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


Refers to the standard reference book about wine books printed in the English language, Wine Into Words: A History and Bibliography of Wine Books in the English Language by James M. Gabler. Originally published in 1985, it was reissued in a greatly enlarged version in 2004, and with the numbering system used to identify the books changed. Thus if someone quotes a Gabler number at you, you'd better find out what edition they used to determine what book they are referring to. We purchased Mr. Gabler's collection of wine books in 2005, so we used his own copy of the second edition, shown here, when citing his reference.


An advance issue of a book, usually printed on long, thin "proofing" paper, for use in-house by the author, printers, and editors. An ungainly format that doesn't fit comfortably on a shelf, these were generally issued in very small numbers, perhaps as few as 2-5 copies, for the specific purposes listed above. If the galley is for a desirable book, written by an eagerly collected author, and combined with the "rarity" inherent in its very limited production, these can be very expensive. If the galley is for a book by an author of no interest to collectors, combined with its ungainliness, it becomes a candidate for the recycling bin (except by us, who can't throw away anything and only know how to recycle book descriptions).


As in "original cloth gilt" — gold decoration or lettering applied to a binding or page edge. Gilding the top edge was desired not only because it looks attractive, but also because it makes the books easier to dust off. Often condition on books that have been gilded is at least partly determined by how much or little the gilding has tarnished or rubbed. This copy of Charles Dickens' Sketches by Boz, offered in our Catalog 119, had elaborate gilt decorations on the boards and spine. Not to be confused with the feeling of shame you get when you buy from some other bookseller and we have to put the cats on a diet.


Thin, partially transparent paper product, either printed, or most often not, used as a dustjacket on some books, perhaps most frequently on limited or small press editions. This two volume first edition set of Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert, offered in our Catalog 113, has the French-folded glassine jackets as issued.


Bad. Not to be confused with the phrase more commonly used in the English rare book trade "extremely good," which doesn't mean extremely bad, but something closer to "of exceptional mediocrity." We avoid the phrase good (and for the most part, avoid books that we have to call good), unless we can honestly say the book is good. We'll use "fair" sometimes, or "poor," or on rare occasions, "pissed on by rats." You probably want to avoid copies in this latter category. Of these two copies of Rafael Sabatini's The Sea Hawk one is "fine" and the other is "good." Can you guess which one is the "good" copy? Can you guess which one costs more? See — this collecting stuff is easy.


A reference book by Barbara Grier, The Lesbian in Literature. In her citations Grier uses a system of asterisks (*) to indicate the relevance or amount of lesbian content, with the highest rating of ***. Grier's own definition of books designated *** is: "indicates those titles that stand out above all the rest and must properly belong in any collection of Lesbian literature." Our initial supposition was that *** also indicated that the book in question had more "hot parts." Thus far our extensive research has not supported this conjecture, but we'll keep researching nevertheless.


Usually refers to a citation from Anton Grobani's Guide to Baseball Literature. Grobani also created a bibliography of football books, so on occasion we may be referring to that volume instead.


Another term used to describe the joints. Also, where booksellers or collectors end up after they leave certain joints.