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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First edition
A (first) edition of a book may often go through many printings with only minor correction or typos or other errors before its text is significantly changed, chapters or sections being added, deleted or significantly modified. Or, more often than not, if if is being translated. When the book goes back to press after such a change, it is in its second edition. While technically incorrect, for collectors, "first edition" has become the shorthand term for a copy from the first printing of the first edition. A proper description though indicates a first edition/first printing or first edition/later printing.
First trade edition
The first regularly published edition for release to the book trade and the general public. For publications after 1970 mainly accompanied by an ISBN. This may be the "true" first edition, or it may have been preceded by a first limited edition.
A binder's blank additional to, and following, the free front endpaper or preceding the rear. Often used for the free front endpaper itself.
Used to indicate one of the following: the numbering of leaves as distinct from the numbering of pages, a single sheet such as a broadsheet, or, as a statement of format in a book whose sheets are folded once producing two leaves or four pages, referred to as "folio size."
Fore Edge

Fore-Edge, Foredge, Fore Edge

The outer vertical edge of the pages of a book. In addition to the obviously named top edge and bottom edge, the fore edge is one of three open edges, it is the edge on which you (should) open the book, opposite the spine.
The term foxing is derived from the rusty red color of Reynard the fox and its use was first noted in 1848. Foxing is a descriptive term for scattered spots commonly reddish-brown in color, but also applied to spots of other coloration ranging from yellow to black. It should be distinguished from visible surface colonies of mold growth, which may result in paper stains of a wide range of colors, though both may be present concurrently. It may be easier to define what foxing stains (as identified by most conservators) are not. They are not the mold stains, with or without surface growth, which severely deteriorate the paper and cause a variety of colorations. They are not offset stains from contact with another paper or printing ink. They are not tide lines of liquid stains. They are not acid stains migrating from secondary material, although poor quality secondary materials may accelerate the foxing stain phenomenon.
French Flaps
French flaps are extensions of a paperback cover that fold inside the book. Provides additional stability to a book but is often rejected for cost reasons.
Illustration facing the title-page of a book (or, occasionally, of a division or section of a book). In collating an illustrated book which has no list of illustrations but in which, as often, the plates themselves are numbered in sequence, the frontispiece is seldom included in such numeration