Assessing Books

Have you fallen for the scent of ancient books? With its pages read by those who are now gone. It’s a tale not of what someone knows of that time, rather a gateway of someone who has lived in those times. Or perhaps you desire a book for yourself or a friend wishing to save some hard earned money. It’s all the same disappointment when the book arrives only to reveal pages stained or torn, marked up with entire pages either ruined or missing.

While I cannot control what other people sell or how other people assess the condition of their books. I can tell you how I have come to understand simple book terminologies and how Emerald Labyrinth assesses it’s books. 

Contents

  • Condition Terminologies
  • Other Book Terminologies
  • Deluxe and Collector’s Editions

Condition Terminologies

Note no matter the condition any defects should be noted by seller

Willa of the Woods by Robert Beatty. A book
Willa of the Woods by Robert Beatty. A book
My Kentucky Life by Dave Shuffett. A book
Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett Illustrated by Tasha Tudor. Back cover of a book
Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett Illustrated by Tasha Tudor. Front cover of a book

AS NEW or NEW- The book is in mint condition as if it were just printed.

The Richest Man Who Ever Lived by Steven K. Scott. The front cover of a book
The Richest Man Who Ever Lived by Steven K. Scott. The back cover of a book
Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett Illustrated by Tasha Tudor. Front cover of a book
Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett Illustrated by Tasha Tudor. Back cover of a book

FINE or LIKE NEW- A book that is in near perfect condition, it may have been read with care. It simply may not seem as crisp or as untouched as a fresh new book.

The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. Front cover of a book.
The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. back cover of a book.
The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. Front cover of a book.
The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. back cover of a book.
The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. Front cover of a book.
The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. back cover of a book.
Thrones and Bones Frostborn by Lou Anders. Front cover of a book.
Thrones and Bones Frostborn by Lou Anders. back cover of a book.
Thrones and Bones Frostborn by Lou Anders. Front cover of a book.
Thrones and Bones Frostborn by Lou Anders. back cover of a book.

VERY GOOD- A book that shows minor wear. The sides of the book may be a little bent or scuffed. It may have a barely noticeable stain or the cover page might have little scratches on it.

Old Glory by Jonathan Raban. Front cover of a book.
Old Glory by Jonathan Raban. Side cover of a book.
Old Glory by Jonathan Raban. Front cover of a book.
Old Glory by Jonathan Raban. Side cover of a book.
Old Glory by Jonathan Raban. Front cover of a book.
Old Glory by Jonathan Raban. Side cover of a book.
Storm Warning by Billy Graham. Front cover of a book.
Storm Warning by Billy Graham. Side cover of a book.

GOOD- The book has been used but is in good condition. May show signs of wear on spine, the top of a few of the papers may show little dents and the cover may have a few small tears.

The Green Berets by Robin Moore. Front cover of a book.
The Green Berets by Robin Moore. Back cover of a book.
The Green Berets by Robin Moore. Front cover of a book.
The Green Berets by Robin Moore. Back cover of a book.
The Green Berets by Robin Moore. End pages of a book.

FAIR or ACCEPTABLE- A worn book with complete pages but might lack end-papers or half-titles. Binding and jacket may be worn.

A book
A book
A book
A book

POOR or ACCEPTABLE- This is a book that has been well used and may do well as a reading copy since it has complete unobscured text. Though it may be in rough condition being soiled, scuffed, stained, or have loose binding or pages.

Other Book Terminologies

EX-LIBRARY- Former library books taken out of circulation should be designated as library copies, no matter the condition. They often have sleeves with tape attaching them to the book or a thin piece of plastic glued to it. Several stickers may be present and taken off.

Guns, Germs, and Steel library edition. Front cover.
Guns, Germs, and Steel library edition. Front cover.

BOOK CLUB- These editions should always be noted as such no matter the book’s condition

Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin book club copy
Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin book club copy

BINDING COPY- this describes a book whose pages are fine but the binding is loose or detached. (An example of this would be the POOR copy’s example)

Collectors and Deluxe Editions

These books are more finely made. They are almost always hard backs, made with leather or cloth embossed with designs. However they are not usually sought after by collectors. Rather they are sought after by many everyday people who either wish to have a really nice copy, buy as a nice gift, or to collect as heirlooms to pass down to the next generation.

The Poetry of Emily Dickinson. Front cover.
The Poetry of Emily Dickinson. Front cover.