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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 O
Obverse: The right-hand page of Leaf in a book. Also called the Recto.
Octavo (8vo): A book size designating a book up to 9-3/4" tall. Abbreviation 8vo. See Book Sizes and Formats Figure 2.
Open Tear: A tear in which the two sides are irregular, ragged, chipped, or otherwise uneven due to missing paper. See Closed Tear.
Opened: Generally only noteworthy when all or some of the Leaves are Unopened, the term means that some or all of the leaves in a book formed by folding a single printed sheets into a Gathering have been cut open allowing each leaf to be turned apart from the others in the same gathering.
Out-of-Print: A book which is currently not being printed. This might seem to cover the situation adequately, but there are several cautionary matters worth noting about the implications of this status regarding a book's availability and scarcity. The expression has a somewhat formal meaning within the book publishing, distributing and sales industry. A publisher is expected (but not required) to place a written notice in Publisher's Weekly declaring that the publisher has ceased offering the book for sale and has no current plans to do additional printing runs. This declaration does not necessarily mean that the publisher has no copies of the book in stock since notice is generally given before the publisher's stock has been depleted. Sometimes, however, the remaining copies have been purchased by the author and are now available only from that source, or these copies have been Remaindered to a distributor at a highly discounted price. Remaindering is a sure sign that copies of the book are easily available and probably will be for some time. A publisher's lack of copies does not mean they are not still available (even in abundance) from distributors and retailers who have not exhausted their previously acquired stock. So to, the declaration that the publisher has no current plans to do additional printings does not necessarily preclude the publisher from issuing an updated, expanded, or otherwise revised edition at a later date. Finally, if the rights to a discontinued book have reverted to the author, the author may find another publisher or self-publisher the book in the same or a new edition. These last two points are important because many Out-of-Print, non-fiction books which have lost their desirability and value due to the issuance of revised.
Out-of-Series: Extra copies of a true Limited Edition printed only to replace defective or lost copies prior to release. These copies will lack a written or stamped number indicating their place in the series in the blank spaces provided in the book for that information, and will probably not signed by the author and/or illustrator. These are not counted among the number of copies to which the edition is limited, nor do collectors value them as more than understudies of the limit edition.
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