We guarantee the condition of every book to be as described in our web site. When you see a grade in one of our book descriptions such as Fine/Near Fine, this dual condition refers first to the book itself, then to the dust jacket. In other words, "Fine/Near Fine" means the book itself is in "Fine" condition, and the dust jacket is in "Near Fine" condition. The grading system always works from the inside out; e.g. book, dust jacket and slip case if the item has one.
Every book is described exactly as it is with respect to physical condition, text, cover, jacket, edition, and other attributes. For more than 25 years, we have applied a standard set of grading guidelines to our books when appraising condition. We have consistently applied this grading system to our entire inventory to insure you always know precisely what you are purchasing.
AB Bookman's Weekly (aka Antiquarian Bookman), one of the most well-respected journals in the book-selling trade, listed the following categories for judging book conditions. Their criteria has become the industry standard and it is the grading standard to which all of our books conform.
New or As New can be used only when the book is in the same immaculate condition in which it was published. There can be no defects, no missing pages, no library stamps, etc., and the dust jacket (if it was issued with one) must be perfect without any tears. (The term As New is preferred over the alternative term Mint to describe a copy that is perfect in every respect, including jacket).
Fine approaches the condition of As New, but without being crisp. For the use of the term Fine there must also be no defects, etc., and if the jacket has a small tear, or other defect, or looks worn, those should be noted.
Very Good can describe a used book that does show some small signs of wear — but no tears — on either binding or paper. Further defects are so noted.
Good describes the average used and worn book that has all pages or leaves present. Further defects are so noted.
Fair 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 worn. All defects must be noted.
Poor describes a book that is sufficiently worn that its only merit is as a Reading Copy because it does have the complete text, which must be legible. Any missing maps or plates are noted. This copy may be soiled, scuffed, stained or spotted and may have loose joints, hinges, pages, etc. We offer very few books designated as Poor.
Ex-library and Book Club editions must always be noted as such no matter what the condition of the book.
Binding Copy describes a book in which the pages or leaves are acceptable, but the binding is very bad, loose, off, or nonexistent.