Bookpoi - A guide to identify rare and first edition books


Glossary of Book Terms - Letter F

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F. or ff. - Folio, folios. Also known as leaves.

F or F – Fine condition.

F/O or f/o - fold out

Facs - Facsimile

Facsimile - A copy that looks like the original printing of a book but is not original. Facsimiles can be a source of frustration to collectors and booksellers but are acceptable for some institutional library collections. The term can also refer to one or more pages or illustrations that have been reproduced or copied to replace parts of the book that are missing. Also known as fake

Fading - The color of some book covers fades or becomes less intense when exposed to light. Also known as Darkening.

Fair - Except for the very rarest books or hard-to-find reference books for research, this condition level is well below collector grade. Books in this state may have detached or missing covers, no dust jacket, torn pages etc. The books should still have all the pages (though some may be loose).

Fair Market Value - Fair market value is the amount a dealer or reseller may pay for your book or ephemera item.

Fake - A copy that looks like the original printing of a book but is not original. Also known as a facsimile.

False band - A fake raised band that is attached directly to the spine of the book or the hollow of the cover. This decorative element is designed to make the book look sturdier than it actually is.

Festschrift - A book containing a number of scholarly essays printed in honor of an individual.

Fine - Standard abbreviation is "F".  A Fine book in a Fine dust jacket is often written as F/F. Fine means virtually flawless.  What flaws are present should be very minor and virtually unnoticeable, such as a few tiny nicks to a dust jacket. You will notice in some dealers catalogs, the expression "else Fine," which means except for the stated flaw in the description, the book is near perfect. For example, a description may read, Small scratch to the front cover, else Fine. 

If a book is described as Fine, certain flaws must be mentioned. For example, the presence of a former owner signature or bookplate must be mentioned. All dealers and collectors should always keep in mind the basic standard - how does this book compare to the way it looked when it first came off the press. Fine basically means - very close to a brand new look.

Fine books, especially when that condition is scarce for a particular title, will always carry a substantial premium in price. The small scratch mentioned above can drop the price of an otherwise fine $600 book by as much as 15% to 20% and possibly more for modern first editions.

Fine binding - An elaborately designed book; for example, a book that is bound in leather with blind stamps and gilt edges.

First American edition - The first edition published in the U.S. of a book that was previously printed elsewhere.

First and Second Printing before Publication - This indicates the publisher was successful in promoting the book and had more orders before the actual publication date than the first printing quantity would cover, therefore a second printing was ordered. Not a first edition.

First Appearances - this term can refer to several different concepts:

  • The first time an author appears in print, i.e. Henry D. Thoreau's first appearance in print was as an anonymous obituary in a Concord newspaper.
  • The first time a specific writing of an author appears (in a magazine or newspaper or anthology), Emily Dickinson's poem "I'm nobody Who are you" appears first in "Life", March 1891.
  • The first time a specific subject is treated in book form, i.e. the first American book on the subject of dry fly fishing was written by Emlyn Gill and published in 1913.

First Books - the first book appearance by an author (usually refers to a book entirely by the author, not merely a first appearance of a poem or short story in an anthology). Frequently an established, well known author's first book is not widely known; i.e. James Fenimore Cooper's "Precaution".

First British edition - The first edition published in the United Kingdom of a book that was previously printed elsewhere. Also known as first U.K. edition.

First Edition - Generally used by book dealers and collectors to mean the first appearance of a work in book or pamphlet form, in its first printing. Every printed book has a first edition but many never have later editions. When book collectors use the term, they're usually referring to the first printing and if there are different states or issues, the earliest of those. See also edition and high spot.

