Collectors Information

First Editions/First Printings

The term 'First Edition' commonly meant the first appearance of a work, until the 1750's when mechanization made it easier to keep a typeset available for additional 'impressions' if the book turned out to be a popular seller. In the 20th Century the term 'First Printing' became more widely used. This made things a bit more confusing as a First Edition can include several 'Printings' (or impressions). Therefore, in the strictest sense a First Edition can include any number of printings or impressions by the same publisher, and only the 'First Printing' or 'First Impression' can reasonably be assumed to be the original printed version of a work, and that only of the edition printed by that particular publisher. The term "First Edition Thus", can be used to differentiate between a truly 'first' edition and another edition of the same work published for the first time by another publisher.


For more information about this subject, an authoritative source is the book: "ABC for Book Collectors" by John Carter. Also, a little book that I find invaluable for determining whether a book is a true First Edition/Printing I suggest: "A Pocket Guide to the Identification of First Editions" by Bill McBride. This book is sold on our website for $15.   



Book Care Tips

Don't write in your books: Period! But, if you already have put your name in them, accept this and deal with it. Don't scribble it out with a pen or marker or white out - this is worse still. If you find you have an insuppressible need to put your name in a book, do it in pencil, as lightly as you can stand.


Shelving/Storing: Place books vertically on shelves that have more height and depth than you need, so that only one edge of the book is in contact with the shelf. Very large books should be placed horizontally. Glass door bookcases are the best, as they will help keep dust from accumulating on the top edges. The shelves should have enough width so that the books are not pressed against the backboards, which gives the air more chance to circulate. The best places for bookcases are away from sunlight, warmth and moisture, which definitely rules out the garage or an unfinished basement. A few whole cloves in the corners of bookshelves will reduce or prevent mildew. And a couple of bay leaves in a small cotton bag with a few drops of cedar oil will help prevent bugs.


Musty Books: If you have old books on the shelves or the attic that smell musty, sprinkle talcum powder in between the pages of the book and wrap the book in brown paper. (A grocery bag works fine). Store the book a month or two. Then, remove it from the paper and gently brush out the powder. The odor will be gone.


Protect your Books: Protect your investment by covering your books and dust jacket with an Archival Quality Cover on your jackets. We offer to install these on any hardcover book with a dust jacket and many softcover books or books without jackets for a small charge. These can be ordered by searching our inventory for "Brodart".



Book Conditions

As New/Fine: Refers to a book that is in the same condition as if it were still on the publisher's shelves. Some booksellers use the terms "Mint" or "Perfect" as used by the philatelic collector. This book should have no shelf-wear and the binding should be unopened as would an unread book. It must be in the immaculate condition in which it was published. There can be no defects, no missing pages, no library stamps, etc., and the dustjacket (if it was issued with one) must be perfect, without any tears. (Note: very few "new" books qualify for this grade, as many times there will be rubs/scuffs to the dustjacket from shipping, or bumped spine ends/corners from shelving)


Near Fine: Approaches the condition of As New/Fine, but without being crisp. For the use of the term Near Fine there must be no significant defects to the book. The dustjacket may have been slightly rubbed or spine ends slightly bumped from shelving/shipping, but otherwise the book is without wear, or blemishes


Very Good: Describes a new or used book that does show some signs of wear - such as scuffing or edgewear, tears to the dustjacket, or internal blemishes that do not impact the content of the book. Any defects should be noted, including tears, creases, previous owners names or bookplates, underlining or highlighting, clipped jackets, or remainder marks.


Good: Describes the average used and worn book that has all pages or leaves present. There may be soiling to the page edges, sun fading to the spine and covers, pages may be dog-eared and the corners of the boards will certainly be 'bumped'. The dustjacket will have edge wear, probably including small tears, and will most likely have bends and rubs along the edges. Any other major defects should be noted.


Fair/Poor: Is a 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 very worn. This book may have significant defects such as loose pages, torn binding, severely damaged dust jacket. Often no description will be given because these books are considered 'readable' and nothing more.


Ex-Library: Indicates a book that was formerly held in a library and will have stamps indicating as much on its end-pages. Often will have card pockets affixed to the back-end paper and Dewey Decimal stickers or stamps on it's spine. A book of this sort should always be designated as ex-library, regardless of the condition it may otherwise be in. Though many booksellers will not bother with any additional information about condition because if you're buying an Ex-Library copy you aren't worried about collectible value.


Condition Description Definitions:



This term refers to the "scuffs", commonly found along the bottom edges of a book, that result from sliding a book into and out of it's shelf space. When used to describe the dust jacket this will often mean the edges of the jacket have been roughed, rolled over the edge of the boards, and/or creased due to the book being reshelved with the jacket mis-aligned with the book edges.


This term refers to the age-related spots and browning seen on vintage books. The name may derive from the fox-like reddish-brown color of the stains, possibly caused by oxidation of the iron and/or copper residues from the paper manufacturing processes. While some consider this to be unsightly, it does not affect the integrity of the paper


This term refers to the bending or curling of dust jacket and/or book cover corners and/or edges caused by either dropping the book on those edges, or as is more likely in our case, from the rough handling during shipping. This by itself will have no affect on the integrity of a book.


This term refers to a dust jacket that has had the corners of the inside flap(s) cut off, usually including the price information, and usually due to a book being sold by a bookseller at a price other than it's original cover price.


This term refers to the marking of a book, usually by its publisher or clearing house, when liquidating the remaining unsold copies of a book. This is usually seen as a mark on the top or bottom page edges of a closed book.


Not to be confused with Clipped, this term refers to the "pieces" of a dust jacket that have torn away and are now missing from the jacket. This usually occurs first at the edges, following a tear and repeated folding of the torn ends.

 Scuffed or Rubbed

This term refers most commonly to a dust jacket that has a blemish caused by repeatedly sliding the face or back of the jacket along a hard surface such as a coffee table. In mild cases this can be inconsequential, but in more notable cases this can significantly detract from the look of the jacket.  



Book Sizes

The names of book sizes are based on an old system, still widely used, of considering the size of a book page as a fraction of the large sheet of paper on which it was printed. This system is illustrated in the table below. In printing books, an even number (as 4, 8, 16, 32, 64) of pages is printed on each side of a single large sheet, which is then folded so that the pages are in proper sequence and the outside edges are cut so that the book will open. Except for the largest size, the folio, the name of the size indicates the fractional part of the sheet one page occupies (as octavo "eighth"). It should be known that there are several different conventions used based on the differing sizes of the sheets being printed, (e.g., a Royal sheet being 20 by 25 inches, versus a Crown sheet being 15 by 19 inches), and were I more librarian than angler I would provide a convention name prior to the sizing, which would give a better description of the size and shape of a book... hopefully this will suffice - I've got flies to tie now.


Folio - up to 15" tall. 
4to - up to 12" tall ("Quarto") 
8vo - up to 9½" tall ("Octavo") 
12mo - up to 7½" tall ("Duodecimo")  
16mo - up to 6½" tall ("Sextodecimo")  
24mo - up to 5½" tall ("Trigesimo-secundo") 
32mo - up to 5" tall  
48mo - up to 4" tall 
64mo - up to 3" tall


For additional information about books we suggest: Library of Congress Home Page.


A few Publisher/Reprint collection Bibliographies

The Derrydale Press - 'Fly Fisherman's Gold Series'

The Easton Press - 'Library of Fly-Fishing Classics'

Bibliography (partial, under construction) of the Fly Fisher's Classic Library