When you buy an antique or collectible book, it’s important to know what exactly you’re getting. Condition tend to vary, so knowing the terminology used to describe the different parts of an antique book is essential for collectors, or anyone looking to expand their bookshelf! Here’s a brief rundown of some common terms used by book sellers when they describe a vintage book:
Antiquarian: An antiquarian book means it fits into the “collectible” genre. This term suggests that the book was printed years or centuries ago and is generally quite rare.
Advanced Copy or ARC (Advanced Review Copy): A copy of the book that was published prior to the known publication date for reviewers and sellers.
Backstrip: Material that covers the spine of the book.
Binding: The complete cover of the book, which includes the backstrip/spine.
Book Club Edition: A specialized reprint of the book’s 1st Edition. Some Book Club Editions may be condensed.
Covers: The front, back and spine of the book – i.e, the complete binding of the book.
Dust Jacket (DJ): Hardcover books are sold either with or without a Dust Jacket. A Dust Jacket (DJ) refers to the paper artwork that covers the book’s exterior. Hardcover books are much more valuable when a Dust Jacket is included. Depending on the condition of the Dust Jacket, the book’s value increases by about 35-100%. A book in excellent condition with an intact dust jacket can double in value.
Ephemera: A written or printed document originally expected to have only short-term usefulness or popularity. Most paper ephemera are quite rare because of this. “Paper Ephemera” refers to pamphets, booklets, brochures, playbills and other vintage items.
1st Edition: The first available printed copy of a collectible book.
Foxed / Foxing: Foxing refers to a chemical reaction that causes brownish staining or spotting of the papers. Foxing is usually seeing in older books (19th century or before) with steel engravings.
Fray: Loose threads in a book with a cloth overlay that emerge from the cover or backstrip.
Gilding: Refers to a decorative overlay to the book’s cover or binding, usually gold or silver, to give it a more alluring appearance.
Illustration: Any type of picture, design, graphic, map, or diagram printed within the text of the book. Note the book’s illustrator along with the author.
Impression: This term refers to the number of copies during a particular press run
Library-Bound: A book produced for libraries or schools; generally with a more durable binding
Limited Edition: Refers to a publication that has been restricted to a small amount of copies for a specific audience
Marbled: Paper decorated with an imitation marble pattern.
Mint Condition: Book’s condition is like new; as in the same day as publication
No Date (ND): The book shows no publication date, or the date is unknown.
Pamphlet: A short paper edition that covers a single subject area
Paperback: A soft cover book with a paper exterior
Tips: The furthermost corners of the book
PayIT4Ward Books clearly outlines the condition of each item in our store. Click here to check out some new additions to the PayIT4Ward bookstore!
Mrs. Grundy: Studies in English Prudery is an entertaining and informative read by Peter Fryer that takes a deeper look at the extreme beliefs towards sexuality and censorship in the past. His notes go as far back as the 1300s, and some of the information is outlandish and downright hilarious.
Fryer’s account begins with the spoken word. The first few chapters trace the changing words considered to be proper. For example, the word “belly”, which gradually was replaced by “stomach” in the 1300s. It was taboo to say “belly” – in fact, according to the text, “Respectable Englishwomen” were seriously offended, even by doctors, who used the word. Fryer includes stories of Doctors unable to treat patients who couldn’t tell him which “limb” was hurting because they refused to use the necessary words to describe parts of the body!
These stories are laughable in modern times – but it’s important to remember that self-censorship certainly still exists today, particularly in radically conservative groups. We might like to think of our own beliefs as far superior to medieval values, but much remains the same more often than we like to think.
Ernest Hemingway, July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961, is one of the most successful and highly regarded writers in the history of American literature. His understated style of writing had a major influence on 20th-century fiction, while his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations. Hemingway won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. He published seven novels, six short story collections, and two non-fiction works. Additional works, including three novels, four short story collections, and three non-fiction works, were published posthumously. Many of his works are considered classics of American literature. Three of his most popular novels are For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Sun Also Rises, and A Farewell to Arms. Click here to get a set of all three 1st Editions now at the Pay IT 4Ward Bookstore! Here’s some more info on each of these works.
For Whom the Bell Tolls is a novel by Ernest Hemingway published in 1940. It tells the story of Robert Jordan, a young American in the International Brigades attached to a republican guerrilla unit during the Spanish Civil War. For Whom the Bell Tolls is commonly regarded as one of Hemingway’s best works. A film adaptation of Hemingway’s novel, directed by Sam Wood, was released in 1943 starring Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman. It was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Actress. In 1956, a television adaptation, directed by John Frankenheimer, was broadcast in two parts on CBS‘s Playhouse 90, starring Jason Robards and Maria Schell.
The Sun Also Rises is a 1926 novel by Ernest Hemingway. Like For Whom the Bell Tolls, this work has been regarded as Hemingway’s greatest publication. The Sun Also Rises is about a group of American and British expatriates who travel from Paris to the Festival of San Fermín in Pamplona to watch the running of the bullsand the bullfights. The Sun Also Rises was published in the United States in October 1926 by Scribner’s. A year later, the London publishing house Jonathan Cape published the novel with the title of Fiesta. Hemingway biographer Jeffrey Meyers writes that it is “recognized as Hemingway’s greatest work.” In addition, Hemingway scholar Linda Wagner-Martin calls it his “most important novel.”
A Farewell to Arms is a novel by Ernest Hemingway set during the Italian campaign of World War I. The publication of A Farewell to Arms cemented Hemingway’s status as a modern American writer and became his first best-seller. Originally printed in Scribner’s Magazine, A Farewell to Arms was published in September 1929. This work is described by biographer Michael Reynolds as “the premier American war novel from that debacle World War I.”
A Farewell to Arms is a first-person account of American Frederic Henry, serving as a Lieutenant in the ambulance corps of the Italian Army. It follows a love affair between Henry and Catherine Barkley, set against the tumultuous backdrop of World War I. The title is taken from a poem by 16th-century English dramatist George Peele. A Farewell to Arms has been adapted for the stage in 1930, and later for film in 1932 and 1957. It was also adapted into a TV miniseries in 1966. The 1996 film In Love and War, directed by Richard Attenborough and starring Sandra Bullock, depicts Hemingway’s life in Italy as an ambulance driver in the events prior to his writing of A Farewell to Arms.