• Tail – See Foot.
  • Tail-piece – Ornament or decoration at the end of a section or chapter of a book. See Head-piece; Vignette.
  • Text block – The book, sewn and trimmed, though unbound.
  • Three-quarter cloth – A book in which the spine and corners are covered with wider cloth, the rest of the sides with paper.
  • Three-quarter leather – A book in which the spine and corners are covered with wider leather, (calf, morocco, sheep), the rest of the sides with cloth or paper.
  • Tipped-in – Any matter which is lightly attached (gummed or pasted) to a sewn-in leaf (or paper stub) of the book.
  • Tissue – Thin sheets of paper tipped-in into a book to absorb ink from plates and thus prevent offsetting onto facing pages. See Offset.
  • Tooling – A decoration on a binding, in blind or gilt, impressed by hand using a special tool. See Blocking.
  • Top edge gilt (t.e.g.) – The top edge of the book is coated with gold.
  • Turn-in – See Dentelle.



  • Unbound – A book, probably a pamphlet, which has never been bound. See Disbound.
  • Uncut – The leaves of the book have untrimmed edges and are rough and uneven. See Unopened.
  • Unopened – The folded edges of one or all signatures of a book have not been cut open to allow reading.



  • Vellum – See Parchment.
  • Verso – The back of a leaf (the left-hand page of an open book). See Recto.
  • Vignette – An ornament or a small picture used as decoration on the title page or as a head- or tail-piece. Also, any small illustration not enclosed in a border.



  • With all faults – Refers to an item, often suspected to be incomplete and in a state which would not allow a proper collation, for which the right of cancellation of the sale does not apply. See Not Subject to Return.
  • Wood engraving – A relief printing process in which the lines are incised across the end grain of very hard wood. Achieves a much more delicate and precise result than a Woodcut. Woodcut – A relief printing process in which the lines are carved on the plank side of the wood, with the grain.
  • Working copy – “The humblest term in the vocabulary of condition.” (Carter).
  • Wrappers – The paper binding of a book. A paperback is bound with thick wrappers. Also known as Wraps.



  • Yellowed – The discolouring of paper matter towards brownish yellow, caused age or acidity.


Condition Grading

  • Fine – Fine, little-used book with no defects. Older books, however, may show minor flaws.
  • Very Good – A used book with some signs of wear, though not exceptional or obtrusive.
  • Good – No longer “very good”. Has been used intensively, shows obvious flaws or defects.
  • Fair – Worn but complete.
  • Poor – A binding-, reading-, or working copy only.

Book Sizes (English & Metric)

All sizes are approximate

  • Duodecimo, 12mo
    7.5" x 4.5" or 19cm x 11.5cm

  • Ooctavo, 8vo
    9" x 5.75" or 22.8cm x 14.7cm

    • Small Ooctavo
      6.5" x 4.5" or 16.5cm x 11.5cm

    • Crown Ooctavo
      7.5" x 5" or 19cm x 12.7cm

    • Royal Ooctavo
      9.25" x 6.25" or 23.4cm x 15.6cm

  • Quarto, 4to
    12" x 9" or 30.5cm x 22.8cm

    • Crown Quarto
      10" x 7.5" or 25.4cm x 19cm

    • Royal Quarto
      (13" x 10" or 33cm x 25.4cm

  • Folio
    18" x 12" or 45.3cm x 30.5cm

    • Small Folio
      15" x 9" or 38cm x 22.8cm

    • Imperial Folio
      22" x 15" or 55.6cm x 38cm

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