A Guide to Book Conditions

When considering the purchase of a book for your collection, the condition and, if applicable, the dust jacket are the most important factors affecting the value.  It pays to become familiar with the basic descriptive terms used by used and rare booksellers to communicate a particular book’s condition.

General Terms 

The definitions below are for reference only. Booksellers use these terms, as well as unique terms not included in this list, based on their own criteria. 

As New:  The book is in the same immaculate condition as when it was published.  This could be the description for a book that has been lost in a warehouse for years, never shelved, thumbed or even opened yet may still be some years old. 

Fine (F or FN): A Fine book approaches the condition of As New, but without being crisp.  The book may have been opened and read, but there are no defects to the book, jacket or pages. 

Very Good (VG): Describes a book that shows some small signs of wear - but no tears - on either binding or paper. Any defects should be noted by the seller. 

Good (G): Describes the average used worn book that has all pages or leaves present. Any defects should be noted by the seller. 

Fair: Worn book that has complete text pages (including those with maps or plates) but may lack endpapers, half-title, etc. (which must be noted). Binding, jacket (if any), etc., may also be worn. All defects should be noted. 

Poor: Describes a book that is sufficiently worn.  Any missing maps or plates should still be noted. This copy may be soiled, scuffed, stained or spotted and may have loose joints, hinges, pages, etc. 

Binding Copy: describes a book in which the pages or leaves are perfect but the binding is very bad, loose, off, or nonexistent. 

Reading Copy: A copy usually in poor to fair condition that includes all text presented in a legible fashion.  The copy is fine to read but nothing more.


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Under the Crossed Flags. A pictorial history of The Imperial Light Horse and The Light Horse Regiment 1899 - 1999. Stunningly detailed history researched and written by Roy L. Jackson. First edition large format hardcover with dust jacket under plastic. Limited edition of 1000. Profusely illustrated. A scarce book in excellent condition.      

SOARING WITH EAGLES ** The South African Air Force **

R750.00 ZAR

Stunning photography by Frans Dely, text by John Illsley. First edition hardcover with dust jacket by Avpix Publishing, 2004. 194 pages lavishly illustrated with sections devoted to each of the squadrons and the aircraft they employ; an outstanding visual celebration of the SAAF as it was then, including much on ground staff and the men who fly the machines. Has...