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Glossary of Book Terms: Condition, Anatomy, Sizes & Abbreviations

Condition Guide

Here are Alibris' Condition Guidelines:

  • New — Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F) — Item has no defects, very little usage. May show remainder marks.
    • Books — Older books may show minor flaws. All original packaging and supplemental materials are included. Supplemental materials include, but are not limited to dust jackets, un-used access codes, accompanying CDs or DVDs. Access codes are not to be exposed or scratched off. Remainders may be classified as Fine / Like New.
    • Music — All original packaging and supplemental materials are included. Cases or album covers have no visible marks, scratches or scuffing. All original packaging and supplemental materials are in perfect condition. Packaging may have a remainder cut-out, which should be noted in the listing comments.
    • Movies — All original packaging and supplemental materials are included. Any redeemable codes for digital copies or downloadable content must be included and unused
  • Very Good (VG) — Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh, but still attractive. Ex-library products are not allowed in this condition as they cannot be graded higher than 'Good'.
    • Books — Older books may show minor flaws. All CDs and supplemental material must be present and unused. Exposed or scratched off codes are not allowed.
    • Music — All original packaging and supplemental materials are included. The packaging and supplemental materials may show limited signs of wear.
    • Movies — All original packaging and supplemental materials are included. Any redeemable codes for digital copies or downloadable content must be included but could have been used
  • Good (G) — Your average used product with everything present. Can include ex-library products.
    • Books — All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Possible slightly loose bindings, minor highlighting and marginalia, cocked spine or torn dust jackets are acceptable. Loose pages are not acceptable. Books that do not have their accompanying CDs, access codes or other supplemental materials must note this clearly in the description field. May include "From the library of" labels. Books with library markings (aka Ex Library) cannot be graded higher than Good.
    • Music — All original packaging and supplemental materials are included. The item or the item's packaging may have identifying markings, slight scratching or scuffing.
    • Movies — All original packaging and supplemental materials are included. The item or the item's packaging may have identifying markings, slight scratching or scuffing.
  • Fair (FR) — Obviously well-worn products with everything present.
    • Books — Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability.
    • Music — All original packaging and supplemental materials are included. The packaging and supplemental materials may show obvious signs of wear.
    • Movies — All original packaging and supplemental materials are included. The packaging and supplemental materials may show obvious signs of wear.
    • Poor (P) — A product that shows extensive external signs of wear and could be missing components. Poor products carry a higher risk of customer dissatisfaction and are more likely to be returned.
    • Books — All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category.
    • Music — Shows extensive external signs of wear, but continues to play perfectly. The box or jewel case, cover art, liner notes
    • Movies — Shows extensive external signs of wear, but continues to play perfectly. The box or jewel case, cover art, liner notes, or other inclusions may be marked, or one or all of these items may be missing.
  • Alibris Remainder Policy
    • Remainders that have been marked have not been previously owned, but they are also not considered pristine. Sellers on Alibris may list these items as "Fine / Like New" but are advised to note the presence of remainder marks or cut-outs in their listing comments.
    • A book remainder mark is usually made with a stamp or permanent marker on the bottom edge of the book, though it may be on the back cover or another edge. CD remainders are usually marked by cutting the spine of the case or punching a hole through the UPC / barcode. Although these "cut-outs" don't damage the CD or liner notes, they are visible.
    • Alibris Rebound / Re-binding Book Policy
    • Sellers on Alibris may not list rebound books for sale. Alibris does allow the sale of rebound collectible books, but they need to be identified as such. Sellers can mark books 'collectible' in their inventory through the Seller Hub. Abuse of this policy, and the collectible exception, may result in account suspension and could result in legal action against the Seller by the publisher of the book.

Book Anatomy


Book Sizes (English & Metric)

All sizes are approximate.

4to, Qto. . . . quarto size (9" x 12" or 22.9cm x 30.5cm)

8vo, Oct. . . . octavo size (6" x 9" or 15.2cm x 22.9cm)

12mo . . . duodecimo size (5" x 7 .5" or 12.7cm x 19.1cm)

16mo . . . sextodecimo (4.25" x 6.75" or 10.8cm x 17.2cm)

24mo . . . twentyfourmo (3.5" x 6" or 8.9cm x 15.2cm)

32mo . . . thirtytwomo (3.25" x 5" or 8.3cm x 12.7cm)

64mo . . . sixtyfourmo (2" x 3" or 5.1cm x 7.6cm)

Atlas folio . . . 16" x 25" or 40.6cm x 63.5cm

Elephant folio . . .14" x 25" or 35.6cm x 63.5cm

Folio (Fo., Fol.) . 12" x 15" or 30.5cm x 38.1cm

Common Abbreviations

A.D. : Autograph document

A.D.s. : Autograph document, signed

Ads, adverts : Advertisements

A.E.G.: All Edges Gilt

A.L. : Autograph letter

A.L.s. : Autograph letter, signed

A.M.s. : Autograph manuscript, signed

auth : author

bce : book club edition

bd. : bound

bdg. : binding

bk : book

bks : books

bkpl : bookplate

bkstrp : backstrip

BMC : British Museum Catalog

brk/brok : broken

buck : buckram

C. & p.: Collated and perfect

ca. : circa, approximately

cat : catalog

CBEL : Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature

chip/chp : chipped

cl: cloth

col : color

conts : contents

cpy : copy

cv : cover

DAB : Dictionary of American Biography

dec/decor : decorated, decoration

dict : dictionary

disb : disbound

dj : dust jacket

DNB : Dictionary of National Biography (British)

doc. : document

dw : dust wrapper

ea : each

ed : editor

edn : edition

Eng./Engl. : English

eng./engr. : engraved

ex-lib/x-lib : ex-library

ep : endpaper

F./ff. : Folio, folios (leaves)

facs : facsimile

f/o : fold out

front : frontispiece

fwd : foreword

fx : foxing (also foxed)

grn : green

hc : hardcover

hf. : half (as in half sheets)

hist : history

hndbk : handbook

hng : hinge

ill/illus : illustrated, illustration

Imp. : Imperial

impft : imperfect

ins : inside

inscr : inscribed

intro. : introduction

Ital. : italic letter

lea. : leather

lf : leaf

lge. : large

lith : lithograph

L.p. : large paper

LS : letter, signed

ltd : limited

mag : magazine

M.e. : marbled edges

Ms/Mss : manuscript(s)

mssg : missing

mrbld : marbled

N.d. : no date

N.F. : Near Fine

N.p. : no place

N.s. : Note, signed

N.V.G .: Near Very Good

Ob./obl. : oblong

oct : octavo

OED : Oxford English Dictionary

op : out-of-print

orig. : original

o/w : otherwise

pamph : pamphlet

pb : paperback

pc : price clipped

P./pp. : page, pages

pg : page

photo : photograph

pict : pictorial

Pl, pls : plate, plates

po : previous owner

pol. : polished

port : portrait

p., pp. : page, pages

prc clpd : price clipped (from dust jacket)

pref : preface

prelims : preliminary leaves

pres : presentation copy

prev : previous

priv prntd : privately printed

pseud : pseudonym(ous)

pt. : part

pub : published or publisher

rbkd : rebacked

reprd : repaired

rev : revised

sc : soft cover

sgd : signed

sig : signature

slpcs : slipcase

sl : slight

sm : small

sp : spine

sq : square

STC : Short-Title Catalog

stns : stains

swd : sewed

T.E.G : top edges gilt

T.L.s : Typed letter, signed

tp : title page

trans : translator

TS : typescript

unb/unbd : unbound

vd/vy : various dates, various years

vol/vols : volume(s)

w.a.f .: with all faults

w/ : with

w/o : without

wn : worn

wr : wear

wrap(s) : wrappers, paperback

wt : weight

yr : year