Bookpoi - A guide to identify rare and first edition books


Glossary of Book Terms - Letter B

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"B" Grade – A condition grade given to a book that is slightly creased in the spine or shows some wear on the covers. Might have name, initials, light stamp in the book.

B or b - A page numbered alphabetically in the front of a book

Back strip - The spine or back of a book.

Backstrip Label - A square or rectangular piece of paper or leather attached to the spine of a book, containing printed information about the book, such as author, title, and volume number. Also known as backstrip label.

BAL - Bibliography of American Literature.

Bastard Title - The page that more often than not precedes the title page. It may only contain the title of the book and no additional information. Also known as a Half-Title or Front Matter

BCE or bce - book club edition

BD or bd. – bound

BDG or bdg. – binding

Beveled Boards - Edges or boards that are cut at an oblique angle prior to covering, as opposed to the standard 90 degree cut.

Beveled edges - A binding technique in which the edges of the boards of the book have been cut to a slanted angle. Also known as beveled boards.

Biblio - From the Greek; signifying or pertaining to books.

Biblioclast – Someone who destroys books.

Bibliognost - Having a deep knowledge of books.

Bibliography - 1. A list of titles, generally located at the rear of a book, referenced by the author

Bibliographer – A person who studies, collects, and/or is an expert on books.

Biblioklept – A person that steels books.

Bibliomaniac - A bibliophile in whom the love of books has become an obsession; many book dealers and rare book collectors. Most visitors to Bookpoi are likely to qualify as a bibliomaniac.

Bibliophile - A lover of books.

Bibliophobia - A fear of books.

Bibliopole - The people behind the booths at the book fairs.

Binding - The process that secures the pages or sections of a publication to keep them in order and to protect them. Binding may be stapled or sewn, sewn and enclosed in wrappers, or by gluing the pages to the outer cover, but most often refers to a hardcover binding. The art of bookbinding has its own fascinating history; knowing the basic chronology of bookbinding history can be an aid in dating undated material and help in the detection of fraudulent material.

Binding Copy - A book that is worth re-binding; the book covers are in serious disrepair, but the text is fine and the book is typically uncommon and collectible.

Bindings - A term generally used in the antiquarian book world to mean Fine Bindings, of which there are a number of styles. A highly collectible and generally expensive category. Some examples of fine binding styles are Antique, Cambridge Style, La Greque, Dos-A-Dos, Etruscan, and Spanish Calf.

BK or bk – Abbreviation for Book

BKPL or bkpl – Abbreviation for Bookplate

BKS or bks – Abbreviation for books

BKSTRP or bkstrp – Abbreviation for backstrip

Blank Leaves – An intentionally left blank page in a book. Also known as blank leaves or printer's blanks.

Blind Stamp - A colorless impression that is embossed on paper or on a cloth or leather binding. When it is found on a page, it typically signifies the owner's name or the words "Review Copy." When it is found on the binding, it is typically for decorative purposes. Also known as blind.

Block Books - Books made around the mid 1400's in Germany and the Netherlands in which pictures and explanatory text were printed from woodblocks.

Blurb - A reviewer's comment, generally written by another author, or by a reviewer for a newspaper or magazine. Blurbs can be printed on wraps, on dust jackets, on front pages and on wraparound bands.

BMC - British Museum Catalog

Board Book - A durable book format that is used for children's books, in which all pages are printed on thick cardboard.

Boards - The front and back covers of a hardbound book. The term originates from the time when a book’s covers were actually made from wood. Covers are now typically made a stiff cardboard or paperboard.

Bonded Leather - A material consisting of two layers of leather and a lining attached to each other by a chemical process or adhesive.

Book Block - The signatures of a book, sewn and trimmed, but without covers, endpapers, or a binding. Also known as text block.

Book Club Edition – The bane of many new collectors and book sellers. A book usually printed for a book club such as "The Book of the Month Club" or "The Literary Guild." These copies sometimes have the words "Book Club Edition" printed on the bottom right corner of the front flap of the dust jacket. Occasionally, if the book club does not wish to do a separate edition they will have a publisher blind stamp the rear board and print a supply of dust jacket without a price on the front flap and/or without the bar code data on the rear panel. See the Bookpoi page on how to identify book club editions by clicking here.

