What book dealers really mean. Click on thumbnails for larger images.


"Other than," for instance "else fine" after noting some flaws. One distinguished bookseller claims that citing flaws and then calling a book "else fine" is akin to calling a girl pretty, "except for her face." But in the real world a book can have some flaws and still be a fine copy if the flaws are mentioned and are so minor as to not knock the condition down a peg. This copy of Joseph Conrad's Lord Jim offered in our Catalog 103 had a little bit of rubbing where the spine met the front gutter, but was else fine.


Embossed ought to mean getting a promotion at work, but it doesn't. It's a raised decoration on a binding or paper made by stamping the design into the material. Of these two first American edition copies of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (offered in our Catalogs 125 and 127), the publisher's device on the spine of the dustjacket is not embossed on the first issue jacket (shown on the left), but it is embossed on the second issue jacket (shown on the right).


Loss to paper or cloth caused by any number of reasons, but usually some instance of slow and steady wear, as opposed to a more violent species of damage like chipping or tearing. Erosion usually happens to books before they come into the hands of dealers and collectors, who presumably know how to care for them. This previously unrecorded 1869 slave narrative by Elijah Turner entitled Rambles of a Runaway from Southern Slavery, offered in 2006, had some erosion to the paper on the boards.

Errata slip

A usually small piece of paper either laid into, or affixed into the text that indicates errors in the printed text, and the intended corrections, in order that the reader won't call up the author or publisher and say, "I found a mistake in your book!" Its presence or lack thereof in a book may constitute a "point of issue." The errata slip is vital to Harry Craddock's The Savoy Cocktail Book (this copy offered in our Catalog 127) — not only is it a necessary component of the first edition, but more importantly it's essential for a properly mixed Bacardi Cocktail.


The edges of a book or jacket. Also, the lengths to which we will go to obtain superior copies of books. There was darkening to the extremities of this first edition of Jerzey Kosinski's The Painted Bird, offered in our Catalog 46, but this copy bore a contemporary inscription from the author to Anaïs Nin.