Bygone Books blog


Describing Condition

Bygone Books

Bygone Books follows the rules of book description outlined by the AABA [Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America]

Books are described as accurately as possible, with the book noted first followed by the jacket description, as in VG/VG. Steps between grades are noted by a plus " + " or a minus " - ". In all cases the lack of a jacket will be noted if the book was issued with one. If you have any questions about the condition or would like to see a scan of the book, please email us.

  1. As New (or Mint or Very Fine): to be used only when the book is in the same immaculate condition in which it was published, with no flaws or defects.
  2. Fine: approaches condition of As New, but without being crisp; no defects, but minor blemishes must be noted.
  3. Very Good: the most common grade of a collectible copy, show some signs of wear, any flaws such as signatures, bookplates, remainder marks, and as to jackets, price-clipping, small tears and rubbing must all be noted.
  4. Good: describes the average used and worn book that has all pages present, but might have a major or several minor flaws; all defects to be noted.
  5. Fair: (a non-collectible copy) a worn book that has complete text pages and plates, but may lack endpapers or half-title, etc. with all defects noted.
  6. Poor: sufficiently worn so its only merit is as a reading copy with any missing pages, etc and all defects noted.
  7. Ex-Library: must always be noted, no matter what the condition of the book.
  8. Book Club: must always be noted no matter what the condition of the book.
  9. Binding Copy: a book in which the pages and leaves are intact, but the binding is very bad, loose, off, or non-existent.

For more information on describing books and an understanding of terms used, please see the following online glossaries: