The short annotation description of our books describes the book as follows:

“Author surname, Author first name. Title: subtitle – extended title –(series) - Edition. [Significant Edition] Publisher: Place of Publication, Year. Size, Format, Bds, Pages. (Additional Contributors). [Bibliographic References] Book Condition/Dust Jacket Condition. Additional Comment on condition.”

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

All our dust jackets are carefully protected with Multicover™ archival pvc bookfilm.  If the book doesn't have a dust jacket the condition is noted as '/-'.

The list below contains some of the more common terms we use to describe our books.

Folio, 4to, 8vo, 12mo, 16mo
In our short annotation description we give a rough indication of the size of a book using these terms.  Originally used to describe the number of pages into which a single printed sheet has been folded in the production of the book, these terms are now often inaccurately used in online websites to describe approximate sizes.  Correctly used, they describe the number of folds of each sheet of paper to create the leaf or page, not the page size; unless qualified by the relevant paper or sheet size which can vary considerably.  These terms are also not relevant to modern books as books are printed from rolls of paper not sheets.  Although not strictly speaking an indication of size, the fewer the folds, the larger the book is likely to be.  As we improve our bibliographic cataloguing, we will also be providing the height and width in mm as an accurate guide of the dimensions of the book

4to, quarto
a book sized between approximately 250 x 200 mm and 300 x250 cm. i.e. larger than octavo but smaller than folio. Sometimes qualified as 4to sm, 4to oblong or 4to lg.

8vo, octavo
a book sized between approximately 150 x 100 mm and  200 x 150 mm i.e. paperback size. Sometimes 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
 an authoratitive bibliography American Books on Food & Drink 1739-1950 by Cagle & Stafford.

an authoratitive bibliography A Bibliography of Household Books published in Britain 1800-1914 by Dena Attar.


binding 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.

bds or Bds
boards, usually the hard card of a book’s binding, usually covered and decorated, 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. e.g 'The Cookery Book Club' which commissioned ‘club’ editions of numerous classics including the Faber & Faber and Penguin Cookery Libraries in the 1960s and 1970s in London

black and white

An authorative bibliography of cookery books published in the USA between 1860 & 1960 under the title Culinary Americana.

dented, bruised or brushed edges or corners of boards; usually damage the result of having been bumped, knocked or dropped

an authoratitive bibliography A Matter of Taste: a bibliographical catalogue of International Books on Food & Drink by Cagle.

small tears or excisions along the edge of dust jacket e.g. 'a chip is missing'

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

dec bds
decorated or graphically illustrated hardcover boards (as distinct from 'Pict Bds') on books that are typically issued without a dustjacket

dust jacket (as distinct from 'wraps')

An authorative bibliography A Bibliography of Cookery books published between 1875 & 1914 by Elizabeth Driver.

ed or Ed
edition or editor as appropriate

the edges of the boards, or the pages where appropriate - usually qualified by condition such as spotted, faded, foxed, rubbed

ep or eps
endpapers. There are two at each end of a book – the free endpaper or ‘fep’  eg 'ffep' and 'rfep' and the pastedown endpapers.

exlib, ex-lib
book from a library, with cancellation markings and usually with library markings

Used to describe the size of a book (see above). Broadly, larger than an A4 page.

front free endpaper (i.e., the blank page 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 +/-
fair condition. Complete and acceptable as a kitchen, reading or research copy but with significant signs of use or wear; functional rather than collectible.  Sometimes described as a Kitchen copy.

fine condition. In almost new condition with no defects and only minor signs of use or wear. Occasionally qualified as 'Near Fine'

first edition
only used when unquestionably a true ‘first edition’ from a first printing

foxed or 'spotting'
brownish spotting or discolouration of paper, often because age, paper quality or storage conditions, or all three. Particularly common in books published in the 1940s & 1950s due to paper shortages and the use of cheaper acidic paper.  Common in domestic cookery books due to the quality of binding and paper (or lack thereof)

frontispiece (initial illustration, typically facing title page)

G +/-
good condition. Usually means the effects of age and use are noticeable but that the book is sound and readable.

an authoratitive bibliography Wine into Words: a history & bibliography of wine books in the English Language by James Gabler.

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.  See also AEG

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


The  authorative bibliography on Australian cookbooks,  Australian cookery books published to 1950 by John Hoyle.

inscribed by the previous owner often 'prev owner inscription' or 'gift inscription'; Distinct from 'Signed' or 'Presentation', 'Association' or 'Dedication' copies

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. Often 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 or a dust jacket that is no longer crisply folded around the book

an authoratitive bibliography A Short-title catalogue of household & cookery books published in English between 1701 & 1800 by Virginia Maclean.

marbled bds
boards covered with marbled paper (often in combination with half or quarter bound leather bindings)

 a plastic, gloss acid-free archival PVC cover which protects a book’s dust jacket. All our books with dust jackets are covered in Multicover. Many of our older books with decorative or cloth bindings are covered also to prevent fading, dust and to limit damage from handling.  Our dust jacket protection is never taped to the book or bds

no date given for publication.  Where a date can be inferred it will be [Date]

National Library of Australia (sometimes described as 'Trove')

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.

short hand for WorldCat, the largest online public access catalog in the world produced and maintained by OCLC

the process which causes a reversed image inadvertently to appear on the page facing the original impression

original (as in original cloth binding)

an authorative bibliography English Cookery Books published between 1500 and 1850 by Arnold Oxford.

That part of the endpaper which is pasted onto the front or rear inside boards 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; commonly cookbooks are now sold without a dust jacket.

pp or pps
pages. The total number of paginated pages. Usually this includes paginated indexes but not blank pages.  Blank and un-numbered pages pages are shown in the pagination as [##]

publisher or published

rem, or rm, or rem mark
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 or abraded by shelf wear. ‘Rubbed’ dust jackets usually have lost colour or show scuff marks

soft cover (paperback or similar).  See also 'Wraps'

the book has been signed by the author. 

an authorative bibliography of wine related literature Bibliotheca Vinaria by Andre Simon.

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.  The spine has a 'head' and 'foot'

Spiral or Wire or Wiro or Comb
a wire or plastic comb binding often used in fund-raising cookbooks. Often used to allow a cookbook to lay open flat. Also often used in community and fund raising cookbook publishing
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



VG +/-
very good condition. There are some signs of age or wear but they are minor.

an authoratitive bibliography Bibliographie Gastronomique by Georges Vicaire.


the bound light card cover of a paperback book, as distinct from a removable dust jacket


A more definitive list of book terms used by antiquarian & second-hand book-dealers can be found in ABC For Book Collectors: 9th Ed by John Carter, revised & updated by Nicholas Barker & Simran Thadani