Book Conditions -

New or Mint - A new book in unread condition in perfect condition with no missing or damage or wear to the dust jacket, cover or pages.

As New - To be used only when the book is in the same immaculate condition to which it was published. There can be no defects, no missing pages, no library stamps, etc., and the dust jacket (if it was originally issued with one) must be perfect, without any tears or wear.

Fine (F or FN) - Approaches the condition of As New, but without being crisp. For the use of the term Fine, there must also be no defects, etc., and if the jacket has a small tear, or other defect, or looks worn, this should be noted.

Very Good (VG) - Describes a book that does show some small signs of wear - but no tears - on either binding or paper. Any defects must be noted.

Good (G) - Describes the average used worn book that has all pages or leaves present. Any defects must be noted.

Fair - Worn book that has complete text pages (including those with maps or plates) but may lack endpapers, half-title, etc. (which must be noted). Binding, jacket (if any), etc., may also be worn. All defects must be noted.

Poor - Describes a book that is sufficiently worn, to the point that its only merit is as a Reading Copy because it does have the complete text, which must be legible. Any missing maps or plates should still be noted. This copy may be soiled, scuffed, stained or spotted and may have loose joints, hinges, pages, etc."

Book Formats - the traditional terms used to describe book formats based on early printing methodology and the size of handmade sheets of paper. When two leaves (four pages when printed on both sides) were printed on a sheet so that it could be folded once, collated with other folded sheets and bound, the format of the volume was a ""folio"". When four leaves (eight pages) were printed on the same size sheet, which would later be folded twice, the format of the resultant volume was a ""quarto"" (four leaves). The term ""octavo"" relates to the sheet having eight leaves printed on it. Today some booksellers are providing the height of a book in inches or centimeters rather than using these early terms which do not relate directly to the sheet size or process used for printing today. The following is offered as a guide to convert book formats to approximate book sizes:

8vo - A book that is up to 9 ¾"" tall. See Octavo.

12mo - A book that is up to 7 ¾"" tall.

16mo - A book that is up to 6 ¾"" tall.

24mo - A book that is up to 5 ¾"" tall.

32mo - A book that is up to 5"" tall.

48mo - A book that is up to 4"" tall.

64mo - A book that is up to 3"" tall.

Folio - A book that is up to 15"" tall.

Elephant Folio - A book that is up to 23"" tall.

Atlas Folio - A book that is up to 25"" tall.

Double Elephant Folio - A book that is up to 50"" tall."

Book Jacket - A removable paper wrapper that protects the book cover. Dust jackets came into use during the early 19th century. They came into more common use in the early 20th century as a means to advertise the book to potential buyers. Also known as dust wrapper, book jacket and dust jacket.

Book Label - A label indicating the ownership of a book, usually placed on the front pastedown. Generally smaller than a bookplate.

Bookplate - An indication of ownership in the form of a plate placed on the front pastedown.

Book Sizes - see Book formats.

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. Also a term used for someone that a lot of time with book and reading.

Bound - A book is bound by sewing the pages to the boards prior to the gluing of the covering material.

Bowed - A condition of the book covers or boards of a hard cover book where they are bent in or our and not lying flat as they should be. The condition generally results from a rapid change in the level of moisture in the air and is caused by different rates of expansion or contraction of the paste-down and the outer material covering the board.

Breaker - A person who breaks up books to sell the plates individually, or the book itself when the covers are so bad that it either has to be rebound or broken up.

Bright Copy - Refers to the condition of a book; a surprisingly bright or fresh copy of an older book means the book is clean and without a lot of evidence of typical wear and tear.

brk or brok - Abbreviation for broken

Broadsheet - A printing which occurs on both sides of a single leaf. Also called broadside.

Broadside - A single sheet of paper that is printed on one side only. Examples include songs, poems, announcements of sales, and political declarations.

BSA - Bibliographic Society of America.

Buck - Buckram, a heavy linen cloth used in book binding. It is often starched or coated with some protective material.

Buckram - A heavy linen cloth used in book binding. It is often starched or coated with some protective material.

Bumped - Refers to the condition of a book. Typically means that there is a bump or indentation to an edge of the boards or pages, but can also mean worn, bent, or rounded corners of the boards of a book.

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