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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 E
Edition: All the books printed from the same Plates or setting of type form an edition - whether are not all the books are printed at the same time. Thus, a 1/4 million copies printed from the same plates or typesetting a month after the printing of a 1/2 million copies printed are all part of the same edition. The two Press Runs can be distinguished, however, as the 1st and 2nd printings of the same edition. Every printed book has a first edition, but many never have subsequent editions. While editions are distinguished from one another by whatever substantial changes have been made in the printing plates or type settings, as a practical business matter a publisher requires a good reason for incurring the expense of resetting the type or creating new plates. Hence, at the very least, one would expect to find new or altered material in a new edition, and should not be surprised to find a different cover or other changes unrelated to the typographical changes. Also see Printings for additional information.
Editor/Edited By: Where a book bears an editor's name rather than an author, the person referenced has selected the title's contents from the work of others (with or without including his/her own work), organized the selections, and generally prepared the title for publication. Often the editor writes an introduction to the subject being presented and/or supplies footnotes or other commentary for the purpose of clarification or accuracy. Another type of editor (who would only be mentioned if the author so chose) is an employee of a publisher who works with the author to correct errors, improve clarity and accuracy, and suggest refinements.
Elephant Folio: A book size designating a book up to 23" tall (seldom seen). See Book Sizes and Formats.
Embossed: The results of a process which produces raised letters or decorations on a surface. The results of a process which produces letters or decorations raised above the surface in low relief.
Endpapers: These are first and last Leaves found in a hardbound book. Half of each endpaper is pasted onto the inside of one of the covers and the other half joins that cover to the Textblock. The part of the endpaper which is pasted to a cover is called the Paste-Down Endpaper, and the unattached half is called the Loose Endpaper. See Figure 5. Because endpapers play a prominent role in the binding of a Case Bound book, they are made from a stronger and heavier paper than Text Paper.
Engraving: An image printed from a metal plate, block of wood, or other material which has been properly incised to produce the desired image. Also called Etching. The technique covers both the work done by artists and mechanical reproduction methods. There are many different types of engravings used to illustrate or decorate books: aquatint, copperplate, dry point, gravure, halftone engraving, line engraving, and photoengraving.
Ephemera: From the Greek "ephemeron", meaning something that disappears quickly, the term refers to an enormous variety of printed paper items which were never intended to survive much past their ephemeral use or enjoyment. Postcards, bookmarks, photographs, programs, menus, tickets, playbills, broadsides, posters, and sports cards are examples, but anything which captures someone's fancy qualifies if it was regarded as mundane and unimportant in its time.
Errata Slip: A slip of paper Laid-in or Tipped-in a book giving corrections discovered by the publisher after the book has been printed and bound.
Ex-Library/Ex-Lib: A book which has signs that it was once owned by a public library or a private institution. The signs range from minimal, unobtrusive marks or stamps to a book laden with stampings, card pockets, catalog numbers on the spine, etc. While most libraries stamp books they have discarded to indicate that the book was not stolen nor lent and never returned, the practice is not universal. One should check with the library if a book lacking a discard stamp appears to be of unusual value. Some ex-library books may have been Rebound in Buckram, a coarse linen which is heavier and more durable than the cloth used by publishers. The term itself does not imply anything about the condition of a book which may be quite decent. Ex-lib books, unless rare and important, are not collectible. Some out-of-print academic & scientific books, however, command high prices because their limited supply far exceeds the demand.
Ex-Libris: Literally "From the library of...", the term applies to a book from a private, personal library documented by the presence of a printed bookplate bearing the previous individual owner's name or initials. It does not apply to books once owned by a public library or a private institution which are described as Ex-Library.
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