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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In addition to its significance in the history of the book throughout the centuries, a manuscript also represents a book in its earliest form in the publication process; it is the first version of the book submitted for publication. Most modern manuscripts are written electronically or via typewriter, but they may also be handwritten. It’s common for only one manuscript to exist, making these items exceptionally rare. Some collectors consider manuscripts to be ephemera rather than pre-first editions.
Fabric with a watered, interference pattern. Moiré silk was popular for doublures and flyleaves in the 19th century, often seen in France. Also called watered silk or tabby
A vegetable tanned leather having a characteristic pinhead grain pattern developed either naturally or by means of graining or boarding, but never by embossing. The most common and characteristic grain pattern is known as "hard grain."
By long usage, the term "morocco" is taken to denote a goatskin, tanned by any vegetable tannage, and boarded in the wet condition; in a more strict interpretation, however, morocco is defined as a goatskin tanned exclusively with SUMAC , and boarded in the wet condition. Leather made from vegetable tanned goatskin having a grain pattern resembling that of genuine morocco, but produced other than by hand boarding, is more properly termed "morocco grained goat" or "assisted morocco. "