Glossary & Book Grading Terms
Here's a helpful guide through the maze of book
grading. We are strict when it comes to grading and do not allow
rips, tears, creasing of any kind in our Fine or Near Fine
books. We grade older books using the same standards as
modern/contemporary books. i.e. we do not upgrade an older
book's "grade" just because it's older.
it comes to grading, the book itself is indicated first, then
the dustjacket. For example, VG/VG+ is a very good book in a
very good plus dust jacket.
We use the term as new only when
the book is in the same immaculate condition in which it was
published. There can be no defects, and the dustjacket is
As free from defects as possible.
Virtually new books also, but perhaps have been opened or on a
NF - Near Fine
All flaws must be disclosed. Minor defects,
light wear, no tears, rips, holes or creasing to dust
Near Fine book can have other types of flaws. For example,
a bookplate or a previous owner’s name written in the book are
flaws, but in an otherwise Fine book, may downgrade the
item to Near Fine.
VG - Very Good
A very good book is an average used, read book that shows
some signs of wear. DJ may have closed tears or creasing. Book
may have some foxing or soiling. All flaws are indicated. We use
variations on the VG grading such as VG+ and VG-.
G - Good
A book in Good condition contains all text, but is heavily
worn. Generally books in Good, Fair, and Poor condition are used
as Reading Copies only--not a collector copy. Contains flaws
like rips and stains. Heavily thumbed, well worn. Typical used
book that has been passed around and not protected properly.
We use variations such as Good+
A very worn book that may lack endpapers, half-title, etc.
Binding, jacket (if any), etc. may also be worn, spine can be
canted. Major defects are noted. Defects may include:
Rough appearance, scuffs and creases.
Discoloration, fading and/or soiling.
Some pieces may be missing.
Cover may be detached.
Split or damaged spine.
Pages may be brittle/discolored around the edges.
Tape or other forms of repair.
Reading Copy only book. Contains complete text, which
must be legible. This copy may be soiled, scuffed, stained or
spotted and may have loose joints, hinges, pages, etc. Defects
Front cover may be gone or coverless.
Moderate to extreme brittleness.
Chunks missing from DJ or wraps
Much creasing, folding, etc
ARC - Advance Reading Copy (Uncorrected Proof as well)
An ARC is a special, usually softbound pre-hardcover 1st
edition of a new book sent to bookstores and reviewers by
publishers. They can be quite collectible, but if you are
selling them, make sure the selling venue allows their sale.
BCE - Book Club Edition
Book Club Editions are
published and sold through a book club in usually cheaper than
formats. Book club dust jackets usually feel lighter and different.
They typically do not
have a price on the interior flap. The text is usually poor, and
book often has a dot, circle or square impressed on the rear board. Some
publishers actually released book club editions that state
"first edition" and that resemble the trade first very closely.
Always lift the dustjacket and look at the rear of the book to
check for the small, usually square or circular stamp to the
lower right.If it's there, the book is a BCE.
An ex-library book is generally not considered
collectable and MUST be designated as ex-library prior to sale.
These books usually have their dust jackets and Brodarts taped
or glued to the book, contain stamps on the end papers to
indicate the library's ownership, and may or may not contain a
card pocket and other, related detritus.
Yellow/brown stain or spots on a book's pages, which is
apparently caused by a micro-organism reacting chemically with
A book that has not only been signed by the author (or
illustrator), but that has an inscription, sometimes
personalized, as well. For example, "To Joe-Bob, Merry
Christmas 1982, Tony Hillerman."
An ink marking made by the publisher
or book dealer on the top, side or bottom of the leaves.
This generally indicates that the book was overstock or not sold
at retail price.