As I'm reading through (& writing) blog posts, it occurs to me that a lot of used book sellers use the terms Good... VG+ .... Near Fine, etc. to describe the condition of their books. I thought it might be helpful to explain a little further what those terms mean and why they're used.
Back in 1949, at an international booksellers meeting, it was decided that booksellers needed a better system of describing unseen books to one another. The terms "new" or "used" or "smelly old book," left a lot to be desired. So they created a standard set of rules and descriptors for determining the condition of a book in order to better communicate to other booksellers. This system has since become the industry standard. Now, however, we're starting to see booksellers add a "+" to the category. Just like a grade, this indicates that the book would be considered in the upper range of said category.
- Other (less recommended) terms: Like New, New, Mint
- AS NEW describes a USED book that is in the same pristine condition in which it was published. ("New" is used to describe a hypermodern book that has not yet been sold to anyone).
- The book has absolutely no defects, no missing pages, no dings or scratches, no library stamps, etc.,
- The dust jacket (if it was issued with one) must be perfect without any tears.
- The term As New is preferred over the alternative term Mint to describe a copy that is perfect in every respect, including jacket. The term "Mint" is used by collectors in other fields to describe their collectible toy, stamp, etc. but has been known to be somewhat subjective, depending on the seller.
- Other (less recommended) terms: Near New, Near Mint
- approaches the condition of As New, but without being "crisp." (most likely it's been read a couple of times and has lost some of it's 'new-ness')
- Just as in the 'As New' category, there must be no defects.
- If the jacket has a small tear, or other defect, or looks worn, those should be noted.
- This shouldn't really be abbreviated to avoid confusion with the "Fair" category, but it is often displayed as "F" sometimes in conjunction with the dust jacket condition, as in "F/NF" (Fine/Near Fine)
- Other (less recommended) terms: Near Fine
- can describe a used book that does show some small signs of wear - but no tears - on either binding or paper.
- Any defects must be noted.
- This is often abbreviated as "VG," and on the higher end of the category, you may see: "VG+," or "NF" (Near Fine)
- describes the average used and worn book that has all pages or leaves present.
- Any defects must bo noted.
- This will be abbreviated as "G" or "G+"
- is a worn book that has complete text pages (including those with maps or plates) but may lack endpapers, half-title, etc. (which must be noted).
- Binding, jacket (if any), may also be worn.
- All defects must be noted.
- This should not be abbreviated, to avoid confusion with the "Fine" category
- If something is in "Fair" condition, it's just "Fair" - you won't really see "Fair+"
- describes a book that is sufficiently worn that its only merit is as a Reading Copy because it does have the complete text, which must be legible.
- Any missing maps or plates should still be noted.
- This copy may be soiled, scuffed, stained or spotted and may have loose joints, hinges, pages, etc.
- These are books that once belonged to a library, and as such contain library markings, stamps, stickers, or inclusions.
- Booksellers must always note this no matter what the condition of the book.
- In modern/hypermodern collections, these will be copies marked by 'BoMC,' 'BMC,' or 'BCE'
- Generally they do not include the price on the interior of the dust jacket.
- Booksellers should ALWAYS note if something is from a Book Club no matter what the condition of the book.
In all cases, the lack of a dustjacket should be noted if the book was issued with one.
- describes a book in which the pages or leaves are perfect but the binding is very bad, loose, off, or nonexistent.
[resource: Terms for Describing Condition from AB Bookman's Weekly, http://www.modernlib.com/General/AB%20Bookman%20content.htm]
Labels: AB Bookman's Weekly, book condition terms, books, collectible, used