How to Describe Rare Books, Manuscripts, Autographs, Maps, Prints, Atlases, First Editions, Illustrated Books - Glossary in English

b/w b/w

Black and white illustrations, photographs, etc.

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Backstrip

The covering of the book's spine

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BAL

Bibliography of American Literature, compiled by Jacob Blanck, a scholarly and bibliographically exhaustive work in nine volumes describing the works of many American authors, mostly concentrated...

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Baskerville type

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bc, bce

A book club edition. Books printed for a book club.

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Best edition

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Beveled edges Beveled edges

When the edges of the boards are noticeably tapered.

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Bible

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Bible paper

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Bibliography Bibliography

A list of works, occasionally in great detail, on a given subject or by a given author.

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Bibliomania Bibliomania

"Literally, a madness for books. A bibliomaniac is a book-collector with a slightly wild look in his eye", John Carter writes in his ABC for Book Collectors. You sometimes find them in reality, but...

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Bibliophile

The love of books. A lover of books is a bibliophile.

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Biblis

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Binder's Glue

The glue used by binders to attach cloth, leather, and pastedowns to the boards, and for whatever else binders need glue for. It turns up in book descriptions mostly when it has been either over...

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Binding Binding

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Binding Binding

The method of holding pages or sheets together; may be simply stapled or sewn, or sewn and enclosed in wrappers, but most often refers to a "hard" binding or covers. This type of binding may be...

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Binding copy

A book that is worth re-binding; the book covers are in serious disrepair, but the text is fine.

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Binding of papier boards

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Binding with wax mosaic decoration

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Biopredation

An attack to books by living matter, which may include insects or mildew.

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Black letter

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Blanks

Refers to a blank page that is left intentionally in the book. It can be located at beginning of the book, at the end of a clearly marked division, and/or at the end of book. Also known as blank...

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Bleed-through

Meaning that a substance has caused a stain that shows through the paper, such as tape that has been used to repair the inside of a jacket, but which has darkened and now shows on the outside of...

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Bleeding (print)

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Bleiler

A key reference work of genre fiction: The Guide to Supernatural Fiction: A full description of 1,775 books from 1750 to 1960, including ghost stories, weird fiction, stories of supernatural...

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Blind stamp Blind stamp

Decoration, picture, or lettering that has been impressed into the binding with a metal stamp prepared for the purpose, resulting in a "blind" (meaning uncolored) decoration, picture or lettering....

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Blockbook

"Blockbooks, or xylographica, as produced in Europe – usually with more illustrations than text, often hand-coloured, and mostly of a popular and/or religious character – were long supposed to...

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Blockson 101

Referring to a book referenced in A Commented Bibliography of One Hundred and One Influential Books By and About People of African Descent (1556-1982) A Collector's Choice by Charles L. Blockson,...

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Blurb Blurb

A comment from a review (often by another author praising the particular book), printed on the dustjacket or covers of a proof copy or on a wrap-around band.

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Board

The covers of a hard bound book; the boards are the stiff cardboard or paperboard which is usually covered with cloth or leather; and when covered with paper, the covers are properly referred to as...

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Bonded-leather

A cheaper leather substitute made from grinding up and "bonding" all the old leather shoes and pocket books you've thrown away, much as some fast food restaurants make bonded "roast beef" from cow...

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Book

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Book Auctions Online Book Auctions Online

Online Database of the German Antiquarian Booksellers' Association that contains the results of European auction houses (estimates and hammer prices). Other databases are "Jahrbuch der...

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Book binders signet

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Book club edition

A book issued, usually at a discounted price, by one of the many clubs, the best-known being the Book-of-the-Month Club (sometimes abbreviated as BOMC), which would re-publish popular books....

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Book description

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Book jacket

The paper, often with illustrations and information about the book and author, used as a protective covering over the book; usually referred to as a "dust jacket" or "dj", sometimes called a "dust...

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Book mark

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Book of arms, armorial (adj.)

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Book paper

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Bookbinder

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Booklet

A small book, often only a few pages long and bound in wrappers.

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Bookseller

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Bookseller label

Also called a ticket. In days of yore (that would be, before now) new bookstores would often have a small, usually discreet label that they would affix to one of the endpapers in the new books that...

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Bookshop

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Bookworm

Any of a number of moth or fly larvae which tunnel through the pages of books leaving behind small channels, holes in individual leaves. Very early books often have some evidence of bookworm damage.

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Border

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Border, frame

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Bottom edge

The bottom edge of the text block or pages of a book. The place where remainder marks are most likely to lurk.

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Bound

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Bowed

Warping to the boards of a book, ranging from very slight to a reasonable imitation of the shape of a gibbous moon. This is generally adjudged a flaw, in direct proportion to its severity, although...

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Brad-bound

Bound using (usually brass) brads threaded through punched holes, most often seen in use to bind screenplays that have been secreted away from studios by the office boy, and sold to unscrupulous...

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Bradel

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Braille

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Breviary

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Bright copy

Refers to the condition of a book; a surprisingly bright or fresh copy of an older book. It is as new and clean as the day it was published.

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Brignano

African-Americana reference work by Russell C. Brignano, Black Americans in Autobiography: An Annotated Bibliography of Autobiographies and Autobiographical Books Written Since the Civil War. Ever...

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Broadfoot

A good reference book for Civil War books: Civil War Books: A Priced Checklist with Advice by Tom Broadfoot.

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Broadsheet

A message or pamphlet printed on a single folded sheet of paper, often on both sides, unlike its step-brother the broadside.

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Broadside Broadside

A message or announcement printed on one side of a single sheet of paper. Because these were usually posted or hung, they tend to be ephemeral, often discarded, and subsequently uncommon.

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broché

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Brodart

A company which makes protective clear plastic liners for book dustjackets.

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Broken back

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Browned Browned

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Browning

Either one of a pair of married English poets, or what happens to wood pulp paper when the acids start to burn through it. This usually results in the paper becoming both darker and increasingly...

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Bruccoli

Matthew Bruccoli, a professor at the University of South Carolina, and the author of, or contributor to, many bibliographies. When we invoke his name, we are usually referring to his bibliography...

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BSA

Bibliographic Society of America

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Buckram

A binding made of sturdier than usual cloth, often used in the binding or rebinding of books that will be repeatedly handled, such as library books.

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Bulletin

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Bumped Bumped

Refers to the condition of a book; it refers to worn, bent, or rounded corners of the boards of a book.

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Burgess 99

A personal selection of ninety-nine English language novels published between 1939 and 1983, chosen with commentary by author Anthony Burgess and originally published as a book in 1984. An...

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