Glossary of Rare Book Terms

What is a rare book? What is signed versus inscribed? What is a first edition? What does 8vo stand for?
Find some of the common jargon booksellers and book collectors often use.

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a.e.g. or aeg

All Edges Gilt

Indicates that page edges of all (three) sides of a book have been gilded. See also t.e.g. (top edge gilt) for partial gilding of edges

Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America

The Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America was founded in 1949 to promote interest in rare books and foster collegial relations. We maintain the highest standards in the trade; members must meet certain requirements in order to join, showing a minimum of four years in the business of selling books, a knowledge of cataloguing, and a sound financial footing. All members agree to abide by the ABAA’s Code of Ethics. Books Tell You Why has been a member of the ABAA since 2008.
Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America

Antiquarian Book Dealers' Association of South Carolina

The South Carolina Book Dealers' Association is made up of persons and businesses in South Carolina USA, engaged in the selling of rare and out-of-print books. The Association fosters the appreciation and sales of antiquarian books, prints and manuscripts and promotes professional and ethical standards for its members. Books Tell You Why has been a member of the ABDASC since 2007.
Antiquarian Book Dealers' Association of South Carolina

Autographed Letter Signed

A letter that is signed and completely handwritten by the signatory. See also TLS (Typed Letter Signed).

Advance Reading Copy or Advance Review Copy

ARC’s are produced by publishers for distribution to journalists and booksellers before a book is released to the public. Since ARC’s are advance copies, they may diverge from the final version that is released; they may contain typos or have different cover art.
Adjective, used of (1) a binding blocked with the coat of arms, usually in gilt, of its original or a subsequent owner, and (2) of bookplates based on, or incorporating, the owner's arms.
Noun, used colloquially for an armorially decorated book.
As Issued
Generally used to clarify that some component of a book, e.g., the dust-wrapper, which is present or might appear to be missing is the state in which the book was originally published.
Association Copy
A book that has been inscribed and signed by the author to someone associated with the book or its author, such as a friend or family member.