Some related terms:

  • Issue: a portion of an edition printed or published deliberately by the printer or publisher in a distinct form differing from the rest of the printing relative to paper, binding, format, etc. The distinction between "issue" and "state" is that the former relates to changes done on purpose by the publisher and intentionally treated as a separate unit, i.e. a large paper issue.
  • State: a portion of a printing with changes such as minor alterations to the text either intentional or accidental; insertion of cancels, advertisements, or insertions; copies on different paper without intention of creating a separate issue; and other changes other than folding or collating or binding. An example would be when a pressman discovers battered or broken type, stops the presses and resets that portion of the page by replacing the broken type and then resumes the printing.
  • Variants: usually refers to differences in bindings or end papers ( paper located just inside the front and rear covers, one half of which is glued to the cover) within an issue or printing. One variant may have a title stamped on the front cover in black and another may be stamped in red.

First edition thus - An edition of a work that postdates the first edition and contains some modification to the work. The modification might be a new introduction, added illustrations, new supplement, new format, and/or a revision of the text. It can also refer to a first edition of the work by another publisher.

First Separate Edition - The first appearance as a complete book or pamphlet of a work that has previously appeared as part of another book.

First Thus - Means not a first edition, but something is new. It may be revised, have a new introduction by the author or someone else, be the first publication in paperback form, or first by another publisher. Same as first edition thus.

First Trade Edition - The edition produced for general commercial sale, as distinguished from a limited edition.

First U.K. edition - See first British edition.

First U.S. edition - See first American edition.

Flex-cover - A supple and tractable book cover. Flex covers are often used in conjunction with spiral bindings.

Fly Leaf - The flyleaf is a binder's blank located at the front and rear of a book, adjacent and medial to the front and rear pastedown.

Fly Sheet - Similar to a broadsheet, but smaller and printed on both sides.

Fly title - A page which precedes the title page and the text, with the title (often abbreviated) usually centered on the page. Same as half-title.

Flyleaf - A blank leaf, sometimes more than one, following the front free endpaper, or at the end of a book where there is not sufficient text to fill out the last few pages.

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

Fore - The edge to the right when facing the book

Fore Edge - The trimmed edge of the leaves of a book; the edge of the page opposite the spine, bound or back edge of the book. Also known as front-edge

Fore-edge painting - A watercolor decoration, usually a scene or a geometric design, painted on the ends of the pages of the fore-edge of a book. Traditionally, the pages are painted so the decoration disappears when the book is closed and only appears again when the pages are fanned. However, the opposite can also be true of a fore-edge painting; the decoration can appear only when the book is closed. The tradition of fore-edge painting dates back to the 10th century and reached its peak of popularity in England in the latter half of the 17th century.

Foxed - Brown spotting of the paper caused by a chemical reaction, generally found in 19th century books, particularly in steel engravings of the period. Also known as Foxing.

Foxing - Refers to the condition of a book; intrinsic to paper, the patchy brownish-yellow spots that discolor plates and pages of a book. It is most likely caused by lack of ventilation and/or chemical reactions between the paper and microorganisms. The spots are generally found in 19th century books and can range from barely visible to ruinous. Also known as foxed.

FPT - " Freight Pass Through." This acronym, found on some dust jackets, means that the price includes shipping. The presence of this acronym is an indication that the book is not a book club edition.

Frayed - Refers to the condition of a book; the unraveling of the threads or fibers of an edge of a book cover that is caused by excessive rubbing.

Free Endpaper - The sheets of paper pasted onto the inner covers, joining the book block to the covers. One side of the sheet is pasted to the inside cover, the other is left free. Also known as End Papers.

French Flaps - Trade paper back covers with inturned "front flaps" and "back flaps", as if the cover were covering boards, except it isn't. A bit of fancy packaging ostentation.

Front free-endpaper - The free or loose half of the pasted-down double leaf that is found at the very beginning of a book. The other half of the leaf, the pasted down portion, is attached to the board.

Front Matter - The pages preceding the text of a book.

Front – frontispiece

Front-edge - Fore-edge.

Frontis - An illustration at the beginning of a book, usually facing the title page. Same as Frontispiece.

Frontispiece- An illustration at the beginning of a book, usually facing the title page.

Full Binding - A binding in which the spines and boards are uniformly covered with the same material. Can also mean the book is entirely bound in leather.

Fwd or fwd – Foreword

Fx or fx – Foxing, also known as foxed.

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