About This Website
~ About the Main Page Image ~
Behind the three leather-bound books on the main page is a small portion of page 203 of Every Book Its Reader by Nicholas Basbanes - an esteemed chronicler of the bibliopassionate.
(Used with the permission of the author.)
~ About the background ~
The background is composed of a block of "book words" - terms and phrases used throughout the book collecting world.
Definitions and context can be found below...
The background also contains a small puzzle - at least one word contains a deliberate mistake and there is also one repeated word - can you find them?
If you find the green on green too hard to read, it the mistaken is duplicated in the list below (but not the duplicate - happy hunting!).
These errors, in a book, could be called "points" if they were unique to a particular edition.
~ Terms ~
octavo - a traditional size and format of book dating to Aldus Manutius(c. 1500) of similarly size to the modern trade paperback. This was the smallest edition usually produced; today, it can also refer to the standard hardback size.
deckle edge - ragged edge of the paper as it comes from the papermaking process.
incunabula - coming from the Latin for in the cradle, or in swaddling clothes - meaning the earliest period of Western printed material, c. 1500.
editio princeps - "first edition," the first time a particular book has been printed. Traditionally, the most sought after edition.
Hon - A customary sentence ending in Baltimore. As in, "How ya doin', Hon." Sometimes short for "honey." Also, a way to refer to a resident of the region. As in to be "a Hon."
endpapers - the pieces of paper before the title page and after the text that are glued to the cover.
foxing - the browning or spotting of older paper
manuscript - the original, handwritten version of a book
Kelmscott - famed printing firm associated with William Morris, considered to have produced some of the most attractive books ever published.
uncut pages - pages with edges not slit or trimmed.
36-line - The later of the two styles of Gutenberg Bible produced.
hypermodern - A period of focus for book collecting, embracing the most recent editions.
gally, also called a "galley proof" - a printed version of a page used for error corrections.
Charm City - one of the nicknames for Baltimore.
engraving - a type of illustration made with cut metal plates
ephemera - printed material not originally intended to be preserved. In book collecting, this term is typically used to describe pamphlets, fliers, and notices.
juvenalia - usually the childhood or pre-professional work of an author.
fine press - term used to denote books created to standards of exceptional quality and artistic taste.
illumination - illustrations done to illustrate early hand-copied or printed works.
reading copy - the copy of a work a collector uses and handles to avoid abusing their collectible one.
ex libris - "out of the library," a phrase commonly found on bookplates above the name of the owner of the book.
antiquarian - a person who deals with or collects rare and ancient books
Aldine - a book from the press run by Aldus Manutius, an early printer.
book arts - used to refer to the study and appreciation of all the steps in traditional book production - binding, illustration, and printing
signature - in respect to books, either the conventional "signature" of the author, or a large sheet of paper printed with several pages, which, when folded, is intended to several leaves in the finished book
inscription - a note from someone, often the author, to the intended recipient of a copy of a book.
dust jacket - the cover found on modern hardbacks, often eye-catchingly illustrated.
42-line - The earlier of the two styles of Gutenberg Bible produced.
cuts - illustrations printed alongside the text
quarto - a traditional book size, approximately that of a modern magazine
bibliomania - the "disease" of liking books too much. Described by Nicholas Basbanes and others as "A Gentle Madness"
modern first edition
proof - page printed for checking and correction before the full printing run is started.
association copy - a copy of a work, perhaps otherwise unremarkable, known to have been owned by someone of historical or other interest.
facsimile - reproduction or duplicate, typically referring to a version of the author's signature.
rebound - term used for a book that has been
folio - an early size and format for books, roughly equivalent to the modern "coffee-table" size.
review copy - printed and bound copy of a book or other work sent out to reviewers after publication
gilding - the application of gold paint to the exposed edges of a book
advance reading copy - an early printing, sometimes not the final text, sent to critics and others for publicity purposes.
verso - left-hand side of a folded or bound item
tipped-in - an illustration or other item added to a printed book by gluing an edge to another page in the book.
