Glossary of Book Terms


One side of a leaf is called a page. The front side of the leaf is called recto or obverse while the back side is called as verso or reverse.


Glossary of Book Terms - p

A small separate work issued in paper wraps.


The front and back of dust jackets are called as panels.


There are many types of paper with differing qualities.


Paperback (pb, ppr):
The books that were published with paper wraps since 1930s.


Paperback Grading:
The condition of a paperback book can be denoted using a letter grade system.
“A grade”- The books that are almost new and unread are given this grade. There will be no book store stamps in the edges of the books or in the front cover etc. It is very rare to find any books that were published in the 1980s in this grade while it is impossible to find “A grade” books that were printed earlier than 1980s. 
“B grade”- A book that is slightly creased in the spine with initials or light stamp in the book is given “B grade”
“C grade”- A book that is creased in the spine with stamps in the front cover etc is given “C grade”. It is usually a readers’ copy.


Paperback original (pbo):
A paperback book that is the first edition of a particular title is called a paperback original.


Paper Boards:
Stiff cardboard covered in paper.


Certain novels are published in monthly installments in the form of magazines are called as parts.


The portion of the end paper is pasted to the inner cover of the book.


Perfect binding:
When there are too many pages to be stapled in paperback books, trade books and magazines, the paper edges are glued together to the cover of the book. This is called perfect binding and it is one of the inexpensive ways of binding a book.


A book with a picture on the cover is called as pictorial.


Pirated Edition:
The pirated edition of the books is issued without the permission of the author and no royalties are paid to the publishers or the copyright holders of the books.


Plates (pl, pls):
Whole page illustrations that are printed separately from the text are called as plates. The illustrations that are printed along with the text are called as cuts.


The distinguishing characters, usually errors seen in the first edition of the book. It indicates the priority of the copies.


Preface (prefs):
Introductory statement by the author.


Presentation Copy:
A copy of the book may sometimes be given to some special person with personal message from the author.


Price Clipped (pc):
The price label present in the corner of the dust jacket is clipped.


Printed Cover:
A dust wrapper or a paper cover that is lettered is called printed cover.


Print on Demand (POD):
It is the latest technology by which a complete book is printed and bound individually as opposed to traditional printing where hundreds of books are printed and bound in a lot. This technology helps the publishers to print the book after an order is placed.


Impression is otherwise called as printing.


Prior Owner Signature (pos):
The name and signature of the latest person who owns the book is called as prior owner signature.


Private Press:
A private press is a small press which is owned by an individual for printing small quantities of finely printed books.


Privately Printed:
The works that are printed by any individual or a group of persons and is meant for private circulation and not for public sale is called privately printed. 


Proofs precede the original published book. The course of events that would precede the release of book is galley proof, uncorrected bound proof and advance reading copy bound in paper wraps.


The information about the forthcoming book is made by the publisher in the form of a prospectus. It contains information about the price of the book, its contributors, publisher title, date of publication and binding.


The history of ownership of a given book is called a provenance.


Publication Date
The date in which the book is released for sale is called publication date.