Book & Cookbook Descriptions

We describe our cookbooks as follows:

“Author surname, Author first name. Title: subtitle – extended title – Edition. Publisher: Place of Publication, Year. Size, Format, Bds, Pages. Book Condition/Dust Jacket Condition. Additional Comment.”

New books do not include a description of the condition of the book as they are ‘As New’.

The list below contains most of the terms we use to describe our cookbooks.

Folio, 4to, 8vo, 12mo, 16mo
a rough indication of the size of a book. Originally used to describe the number of pages into which a single printed sheet has been folded in the production of a book, now often used to describe approximate sizes. Although not strictly speaking an indication of size, the fewer the folds, the larger the book is likely to be
4to, quarto
a book approximately 20cm by 20cm. i.e. larger than octavo but smaller than folio. Often qualified as 4to sm, 4to oblong or 4to lg
8vo, octavo
a book approximately paperback size. Often qualified as 8vo sm or 8vo lg
duodecima. Used to describe a book about half the size of an octavo book.
septicessima. Used to describe a book about a quarter the size of an octavo book
ads, advts, adverts
all edges gilt
American Books
American Books on Food & Drink 1739-1950 by Cagle & Stafford. Copies are available for purchase from our online store (see ‘bibliographies‘)
A Bibliography of Household Books published in Britain 1800-1914 by Dena Attar. Copies are available for purchase from our online store (see ‘bibliographies‘)
binding (or Kitchen) copy
a book which needs to be rebound, and is worth rebinding
A renowned and authorative bibliography of cookbooks published in 1939 listing the contents of the collection amassed by Katherine Graham Bitting in San Francisco. Facsimile copies are available for purchase in our online store (see ‘bibliographies‘)
boards, usually the hard card of a book’s binding, usually covered, as in “marbled bds” or “cloth boards”
blind stamp
embossed design or text on binding or pages: “blind”, because uncoloured
book club
edition of a book printed especially for a book club eg The Cookery Book Club which commissioned ‘club’ editions of numerous classics including the Penguin Cookery Library in the 1960s in London
black and white
An authorative bibliography of cookery books published in the USA between 1860 & 1960 under the title ‘Culinary Americana’. Facsimile copies are available for purchase from our online store (see ‘bibliographies‘)
dented or brushed edge of boards; damage the result of having been bumped
A Matter of Taste: a bibliographical catalogue of International Books on Food & Drink by Cagle. Copies are available for purchase from our online store (see ‘bibliographies‘)
small tears or excisions along the edge of pages or dust jacket
cloth (covering the boards of a book’s binding)
twisted spine (usually caused by the book leaning on the shelf)
dec, decor
decorated – often to refer to a binding, as in dec cl. Common in 19th century bindings
dust jacket (some call them dust wrappers or wrappers)
An authorative bibliography of cookery books published between 1875 & 1914 by Elizabeth Driver. Copies are available for purchase in our online store (see ‘bibliographies‘)
endpapers. There are two at each end of a book – the free endpaper or ‘fep’ and the pastedown endpaper.
exlib, ex-lib
book from a library, with cancellation markings and usually with library markings
Used to describe the size of a book. Broadly, larger than an A4 page.
ffee, or ffep
front free endpaper (i.e., the blank that is not pasted down onto the boards)
a facsimile edition. Reprinted as a true copy (including typeset and spelling) of an original edition, usually as a photographic reproduction, and usually accompanied by explanatory notes and editorial comment.
fair condition. Complete and acceptable as a kitchen copy but with significant signs of use or wear.
fine condition. In almost new condition with no defects and only minor signs of use or wear. fine books can have remainder marks.
first edition
only used when unquestionably a true ‘first edition’ from a first printing
brownish spotting of paper, usually because of paper quality. Particularly common in books published in the 1940s & 1950s due to paper shortages and the use of cheaper paper
frontispiece (initial illustration, typically facing title page)
good condition. Usually means the effects of age and use are noticeable but that the book is sound and readable.
Wine into Words: a history & bibliography of wine books in the English Language by James Gabler. Copies are available for purchase in our online store (see ‘bibliographies‘)
indicates the pages of a book have been trimmed and the outside edges covered in gilt, or gold The abbreviation ge, or gilt edges, is sometimes used
centre crease of an opened book. Often used to describe the margin between the text and the centre of the book
page before title page, usually only with the book’s title printed on it
a book published before 1501. There are very few cookbook incunabula. Perhaps one day we might have one for sale.
laid in
a letter or other sheets inserted but not glued into a book
limited ed
an edition limited to a specified number of copies
large. Used to qualify the description of the size of a book.
describes the binding of a book that is no longer firm in its covers (typically, publisher’s cloth) because of deteriorating inner hinges
large-paper edition
A short-title catalogue of household & cookery books published in English between 1701 & 1800 by Virginia Maclean. Copies are available for purchase from our online store (see ‘bibliographies‘).
marbled bds
boards covered with marbled paper (usually in combination with half or quarter bound leather bindings
mint condition. As published. Unread or as new
plastic, gloss acid-free archival cover which protects a book’s dust jacket. All our books with dust jackets are covered in multicover. Many of our older books with dec or cloth bindings are covered also
no date given for publication
no place, publisher or printer
oblong. Used to qualify the description of the size of a book. i.e. 4to oblong means a book 4to size but wider than it is high.
the process which causes a reversed image inadvertently to appear on the page facing the original impression
original (as in original cloth binding)
A renowned and authorative bibliography of English Cookery Books published between 1500 and 1850 by Arnold Oxford. Facsimile copies are available for purchase from our online store (see ‘bibliographies‘)
endpaper which is pasted onto the front or read inside board of a book
price clipped
usually a small triangle cut from the front inside corner of a dust jacket to remove the indication of a book’s price.
pict bds
pictorial boards. Describes the format of books that have glazed hard photographic covers or boards and are sold without a dust jacket.
pages. The total number of paginated pages. Usually this includes paginated indexes but not blank pages.
publisher or published
rem, or rm
remainder. A new copy sold by a publisher marked to prohibit return to the publisher under a bookseller’s terms of trade. Often marked with either a rubber stamp (usually a star) or a black line drawn across the top or bottom edges
indicates that the outer layer of the material (ie cloth or leather) used on the binding has been rubbed by shelf wear. ‘Rubbed’ dust jackets usually have lost colour or show scuff marks
soft cover (paperback or similar)
‘Bibliotheca Vinaria’ – a bibliography of wine related literature by Andre Simon. Facsimile copies are available for purchase from our online store (see ‘bibliographies‘)
container (made of board covered in paper, cloth or leather, or a combination of these) into which a book may be “slipped” for its protection
small. Used to qualify book size
the bound outer edge of a book
a wire or plastic comb binding often used in fund-raising cookbooks. Used to allow a cookbook to lay open flat but can damage other books when shelved
top edge gilt
describes the binding of a book that is still firm and ‘tight’. In other words, not loose.
tipped in
a sheet or sheets which were not part of the original bound book, but are now. Pages are tipped in by dabbing minute amounts of glue onto the edge which is to be inserted into the book
trade edition
usually, “first trade edition” (as distinct from limited editions, often signed or with special paper or bindings, which appear before the full commercial publication of a book)
very good condition. There are some signs of age or wear but they are minor.
‘Bibliographie Gastronomique’ by Georges Vicaire. Facsimile copies (in French) are available for purchase from our online store (see ‘bibliographies‘)
The bound light card cover of a paperback book, as distinct from a removable dust jacket

A definitive list of book terms used by antiquarian & second-hand book-dealers can be found in ‘ABC For Book Collectors: 7th Ed’ by John Carter available from the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers