Winter Sale! 10% Discount off any order. Get the code »

Book Descriptions

What do you include in the book descriptions?
How can I get more information on a listed book?
What is a "first edition"?
Do you have a glossary of abbreviations and book terminology?

What do you include in the book descriptions?

In most cases we include price, condition, publication date, and edition within descriptions for books. We may also include ISBN, cover art, specific details on the book's publisher, and a synopsis. Each book you find on our Web site is a single, unique copy, and we provide detailed descriptions of the books to help you decide which copy to order. To see the Book Details page, click on the highlighted book title from the Search Results page.

We have an illustrated Glossary of Book Terms that will help to unravel the puzzling language you may have found in the description of your book.

How can I get more information on a listed book?

We're happy to help. Just drop a note to Customer Service about the book and we'll research your question and get back to you. Be sure to include the book's Alibris ID, so we can find the specific book you want. You'll find the Alibris ID on the Book Details page, which can be found by clicking on the highlighted book title from the Search Results page.

What is a "first edition"?

When a book is listed as "first edition," it can mean many different things: true first, first U.S., first edition thus, etc. The term can be confusing--especially if there are several different editions from various publishers. The true first edition of a book is its first publication as a book. When book collectors use the term, they're usually referring to the first printing of the earliest edition of the book. Strangely enough, however, a book can be described correctly as a first edition even if it is not the first time that book has been printed.

Here's how it works: The original publisher of the book decides not to publish it any more and sells the right to reproduce the book to another publisher. The new publisher then publishes the book as the first edition, since it's the first time it has published it. The second publisher doesn't really care that it was published previously--it just wants to keep its own records straight. So, when you're looking for a true first edition, try to get the original date of publication and the original publisher from the Library of Congress Web site. Or, you can contact Customer Service , and we'll research your book for you. Be sure to include the book's Alibris ID, so we can find the specific book you want. You'll find the Alibris ID on the Book Details page, which can be found by clicking on the highlighted book title from the Search Results page.

You might also run across terms like "first edition thus" and "first U.K. edition." We explain all that and more in our Glossary of Book Terms .

Do you have a glossary of abbreviations and book terminology?

Yes! We have an illustrated Glossary of Book Terms that will help to unravel the puzzling language you may have found in the description of your book. You can also find the glossary by clicking on the Glossary link from the lower-left of any page on our Web site.

More questions? Go back to the main Help & Customer Service page or send e-mail to customer service .