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

Reading copy

A copy which is not a collectible copy, either because it is a reprint edition, or because the condition is so far gone that the cataloger, faced with the prospect of the term "about fair," decides instead to consign it to the rubbish heap.

Rear free endpaper

see front free endpaper but put it in the back

Rear panel

see panel, and do your utmost to put the information in context


When the boards of the book have been detached or lost from the text of the book, and the binding has been replaced. Sometimes books are rebound simply because a collector appreciates the look more than the original binding, or wants the books to be consistent in appearance with others in his library. These signed L. Frank Baum Oz first editions offered in our Catalog 119, The Marvelous Land of Oz and Queen Zixi of Ix, were rebacked and rebound at an early date.


A (usually positive) small review or comment by an important author or commentator that has been printed on the dustwrapper to stimulate interest in the book. Recommendations can be bibliographically important, either because they are an original piece of published writing by an author (something completists care about), or because their presence or absence is an issue point. That's the case with Tom Clancy's first book, The Hunt for Red October (the copy shown here offered in our Catalog 63), which has to have only six recommendations on the rear jacket panel (among other issue points) for it to be a first edition. Also see Blurb.


The "front" of a page in a book, or the page that is on the right-hand side of a book when it is opened. Also called the obverse.

Reference library

What every legitimate bookseller should have, and what many take great pride in. The Internet is a great tool, but it is a poor substitute for a comprehensive library of bibliographic reference works. Although printed references can make mistakes too, only some idiots can write a bibliography, whereas any idiot can post something on the world wide web.


The legal process by which one man's trash, having become another man's treasure, is legally reclaimed by the first man because the second man made the mistake of telling everyone what it was worth. Replevin often involves government bodies, which threw away old paperwork in an effort to modernize, reclaiming said paperwork once a trash-diving private individual shows it to have historic (and usually financial) value. It can also involve outright theft of documents and their recovery, but where's the irony in that?


Later printings of a book, or something you usually don't want if you are a first edition collector. You can read them though.

There are two common exceptions among collectors: 1) textually or artistically significant reprints, in which academics and die-hard collectors will take an interest, and 2) signed or inscribed reprints, which, if the author rarely signed or the association is particularly notable, can command healthy interest and/or prices. This early reprint edition of The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, offered in our Catalog 122, was inscribed by Rand to the research director of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, making it an interesting association copy.


As in "sticker residue" or "tape residue" - once upon a time long ago, the book in question had a sticker or tape on it, someone removed the latter, but some of the adhesive or some evidence of it still remains.

Review slip

A small printed piece of paper either laid into or affixed to a regular trade edition of a book, sent to reviewers, in order for the publisher to stimulate interest in the book. Usually sent out before the official day of publication, so the reviewer can prepare his review to appear when the book is officially published, these command a premium among those that want the earliest distributed copies of a book, which after all, is one of the reasons people collect first editions in the first place. This Advance Review Copy of John Steinbeck's first book Cup of Gold, offered in our Catalog 125, had the review slip laid in.


Refers to a citation in Walter B. Rideout's reference work of socialist fiction and proletarian novels: The Radical Novel in the United States 1900 - 1954: Some Interrelations of Literature and Society.

Roth 101

Andrew Roth's The Book of 101 Books: Seminal Photographic Books of the Twentieth Century, which has been a convenient guide to photography collectors.


Wear, often to the edges, caused to a book or dustjacket that is the result of friction, often from being removed and replaced upon a shelf with other books. There is no truth to the rumor that the books themselves refer to this process as "scoring." This first edition copy of Mickey Spillane's The Long Wait, offered in our Catalog 122, had some modest rubbing on the jacket where parts of the original illustration are no longer present.