Grading used booksWe try to avoid unpleasant surprises by communicating clearly what the condition of our antiquarian books are. These are the terms we are using:
NewNot all our books are used. When the condition of an item is rated new that means it actually is new.
As NewAs New is self-explanatory. It means that the book is in the state that it should have been in when it left the publisher. The is the equivalent of Mint condition in numismatics.
Fine (F or FN)Fine is As New but allowing for the normal effects of time on an unused book that has been protected. A fine book shows no damage.
Very Good (VG)Very Good describes a book that is worn but untorn. For many collectors this is the minimum acceptable condition for all but the rarest items. Any defects must be noted.
Good (G)Good is (as an old bookselling joke has it) not very good. It is used to describe the condition of an average used worn book that is complete. Any defects must be noted.
FairFair shows wear and tear but all the text pages and illustrations or maps are present. It may lack endpapers, half-title, and even the title page. All defects must be noted.
PoorPoor describes a book that has the complete text but is so damaged that it is only of interest to a buyer who seeks a reading copy. If the damage renders the text illegible then the book is not even poor.
Ex-libraryEx-library copies must always be designated as such no matter what the condition of the book.
Book ClubBook Club copies must always be designated as such no matter what the condition of the book.
Binding CopyBinding Copy describes a book in which the pages or leaves are perfect, but the binding is very bad, loose, off or non-existent.