summary of abbreviations and explanation of terms follows. A fuller
may be found
in John Carters ABC FOR BOOK
COLLECTORS, Hart-Davis, 1952 (also later editions) and similar works.
Edn. - Edition - refers to all the copies of a book printed from the
one setting of type (may be more than one printing run).
Impr. - Impression - refers to all the copies of a book printed in the
one production (printing) run.
Folio - refers to a book where the pages are printed two-up and
the sheet folded once.
4to - (quarto) - pages are printed four-up and the
sheet folded twice.
8vo - (octavo) - pages are printed eight-up and
the sheet folded three times. This is the most common format and
is therefore often
omitted in descriptions.
16mo - (sextodecimo or sixteenmo) - the pages are printed
16-up and the sheet folded four times.
12mo - (duodecimo or twelvemo) - the pages are printed 12-up and
the sheet folded in three and then folded twice (or various similar
combinations). There are some other imposition (printing) and folding
schemes but these are less common, less standard, and more complex.
above folding schemes are combined with various sheet sizes to
give the finished size of the printed book - for most books the
edges and folds are trimmed resulting in slightly smaller page
sizes than a strict division would imply, however the size of the
boards for casebound books approximates the uncut size. The commoner
full sheet sizes are as follows:
Foolscap (F'cap) - 17" x 13½" (= 432 x 343 mm)
- 20" x 15" (= 508 x 381 mm)
20" x 16" (= 508 x 406 mm)
22½" x 17½" (= 572 x 445 mm)
- 24" x 19" (= 610 x 483 mm)
- 25" x 20" (= 636 x 508 mm)
roy.) - 27½" x 20½" (= 698 x 521 mm)
- 30" x 22" (= 762 x 559 mm)
46" x 28" (= 1068 x 711 mm) - size of drawing paper.
TERMS and ABBREVIATIONS:
pages - the numbers following indicate the number of preliminary
pages (title, contents, list of illustrations etc.) in small roman
followed by the number of pages in the main part of the book (in
arabic numerals). Numbers in square brackets indicate that the
pages are not
actually numbered. Items or comments in round brackets following
page numbers refer to those pages e.g. pp. [iv](half-title, title,
blank) means that there are four preliminary pages, unnumbered, comprising
the half-title and title-pages, the reverse sides of which are
ff. - folios or leaves - used where none of the pages are numbered or
where the pages are printed on one side of the leaves only (usually
on the rectos).
recto - a right hand page, the front side of the leaf.
verso - a left-hand page, the back side of the leaf.
plate - a page of illustration(s) usually printed on a different paper
or by a different printing method from the remainder (text block) of the book.
frontis. - frontispiece - a plate at the front of the book, usually
facing the title-page.
half-title - a page bearing a short title only and usually preceding
title (-page) - the page bearing the title of the book, the author,
usually the publisher and often also the date - if this information
is present on the title-page it is shown without parenthesis; if on
the back (verso) then it is shown in round brackets ( ) ; and if only
to be found elsewhere in the book it is shown in square brackets [ ]
No Imprint - No publishers imprint. N.P. - No Place (of publication);
No Pub. - No Publisher; N.D. - No Date.
As more books in English are published at London than anywhere else
in the world, the convention is usually followed that all books are assumed
to be published at London unless otherwise stated.
advertisements - usually following a number in the pagination indicating
of pages of advertisements
(usually but not always
half - half binding - spine and corners (or spine and fore-edge) covered
in the specified material - usually cloth, calf, morocco (i.e. goatskin
- one of the best book leathers) or other leather.
quarter - quarter binding - similar to a half binding but only the spine
is covered in the specified material - the remaining part of the board
or cover is usually covered with a less expensive material such as cloth
or paper. A full binding is entirely covered in the one material - most
modern books (other than paperbacks), are cased or bound in full cloth
or simulated cloth (i.e. paper - regrettably becoming more common nowadays).
roan - sheepskin - usually the split skin and not as durable as other
buckram - a linen book cloth, usually fairly coarse and unevenly grained;
attractive, strong and durable - one of the best materials for bookbinding.
Australian calf - a leather made from Australian kangaroo skin, similar
in appearance and texture to traditional calf, but much more durable,
and a highly suitable leather for bookwork.
Art. leather - artificial or imitation
leather, usually made from some sort of plastic with a more (or
less) convincing leather look.
cloth-grained papered boards - a fairly modern binding technique used
by publishers in which a paper with a cloth-like texture is used in
place of the more durable and expensive cloth once usual.
black & white.
orig. - original, as issued by the publisher.
wrappers - limp paper covers - similar to a paperback, though often
sewn or stapled in sections.
dustwrapper - the loose paper covering
(often highly decorated) on the outside of the book (also called
dust-jacket) - not generally considered an essential part of
the book, although it often carries information (such as biographical
notes of the Author, illustrations, etc.) not otherwise contained
endpaper - the fold of paper at each end of a book - one side is stuck
to the board (the paste-down) and the other is free (the free endpaper).
bibliography - often really only a book-list - a true bibliography should
contain detailed information as to the publication and physical make-up
of the books listed.
CONDITION: the following terms are used -
mint - as new, as it came from the publisher (sometimes, however, publishers
supply anything but mint copies!)
fine - close to mint for recent books.
For older books the criteria are relaxed a little - the condition
is judged relative to the average
or usual condition of copies encountered; a fine copy is therefore
considerably above average.
nice - much as the word implies - clean and pleasing to the eye and
without significant defects or blemishes - neat inscriptions or names
are not usually considered detrimental if unobtrusive.
good, very good - above average condition.
In our listings, all significant blemishes and any defects have been
noted in the descriptions. If no comments are made about condition then
the book is not necessarily mint but is sound and complete and in good