How to Describe Your Books

book termsWhen you sell books be careful in your descriptions. You should know your terminology but be careful not to overwhelm your buyers with bookseller jargon. I find verso and quarto not super helpful for the target market I reach. However, if you are a serious antiquarian book dealer I suggest becoming very familiar with the specialized terminology to reach that particular market. In most cases, though, you’ll want to use book words, but easy to understand words so your buyer doesn’t feel inferior. Remember, people by who feel great about what they’re buying, not confused or insecure. If they’re not sure they want to bother to ask you a question about a word you used in your description or it’s easier to scroll down to the next listing be sure that they will. The idea is to sound professional but not talk above your buyers.

The following page is informative in the terms commonly used to describe books and they’re definitions. Bookmark this page: http://www.emptymirrorbooks.com/collecting/bookselling.html

Here’s some common terms:

  • board                                     end paper
  • edge wear                             colophon
  • cloth board                           shaken
  • loose (binding)                    spine head or tail
  • hinge                                      bumped corners
  • wrapper                                 frayed edges or corners
  • dust jacket                             foxing
  • flap                                          soiled
  • reading copy                         dampstain
  • bookplate (I sometimes call it a name plate for clarity for non bookies)

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About Julie Schultz

My name is Julie Anna Schultz. I live in rural upstate NY. I have eleven children, one husband, three chickens, a bunny and a dog. Not acquired in that order. :) Since 2002, I’ve been teaching people how to buy and sell children’s collectible books online. Learn More

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One time offer – FREE 300 valuable book titles report!

In my special report you will get over 300 valuable book titles that sell for $35 or more on eBay or Amazon. Just sign up below. You can be sure this information is relevant and valid. I will periodically email more titles as I come across them but not often. No worries, I hate spam as much as you!

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