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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Rare Book

What makes a book rare?

Rare doesn't mean a book is valuable, expensive, or collectible. Rare doesn't mean the book is old. What DOES it mean though? Rarity is solely driven by the frequency of occurrence, i.e., how common or uncommon a book is. An (uncommon) example: You gather the pages of your diary, bind them, publish them, have one copy produced and you have a rare book on your shelf. We typically call a book rare when we don't get to see it too often, e.g., once or twice in a decade, maybe less. If we get to see a book more often, it might be called scarce or uncommon.
The front, or obverse, side of the leaf; i.e. the right-hand page of an open book or manuscript. (Oriental books open the other way, with the recto on the left.) Its complement is the verso
Image created by a printmaking process, such as woodcut, where the areas of the matrix (plate or block) that are to show printed black (typically) are on the original surface; the parts of the matrix that are to be blank (white) having been cut away, or otherwise removed. Check here for more information about the process.