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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 D
Dampstain: A stain on the covers or leaves of a book resulting from water or other liquids. The degree of discoloration varies from very light to heavy, the latter sometimes causing buckling, wrinkling or crumpling on the affected surface due to shrinkage.
Darkening: Applied to a book's covers or spine, darkening indicates a loss of brightness (reflecting less light) of color which results in a deeper, more somber shade. Caused by a book's exposure to strong light, it usually differs from a stain (which it can mimic) by having gradual demarcations rather than a fairly well-defined border. See also Fading.
Date of Publication: The date on which a book is released to the market, i.e. is offered or becomes available for purchase by the public. Except when a publisher announces a specific Release Date (such as May 15, 1992), the date of publication is given as a year, or a particular month in that year. The date of a book's printing (given as a year or month/year) is very often the same as the date of publication, but not necessarily so. A book giving a printing date on its copyright page of December, 1939 may show a copyright date of 1940 due only to a delay of a few days between the book being printed and bound and registering the copyright. The reverse also occurs where the book was copyrighted late the in a year and printed and published in the following year. The term's definition allows some wiggle room because there is no formal standard recognized even now by all publishers as the date a book is placed on sale. This causes very few problems since book collectors are really interested in when a book was printed.
It should be noted that information regarding the date of publication (such as a date on the title page) is at the discretion of publisher. It's absence is not infrequent in older books whose publishers intentionally declined to give the appearance that their books were "out of date" or had been on the shelves for years. Nothing, however, should be concluded based on the absence of a date of publication alone.
Deckled Edges: A deckled edge has a rough, ragged appearance as do the edges of the leaves comprising the edge. The origin of deckled edges goes back to the handmade paper era where paper made in a mold resulted in the edges of printing Sheets being uneven and feathery. This paper was called 'Deckled Edge' because the mold included a removable frame, the deckle, against which the edge of the molded paper was formed. When these sheet were printed, folded into Gatherings, and the gatherings sewn or glued together, some or all of these raggedy edges (called Bolts) could be trimmed or left in their untrimmed state. Books with deckled edges have been deliberately manufactured ever since the handmade paper era, so their presence is not indicative of age. They may even be found on some book club editions, as well as fine and limited editions which may actually use handmade paper. There are even 'faux deckled edges' where page edges have been deliberately torn/raked to produce uneven edges. Also, see Uncut.
Dedication Copy: A copy of a book which has been inscribed in the author's hand as dedicated to the person he/she names.
Diecut: The process of cutting printed sheets of paper or board in irregular shapes or designs using a sharp, metal die in the shape of the desired pattern - much like using a cookie cutter. Diecutting is can be used to create interior shapes and designs (windows) as well as to shape outer edges.
Disbound: A book lacking its binding, whether the original or a subsequent binding, leaving only the Textblock intact. The term does not imply whether or not the detached binding is still present. The term should not be confused with Unbound.
Double Elephant Folio: A book size designating a book up to 50" tall (seldom seen). See Book Sizes and Formats.
Duodecimo (12mo): A book size designating a book up to 7 3/4" tall. Abbreviation 12mo. See Book Sizes and Formats.
Dustjacket: A protective paper, usually bearing printing and illustrative or decorative designs, which wraps around the covers and spine of a book. The ends of the jacket have flaps which fold under the inside of the covers. Synonymous with Dustwrapper, Dustcover, Wrapper, and Book Jacket.
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