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

Machine clipped

Clipping to the corners of the jacket flaps jacket that was intended by the publisher, and effected by use of a machine. For many decades it was very common for publishers to issue all copies of first editions of their books with machine clipped jackets. Sometimes jacket flaps are machine clipped but not price-clipped (that is, there is still a publisher's printed price on the flap). This can happen if the publisher printed multiple prices on the flap to give themselves more pricing options, and then clipped away the unwanted prices prior to publication. The example shown here, courtesy of Ralph Sipper Books, shows the uncut front flap of the dustwrapper for the first edition of John Sanford's novel Every Island Fled Away (left) from a pre-publication copy compared to the front flap of first edition copies sold in bookstores (right), with the unused prices (all three of them) machine clipped off.


The original form of a book, story, or poem, as it was created by the author. Manuscripts can take many forms and can have many versions, or drafts. Dealers should be careful to determine the nature or priority of manuscripts that they offer for sale, although this isn't always so easy, especially with the advent of computer generated manuscripts. The most satisfying and least problematic manuscripts for collectors and dealers alike are those which exhibit work in the hand of the author — corrections, deletions, new passages inserted, or altered, etc., as was the case with this original Pearl S. Buck manuscript Son of Fate, which was offered in out Catalog 124. A really satisfying manuscript looks like the dog's dinner — the author has cut, pasted, scribbled, bled, and cried on it. Oh yes, and hopefully, he or she has signed it — not inherently necessary for the substance of the manuscript, but for the collector, something like the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae.


From a textual standpoint, the not-so-important part of a document, as in "exhibits a small tear only affecting the margin." However for the collector of antiquarian books, which were often bound in variant bindings, it can be an indication of desirability, with wide-margined copies the most desirable, and those with closely trimmed margins of lesser interest. Booksellers also like big margins, both in the book, and "on" the book, if you catch our drift...


What you won't be if you spend too much on books and your spouse finds out about it. Don't worry, we're happy to send your books to secret locations in order to prevent them from finding out. More strictly speaking, this is when the dustjacket from one copy of a book is supplied to another copy of the book. Don't try this at home, as it tends to ruin the bibliographical integrity of the book. Dealers ought to note when a jacket has been supplied, but they seldom do. The term book marriage actually goes all the way back to the beginning of the Enlightenment in the mid 1600s, when books were usually sold unbound and printers would smuggle politically dangerous (or salacious) works out of their country of origin by hiding them within more respectable or pious publications. Which brings us back to our original point, as when a parson's wife in the 1750s found Fanny Hill hidden in her husband's newest New Testament.


Baseball reference book Baseball by the Books: A History and Complete Bibliography of Baseball Fiction by Andy McCue that is a reasonably complete listing of fiction titles that feature the game of baseball. Recommended if you like baseball fiction, and unlike most reference books, can be acquired inexpensively.


A pamphlet, book, or broadside, usually ephemeral in nature, made by a mechanical printing or copying process using a stencil. Often seen in amateur printing, or for limited runs of printing, as for instance in screenplays. The stencils would wear out pretty quickly, so these were by their nature a self-limiting process. This copy of the screenplay for the film 1939 film Man About Town, offered in our Catalog 127, was on mimeographed sheets. This copy was also signed by most of the cast, including Jack Benny, Dorothy Lamour, Betty Grable, and "Rochester" Anderson.


Exhibiting a not-inconsiderable, but also not-excessive amount of some flaw, as in moderate foxing.


More than a little, but not so much as a lot. A flaw that doesn't rudely interject its presence into your consciousness, spilling its drink down the front of your dress, but rather demurely waits to be noticed, preferably after the check has cleared.


One of a number of variants of good quality leather made from goatskin, which is appropriate for dyeing, and generally used in better bindings, such as on this copy of Charles Dickens' Sketches By Boz, offered in our Catalog 119. One conservator of our acquaintance was decrying the misuse or misattribution of the various types of leathers by booksellers, and encouraged them just to call everything "leather." Yeah, that'll happen.


Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature (Springfield MA: Merriam-Webster, 1995). An excellent one volume reference, particularly nice for cribbing (and a favorite of contributors to Wikipedia). Like any reference, not without its faults and idiosyncrasies - being modern first edition dealers we find the inclusion of authors Laurie Lee, Nathaniel Lee, and Vernon Lee, but the omission of Harper Lee, a little curious.


Although this is a specific sort of plastic film, in the book trade it is used as a generic term to indicate one of several types of plastic used to protect books and dustjackets. These can come in precut sizes for jackets, or in rolls that can be cut and shaped to each individual book. Brodart is one popular manufacturer of these mylar liners, and novices in the book trade sometimes refer to any kind of mylar as Brodart, even if it comes from another company. The jacket on this copy of Edith Wharton's 1905 title, Italian Backgrounds, offered in our List 28, was so fragile we left the mylar on when taking the photograph — if you look closely you can see the reflections on the plastic and where it extends over the top front flap.