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Condition Descriptions

  • Condition Definitions (IOBA) - What is the difference between books described as Fine, Very Good, Good and so forth? This page from the Independent Online Booksellers Association explains what the terms describe.  

  • Glossary of Book Terms: Condition, Anatomy, Sizes & Abbreviations (Albris.com) - This glossary focuses on the terms used to describe the parts of the books, but provides a short list of condition descriptions at the top of the page, along with hyperlinks to the definitions of terms used in those descriptions.  
  • Firsts' Quick Reference Guide to Grading Books (Firsts magazine) - This is a short and sweet description of general descriptions provided by Firsts magazine, which is a magazine for book collectors.  

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Glossaries of Book Terms

  • Book Terminology (IOBA) - This is an extensive list of terms that includes links to pictures to illustrate some of them.  

  • Glossary of Book Terms (Albris.com) - This is an extensive list of terms that includes links to pictures to illustrate some of them.  

  • Glossary of Book Terms: Condition, Anatomy, Sizes & Abbreviations (Albris.com) - This glossary focuses on the terms used to describe the parts of the books and provides an illustration of "Book Anatomy."  
  • Glossary of Terms (Biblio.com) - This glossary has a well-organized list of brief descriptions. Each has a "More Info" link, although only a few of them have longer explanations and illustrations at the linked-to page.  
  • Visual Aids - Book Collecting Terms Illustrated (My Wings Books) - The nice extra that this bookseller provides is illustrations for each of the terms.  This page provides a listing of terms with hyperlinks to pages defining and illustrating them.  

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Identifying First Editions, in General

  • Rare Books 101: Identifying First Editions (Rebecca Romney) - This blog posting by  rare book expert on Pawn Stars and manager at Bauman Rare Books provides the basics, along with important cautions about the need for expert help because of all of the potential pitfalls.  

  • How to Identify a First Edition Book (Denise Enck, Empty Mirror Books) - This provides a good general guide as well as suggesting other resources.  
  • Identifying First Edtions (Children's Picturebook Price Guide) - Although the site's focus is on children's picturebooks, the page of first editions provides general guidlines for identifying first editions.   
  • The Beginners Guide to Identifying First Editions, Part One (Amanda Nelson, BookRiot) - This blog posting covers the basics and provides images of title and copyright pages to point out the key things to check out.  
  • The Beginners Guide to Identifying First Editions, Part Two (Amanda Nelson, BookRiot) - This second posting provides an illustrated introduction to things such as internationally published books, Advanced Review Copies (ARCs) and Book Club Editions (BCEs).   

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Identifying First Editions, by Publisher
Because publishers vary so much in the way in which they identify first editions, it is impossible to come up with any easy guide to help you.  No one site provides the kind of detail available from Bill McBride's guides, which are used by book buyers and serious collectors, though the pages from Quill & Brush provide an extensive list.

  • Bill McBride's Guides - The go-to source for the serious collector is Bill McBride's Pocket Guides.  Order from him directly at  http://firsteditionguide.com/

  • First-Edition Identification by Publisher (Quill & Brush) - This page from the site for booksellers Allen and Pat Ahearn (who have written one of the key resources for book values), is the first of three pages that provide an extensive listing by publishers.  
  • Modern Library Dust Jackets and Bindings: 1917-1939 (J.B. Krygier, Ohio Wesleyan University) - This page traces the development of the early Modern Library books, providing both descriptions and illustrations in chronological order.
  • Collecting the Modern Library (modernlib.com) - This is a collector's site that provides an extensive amount of information on the Modern Library books.

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Identifying First Editions, by Points

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Identifying First Edtions, by Author
(Note: As Rebecca Romney points out in her Rare Books 101 blog posting, there are whole volumes written on particular authors, so she suggests caution in relying on less detailed sources.)

  • Firsts magazine has long featured a different author in each issue with a bibliographic essay on the author and his or her works, as well as a listing of the books with images, identifying information and values.  A catalog of back issues is available at  http://firstsmagazine.com/BackIssues.html

  • Zane Grey (Zane Grey's West Society) - This listing is provided by a club of Zane Grey enthusiasts.
  • Dr. Seuss (Children's Picturebook Price Guide) - A nice listing, book by book, describing the points to look for for first editions.
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder (Chris Lowenstein, Fine Books Magazine) - This is a short, but helpful posting about the "Little House" books.

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Identifying Book Club Editions (BCE)

  • How To Identify Book Club Editions (Craig Stark,bookthink.com) - This posting provides some good illustrations of marks used to identify book club editions.  

  • Publishers Info: Identifying Book Club Editions (TomFolio.com) - This page, largely written by Bill Chappelear of the Buckeye Bookshop, provides a thorough discussion, including several instances that illustrate why it's sometimes hard to tell BCEs from regular editions.
  • Identifying Book Club Editions (My Wings Books) - This page provides lots of illustrations pointing out the differences between BCEs and regular editons.

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Fan Sites for Juvenile Series Books
Series Book Central
- This site provides pages for a large number of the vintage juvenile chapter book series.
Jennifer's Series Books - This site provides informaiton of a wide range of vintage juvenile chapter book series for girls, divided between "major" series (more than 12 or more books in the series) and "minor" series (fewer than 12 books in the series).
Judy Bolton Mystery Series by Margaret Sutton (Series Book Central)
Nancy Drew Mystery Stories by Caroline Keene (pseud.) (Jennifer's Series Books)
Nancy Drew Sleuth (nancydrewsleuth.com)
The Hardy Boys by Franklin W. Dixon (pseud.) (The Hardy Boys Online)
The Hardy Boys by Franklin W. Dixon (pseud.) (The Hardy Boys Unofficial Home Page)
Tom Swift by Victor Appleton (pseud.) (The Tom Swift Unofficial Home Page)  

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Lists of Reference Books

  • Reference Works (IOBA) - This is a long, briefly annotated list providing a wide range of reference works compiled by Gayle Williamson of Champ & Mabel Collectibles.  

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