List of used book conditions


List of used book conditions

Booksellers use standard terms to describe the condition of the used books that they sell. The specific meaning of each term can vary with the individual seller but broad definitions are widely understood.

*As New is self-explanatory. It means that the book is in the state that it should have been in when it left the publisher. The is the equivalent of Mint condition in numismatics.
*Fine (F or FN) is As New but allowing for the normal effects of time on an unused book that has been protected. A fine book shows no damage.
*Very Good (VG) describes a book that is worn but untorn. For many collectors this is the minimum acceptable condition for all but the rarest items.
*Good (G) is (as an old bookselling joke has it) not very good. It is used to describes the condition of an average used worn book that is complete.
*Fair shows wear and tear but all the text pages and illustrations or maps are present. It may lack endpapers, half-title, and even the title page.
*Poor describes a book that has the complete text but is so damaged that it is only of interest to a buyer who seeks a reading copy. If the damage renders the text illegible then the book is not even "poor".

There is no standard term for books in a condition below poor. Their normal fate is to be discarded or to be broken into individual pages if these have any value.

In practice, most booksellers and collectors code their books at a condition slightly higher than is strictly applicable.

ee also

*Booksellers abbreviations


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