Book Grading

Hardcovers

There’s a sense of permanence with a hardcover book that makes one want to care for it. We cover all our books in mylar or similar wrap upon receipt. We try to lay our books horizontally on shelf to limit any drag on the binding - very common with the large size tomes these days.

Publishers use different bindings, end papers and produce limited or special editions in hardcovers. Unfortunately this all comes at a price, but if you can afford it the book that has any chance of appreciating in value will be the hardcover edition. Of course this implies that it is the first print or impression of the edition - a subject which can be quite tricky, given that publishers tend to use their own system for indicating print status. There have been many instances of inflated prices for later prints on eBay, so in short - ask or do your research.

AB Bookman's Weekly first proposed in 1949, a set of terms that could serve as a standard for the antiquarian book trade. These terms have been widely adopted as industry standards since then. These are the standards that AB Bookman's Weekly now maintains and that the International Book Collectors Association endorses and supports. We follow the same.

As New is to be used only when the book is in the same immaculate condition in which it was published. There can be no defects, no missing pages, no library stamps, etc., and the dustjacket (if it was issued with one) must be perfect, without any tears. (The term As New is preferred over the alternative term Mint to describe a copy that is perfect in every respect, including jacket.)

Fine 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 can describe a used book that does show some small signs of wear - but no tears - on either binding or paper. Any defects must be noted.

Good describes the average used and worn book that has all pages or leaves present. Any defects must be noted.

Fair is a 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 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.

Ex-library copies must always be designated as such no matter what the condition of the book.

Book Club editions must always be noted as such no matter what the condition of the book.

Binding Copy describes a book in which the pages or leaves are perfect but the binding is very bad, loose, off, or nonexistent.

Dustjacket in all cases, the lack of a dustjacket should be noted if the book was issued with one.

These terms may be arbitrary, but whatever terms are employed, they may be useless or misleading unless both buyer and seller agree on what they mean in actually describing the book.

Paperbacks: 

Whilst we collect in hardcover whenever possible that’s not to say we don’t appreciate paperbacks, ultimately it’s about the story right?, plus there are some absolutely stunning books only available in a paperback format.  We have thousands of paperbacks all over the place and have been working on cataloguing these, it has been a labour of love. 

We have cleaned every book in the collection and wherever possible removed any stickers and marks from the front covers. We can now state for the record that our top ‘ hates’ would be stickers and marker pens! 

The one thing we love about paperbacks is the art - aimed at impactful images for mass market sales, some of the covers are just out there, others are beautiful and some simple sexploitation (particularly the 50’s - 80’s). From a collectors perspective it is nice to have matching sets and we can now finally see all that great art that we’ve had stacked away on the shelves.

We will go about cataloguing these by a number of different titles e.g. Vintage and Anthologies etc. and by size, as there are a number of different sizes which can drive any collector insane when trying to have a matching set and buying on-line.

Types by size (generally, as this can be slightly different by publisher or country):

We’ve taken a paperback and represented the same book in the various sized editions that paperbacks come in (note all our book images have been standardised for uniformity and are therefore not true depictions of book dimensions): 

                                       

                                                   Pocket                Paperback               B - Format                     TPB - B                               TPB

Paperback - This includes books of  approx.118 ×178 mm and is the most common size; and the US "pocketbook" format books of approx.118 ×160 mm (typically only vintage books)

B-format - indicates a medium-sized paperback of 128 mm × 198 mm

Trade (TPB) - is a large-sized paperback book, typically with dimensions of 135 mm x 216 mm in the (B) format and 155 mm x 230 mm. If it is a softcover edition of a previous hardcover edition, and if published by the same publishing house as the hardcover, the text pages are normally identical to the text pages in the hardcover edition, and the book is essentially the same size as the hardcover edition. Significantly, the pagination is the same so that references to the text will be unchanged: this is particularly important for reviewers and scholars. The only difference is the soft binding; the paper is usually of higher quality than that of a mass-market paperback.  These books can be huge.

We will use the mass-market as the default for all books, so unless a book is stated B-format or TPB it’s a mass-market copy!  

Paperback Grading:

Ok, given that most of our paperbacks were bought second hand or acquired from others they range from the near new to reading copies. Generally the images should provide some guide to the books state.

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