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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Back, Backstrip
A frequent synonym in the antiquarian book-trade for the spine of a book, or the backbone or shelfback: whether leather-bound, cloth-bound, boarded or wrappered. It was first pasted to the back of the quires, forming a flexible back; refinement of tooling and economy dictated the hollow back in the 18th century.
Backstrip is commonly used to describe the paper spine-covering of books in boards, which is usually different from the paper covering of the boards.
Back is used in such terms as gilt back (of leatherbound books) or boards, cloth back (see half cloth), but should be, and mostly is, avoided in any context where it might be confused with the back cover, or lower board, of the binding.
Reference/Bibliography: Jacob Blanck; Bibliography Of American Literature; 1955 - 1991; provides nearly 40,000 records of the literary works of approximately 300 American writers.
Bookbinding: the three edges of a folded sheet that must be cut so that the leaves can be opened

The Book of Lost Tales

written by J.R.R. Tolkien, published in 2 volumes, volume one published in 1983, volume two in 1984. For additional information see Hammond A21/A22.
A label, mostly adhesive, placed in a book to indicate ownership. Most book-plates are decorative, often with the intent of portraying some insight into personality of the book's owner. An author's book-plate can add value to a book by making it an association copy though most often the presence of a book-plate is perceived as reducing a book's value.
A printing, often used as a poster to announce an event, proclamation or also for a poem or music. On a single sheet of paper and only printed on one side; the verso (other side) is blank. When printed on both sides, the sheet becomes a "broadsheet".
A stiff cloth, made of cotton, and still occasionally linen, which is used to cover and protect books. Modern buckrams have been stiffened by soaking in a substance, usually now pyroxylin, to fill the gaps between the fibers.