Imperial Books uses common bookselling grading terms for both books and jackets, if applicable. These are our definitions of these terms:

Book Condition Terms:

Never used. Often purchased directly from the publisher, or in original shrink wrap. A new book may have a minor flaw from shipping; this will be noted in the description is such a flaw exists.

: Without faults or defects. Gift worthy.

NEAR FINE: a book or jacket approaching FINE but with a couple of very minor defects or faults, which will be noted.

VERY GOOD: A book showing some signs of wear. Any defects or faults will be noted. Text will contain no writing or highlighting. There may be a previous owner's name, inscription, ex-libris sticker, or other ownership notations on the front end paper, first page or inside front cover. Jackets may have edge wear or very minor tears. Paperback covers may have a minor crease. Spines will be uncreased.

GOOD: The average used book that is totally complete (as issued) and intact.
Will show definite signs of wear. May have highlighting, underlining, margin notes, etc. in the text. Paperback spines may be creased. Any defects will be noted.  Includes ex-library books in better-than-average condition.

FAIR: A worn book that has complete text pages (including those with maps or plates) but may lack endpapers, half-title page, etc. Any defects or faults will be noted. Cover corners may be worn through, paperback covers may be creased or have tears. Ex-library books in this category will have decided wear.

READING COPY: A book that is sufficiently worn that its only merit is the complete text, which must be legible. Any missing maps or plates must be noted. May be soiled, scuffed, stained, or spotted, and may have loose joints, hinges, pages, etc.

Book Terminology:

The front and back covers of a hardcover book. In modern trade volumes, the boards are typically covered in paper or cloth. In special editions, they may also be covered in leather or other materials.

The material covering the spine.

BOOK CLUB: We try to designate book club editions (BCEs) whenever possible, although some are difficult to identify. Book club editions tend to be somewhat smaller than their retail counterparts, and often have lighter-weight covers. Jacket art is usually similar, although BCE jackets rarely include a retail price or UPC bar code.

Colophon page
In modern limited editions, the page where the publication and limitation information is given.

Copyright page
In modern trade editions, the page—usually the verso of the title page—that contains the publication and copyright information. The edition identifier (if any) is usually found on this page.

Dust jacket. Also dust wrapper, dust cover, DJ
The paper cover issued with a hardbound book.

Dust jacket protector or mylar
A clear plastic cover that wraps around the dust jacket.

The outer surfaces of a book's leaves.

Open the front or back board, and you will see a large leaf of paper facing you. The half of the sheet attached to the board is the paste-down. The half that is left as a “page” is the free endpaper.

EX-LIBRARY: We always designate ex-library books, no matter what the condition of the book.

Flat Signed: an original signature by author or illustrator without any added inscription or other personalized wording.

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.

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

Free Endpaper
(also Front Free Endpaper FFEP and Rear Free Endpaper RFEP) - The first or last movable leaf of paper in a book aka Front or Rear Fly; often blank.

Half-title page
The page that precedes the title page, containing only the title of the book.

The inside portion of the flexible area where book cover meets the book spine.  Often used in conjunction with the term Joint which describes the exterior portion.

The right-hand page of an open book. The “front” of a page.

REMAINDER MARKS: We will always disclose a remainder mark if one is present. We may specify that there is NO remainder mark present if we are aware that there are remaindered copies in the marketplace. See definition below.

Title page
The page preceding the text that carries on its recto the book’s title, the author’s name and the name of the publisher (and, sometimes, the location and logo of the publisher).

Top Edge Gilt (T.E.G.)
Usually abbreviated teg, it means that the top edges of the pages have been covered with gold leaf or gilt material.

The left-hand page of an open book. The “back” of a page.

The covers of a paper-bound book.