Monumental City - one of the earliest nicknames for Baltimore, said to date to the visit of the President John Quincy Adams in XXXX.
engraving - the process of cutting an illustration onto a metal plate for printing
near-fine - a term used by booksellers to describe condition, indicative of good-but-not-perfect
slipcase - An box with an open end, used for keeping a set of books together
collection - a set of books accumulated around a particular era, focus, interest or author.
blindstamp - to emboss or impress a design (usually onto spine or covers) without ink or foil.
plates - whole page illustrations
rubbed - indicates the book has some wear abrasion, usually to the spine or jacket.
vignette - decorative designs usually in books to separate sections or chapters
trade edition - the edition of a book published for distribution to the general public through booksellers
rebacked- the renewal or replacement of the material covering the spine of a book.
presentation copy - traditionally a specially prepared edition of a work made with a particular recipient in mind, often with elaborate binding and details.
started - to become loosened or disengaged
marbled - decorative design usually applied to the endpapers of a book
offset - common technique for printing photographs
colophon - the brief description typically found at the end of a book, describing production details, or, A printer's mark or logotype
half-leather - a book with leather spine that extends about one-fourth the width of the sides and leather corners. The remainder of the sides of the book are covered in cloth or paper.
dedication - is a section at the very beginning of a book containing a tribute to something or someone
half-tone - a printing technique creating shading from the repetition of dots
Dos-a-Dos - a unique style of binding where two books are bound together such that that open in different directions and share a board.
library binding - either an edition published with an eye to being studier for library reuse, or the practical of binding serial publications or paperbacks for longevity and easier storage.
morocco - a type of leather
frontispiece - an elaborate decorative illustration that appears facing the title page of the book
remainder - one of the unsold copies of a book that are being liquidated by the publisher
bookplate - a label indicating the institution or individual that owns the book
pseudonym - name used by an author in place of their actual one
laid-in - loosely inserted; an ephemeral item (often related to the contents of a book, such as a map or newspaper clipping) that has been inserted in a book
vellum - animal skin that has been stretched to create a surface on which something can be printed or written
spine - the bound end of a book.
worming - small hole in the page of a book left by a book worm
buckram - a stiff cloth, made of cotton, and still occasionally linen, which is used to cover and protect books
mounted - an illustration attached to (as opposed to printed directly on) a blank sheet in a book
watermark - a faint, intentional design found in high quality paper and recent currency notes.
high-spot - term to describe the most desirable items in a particular area of collecting.
state - des
flyleaf - a binder's blank located at the front and rear of a book, adjacent and medial to the front and rear pastedown
suppressed - censored or otherwise deliberately prohibited from reaching general circulation
typescript - original version of a book or letter as typed, rather than handwritten, by the author
yellowback - he nickname given to the particular type of cheap edition evolved about the middle of last century for display and sale on railway bookstalls
pagination - the numbering and layout of pages
broadside - a large sheet of paper, generally printed on one side and folded into a smaller size, often used as a direct-mail piece or for door-to-door distribution
as-new - a book that is in immaculate, crisp condition with a perfect dust jacket
levant - a soft pebble-grained leather made from goatskin; used for book binding
three-quarters-bound - a book bound largely but not entirely in leather
re-issue - a new printing or different form of a book
subtitle - an explanatory or alternate title of a book
provenance - a
half-title - the page with just the title, which usually precedes the full title page and is part of the front matter
Americana - books on or about America
blanks - blank pages intentionally left in the book by the publisher
private-printing - a book not intended for general sale, often published in very small quantities for an author's friends or family
chapbook - Small, inexpensive books produced from the 17th century until the present.
shelfworn - condition in which the extremities of a book show the effects of having been on a shelf
mint - immaculate condition, absolutely perfect copy
fading - discoloration resulting from sun exposure, often found on the spine of a book
beveled - a process which cuts or sands the boards of a book on the outside or inside edge along the head, tail, and fore edge to create a more pleasant feel
festschrift - a book honouring a respected academic presented during their lifetime.
head - the upper margin of a leaf, cover or endpaper
pirate edition - an edition printed without the cooperation or knowledge of an author
solander case - a type of case molded to shape intended to protect a book
blurb - a quote or comment praising an author or book, usually found on the dust jacket.
photogravure - a technique for producing large numbers of duplicates of a photo
misbound - pages or signatures sewn together in an improper order
stub - narrow strip of paper usually remaining where a leaf has been cut away
catalog - the descriptions of the items found in a particular collection
woodcut - a type of illustration produced from a illustration copied onto a block of wood for printing
bowed - bent, usually slightly outward
yapp - a type of book-binding with projecting limp leather cover
tooling - a decorative technique for leather
bumped - small raised defects on a spine or covers
pristine - no defects in condition
samizdat - material clandestinely copied and passed from hand to hand; the term originates from items circulated covertly in the Soviet Union
offprint - a printed copy of an article that originally appeared as part of a larger work
points - the defects and distinctions that differentiate one edition from another, commonly used to verify that a particular book is a first edition.
lithograph - a printing technique for creating color illustrations