What book dealers really mean. Click on thumbnails for larger images.
A proof that is uncorrected, which is probably why they call it that. The text of a book printed, and bound in softcovers for use by the author, editors, proofreaders, and favored reviewers. Often errors or earlier versions of text appear in these proofs, and reviewers are usually cautioned by the publisher not to quote from this version. Versions where the text has changed considerably are considered more desirable. Around 1976 some publishers, who had noticed that proofs had become collectible, began to distribute them more widely, to booksellers and others, as a sort of "party favor," and consequently the values of some (but not all) proofs eventually diminished. This uncorrected proof of Graham Greene's Stamboul Train, offered in our Catalog 74, was hardly a party favor. The author J.B. Priestley believed he was being caricatured in the novel and threatened a lawsuit. The passages were rewritten by Greene at the insistence of his publisher and his intended text exists solely in this rare proof form.
See also Sophisticated — this is the opposite: a book which has not been subjected to the indignities of restoration, but is rather in its natural state, "˜umble perhaps, but proud.