frontispiece
Title Page
Copyright Page
Dedication
Preface or Forward
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Introduction
Acknowledgments
2nd Half-title
 
Many books will not have all the preliminary pages listed, and some may have non-printed pages (e.g. tissue guarded Leaves) interspersed. Particularly in older books, the preliminary pages are numbered with Roman numerals, if numbered at all.
 
Presentation Copy: A copy of a book which, either through self-evidence or by way of its Provenance, can be authenticated as one someone was given by the author. An author's inscription is the most common self-evidence.
 
Press Run: With regard to books, the copies printed by a press in any period(s) of its continuous operation during the printing of a job, i.e. a specific number ordered by a publisher. Since a book collector's only interest in a press run is whether it created any States which could determine Priority among the books printed during the run, some hedging needs to be introduced about what is "continuous operation". Book printed during the handpress period can almost be exempted from this discussion, but those printed after this period necessarily require that not all occasions on which a press is stopped should count as the end of a press run since the types of failure that a press could suffer have increased with the steady evolution toward more sophisticated presses. The temporary stopping of an old steam-powered press to repair a broken belt or replace a bad gasket in the engine, or the many possible temporary mechanical and electrical failures of modern presses, are all examples of stoppages which would result in no discernible differences between what was printed before and after. Thus, stoppages not in anyway affecting the printed product (not demarcating States) are not counted as relevant. The term is also used to refer to the number of copies printed in one such continuous operation.
 
Price-Clipped: Said of a Dustjacket that has had the publisher's suggested price clipped, which very most often appears in a corner of one of its inner flaps. Most commonly done by publishers and distributors themselves for various reasons, a much smaller number have been clipped before given as gifts. This is serious defects for collectors of first edtions who seek copies in the same complete condition as they were originally issued. Since Book Club Editions can often be identified by their dustjackets lacking a price on the corner of an innner flap, the absence of that corner raises the possibility that it was removed to conceal its more humble origins.
 
Printing: As a noun, the actual copies printed during any given Press Run. Any number of printings can be made of a particular Edition provided the same plates or typesetting are used for each. Confusion can arise because some publishers in the 19th and earlier part of the 20th centuries used edition rather than printing to designate what were actually later printings rather than later editions, e.g. the copyright page would state "Third Edition" with the book lacking any discernible differences from the prior "editions". Synonymous with Impression.
 
Priority: The status of a particular book with regard to its earliness among other Issues or States, each of which is characterized by a different set of Points. To say that a copy of a book in State C (defined by some set of points) has priority over a copy in State B (a different set of points) means that C was produced earlier than B. If State C and State B are said to have no priority, then there is no evidence yet available to determine which, if any, is earlier.
 
Private Press: An expression which once had a fairly clear reference to a small printer/publisher, or lone craftsperson, who eschewed the commercial book market in favor of producing small quantities of finely printed, special-interest, or otherwise limited market books. Today, the term has became so stretched as a marketing image that caution and research are advisable to determine which, if any, of the original characteristics a publisher may possess. There have been, however, many private presses over the years which deserve the reputation and respect the term once implied, so there are pleasant rewards for those willing to expend a little extra effort.
 
Privately Printed/Self-Published: A book printed at the expense of an individual or a group which was usually intended either for private circulation rather than public sale, or for sale to a limited market of interested persons through means other than commercial book market. Occasionally, some privately printed books are bought by book distributors from the author, but typically it is the person or the group who market and distribute such publication. Thus, the essential characteristic of a privately printed book is that the publisher is the author.
 
Promotional Wrapper: A dustjacket-like wrapper which wraps around a Dustjacket, the book itself, or a Slipcase. Such wrappers are generally about half the size of a dustjacket, and are used to promote the book itself (an auto-promotional wrapper), a related motion picture, another book by the same publisher, etc. Promotional wrappers are also found on magazines.
 
Provenance: The history of a particular book's ownership, possession, or custody. Aside from stolen books, provenance only becomes an issue when a book is represented as being one owned by somebody sufficiently important in themselves or someone related to the book in an important way. A full provenance (one providing a continuous account of the successive transfers of ownership, possession and custody from the book's origins to it's present status) is not necessary to support a book's value if the representation being made is limited to some lesser period of the book's history. A legitimate provenance must be supported by documentary rather than anecdotal or hearsay evidence, e.g. internal evidence such as signatures and bookplates, or external evidence like auction or booksellers' records and estate inventories.
 
Publisher: In its full sense, a person or business engaged in the complete production of books from the acquisition and editing of manuscripts through their distribution and marketing. Although the term brings to mind established publishing companies (often called Publishing Houses), it can apply to anyone who is responsible for performing or overseeing whatever activities are required to produce a one or more books. See Private Press and Privately Printed above.
 
 
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