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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar

The Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar which just finished up in Colorado Springs has been held every summer for well over 20 years. The 5 day seminar is advertised as being a training forum for for Booksellers, Librarians, and Collectors and among the talks includes a detailed training exercise on how properly catalog (describe) a book.

One of these years I'm going to beg, borrow or steal the time and the money and attend. I can't imagine anything more fun than spending 5 days with other crazed booksellers. I've been reading the news group and blog discussions on the seminar and besides making me pea green with envy they got me thinking about how my book descriptions have been dumbed down over the years.

Some of the traditional book selling terms and abbreviations that I no longer use for online book listings are:

signature: a group or gathering of leaves printed together on a sheet of paper which is folded, bound with other signatures and trimmed to form a book or pamphlet; i.e. a section or grouping of pages in a book resulting from printing and binding methodology. (omitted altogether, too many customers confusing this for an author or illustrators signature)

n.d and n.p. are spelled out as no publication date or no place of publication

t.e.g. or a.e.g.: is now written out as top edge gilt or all edges gilt.

x-libris or x-library I've had to change to library discard.

Another identifier that I'm not using at all in online are the traditional book sizes:

Folio: more than 13 inches tall
Quarto (4to): approx. 10 to 13 inches tall, average 12 inches
Octavo (8vo): approx. 8 to 10 inches tall, average 9 inches
Duodecimo (12mo): approx. 7 to 8 inches tall, average 7.5 inches
Sextodecimo (16mo): approx. 6 to 7 inches tall, average 6.5 inches

The Abebooks site has a gloss
ary of bookseller terms, but I find most customers don't want to wade through a lot of abbreviations and in the internet world of instant click are not going to take the time to look up terms they don't understand.

(Information that I always include in my listings is: Author(s), Illustrator(s), Publisher including place and date. Binding type i.e. Hard Cover, Soft Cover Library Binding etc. Edition statement and a solid description of book and dust jacket condition. )

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