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When grading a book as Fine, Very good, Good and so on a number of common terms are used in describing the defects found which ultimately determine which grade it will be assigned to. It also informs the collector about what is going on with a particular volume.
Chip- A small piece missing from the edge of a page or cover. Similar to a piece of chipped china.
Closed Tear- Usually on a dust jacket when no material has been lost and it is closed (looking whole again) usually by a dust jacket wrapper. Never close any tear with scotch tape!
Cocking/ Lean- When the spine of a book has been altered so that the front and back boards no longer line up when the book is lying flat. Severity of this affliction varies greatly. Usually due to improper storage, when a book is allowed to rest at an angle on a book shelf rather than vertically. In the picture below the book to the right is cocked, while the left one is not.
Creasing- When a page, dj, cover or hinge have been folded/opened it leaves a crease behind. For example; when you dog-ear a page to mark your place, you leave a value dropping crease behind.
Cupping- A deformation of a book’s board(s); when it bow upward, as if it would cup liquid (should an unfortunate cup of coffee were to be spilled on it). Similar to the lumber term when a board is slightly bowed.
Dent/ Bumped- This can occur on pages and boards both, when some thing has pushed in on the page leaving an indent, but not tearing. Similar to jamming, the big difference is denting does not apply to corners. Similar to jamming, only a dent does not occur on the corner of a book.
Foxing or Foxed- When a page or page edges have brownish-yellow spotted discoloration. Occurring when micro-organisms on badly bleached or insufficiently sized paper interact when stored in a badly ventilated or damp conditions.
Jamming- Usually on the corners of the boards on a hb, where it looks similar to a car crash where a bumper crumples. A common occurrence when a book is dropped. Similar to a dent/bump only on the corner of the book.
Laid in- Some piece of ephemera associated with the book but not physically attached to it. Such as a publishers letter, postcard, cd, chapter book or temporary tattoo. (not a defect, but a handy term to know)
Price Clipped- When a well meaning Aunt Bertha gives you a book and doesn’t want to show how much it costs, she clips a small triangle off the front flap of the dust jacket where the suggested price is located. Unbeknownst to her she has damaged the value of your book in her well meaning gesture.
Remainder Mark- When a book’s sales have slowed down and there are still a ton in the warehouse, a publisher often will liquidates its’ unsold copies at a greatly reduced price. To keep these copies from being returned by book store, the publishers mark these copies. Generally it is some colored line (usually looking similar to a felt tip pen) on the tail end of the page edges or a stamp or a spray of paint.
Rolled- On the top or bottom edge of the spine, there is small piece of cover material, when it is no longer perpendicular with the rest of the spine but is closer the page edges.
Rubbing- When a dj or board receives an abrasion to its’ surface. On a dj it usually takes away the glossy luster or texture of the paper. On boards it makes it look a bit worn, as if a very light sand paper has been run across its’ surface.
Shelf-Wear- The normal minor wear and tear a book receives from being put on and taken off of shelves. Especially along the tail edge of the book.
Soiling- refers to minor discoloration or staining. An example of this is when dust settles on the top page edges or boards creating a grey discoloration which lowers the value of a book. Or when you read a book with chocolate on your fingers and stain a few pages with its’ brown goodness.
Sun Bleaching/ Fading- When a book is left in prolonged sun light or incandescent light long exposure to either will cause boards and djs to fade.
Sun Darkened- When a book is exposed to light, the pages will darken over time. This applies to sun light or incandescent light, long exposure to either will cause this effect. The book bleow has some extreme darkening around the edges, caused by sun exposure.