In each of our listings you will see a condition grade e.g VG+. Since grading is somewhat subjective, we will try to give you a general description of what we mean by these terms, and also define some of the more common words and phrases used in our descriptions.
First, some general information. All of our paperbacks and magazines are stored and shipped in plastic sleeves for protection from wear. Hardcover dust jackets are encased in a protective plastic and paper sleeve manufactured by the Brodart company. We try to describe any major defects in addition to including them in our condition grading, and we NEVER sell books that are mildewed, carry animal stains or odors or show signs of infestation by insects. Some books may have a very slight tobacco or medicinal odor, but we do mention this if we are aware of it. If your sensibilities are more delicate than ours and one of our books causes you a problem in this regard, feel free to contact us and return it for refund or replacement.
Now onto the meat of the matter. The grading system differs somewhat for Paperbacks vs. Hardcovers. I'm not sure why this is, but it is so.
Let's start with Paperbacks: The condition grades are as follows, with their usual abbreviations and brief listing of the criteria that we use to define them.
Fine (F) Books graded Fine are unused and like new without any
flaws. A Fine book is comparable to a new paperback on a bookstore
shelf. Pure white pages are not required for this grade, however, as a
slight darkening of the page with age is inevitable.
Near Fine (NF) Books in this grade are also unread and like new,
but have some very minor imperfections, generally due to storage or
shelf wear. For example, the book might have slight edge wear, a small
chip at the top or base of the spine, light rubbing of the cover or
some other minor flaw. These are extremely high quality books.
VERY GOOD TO FINE (VGF) Books graded VGF are high quality copies that
show minor signs of use. This is the highest grade for any book that
appears to have been read. For example, if a book has a light crease
down the spine from being opened, but no other significant flaw it
would qualify as VGF. Paperbacks that were read carefully one time then
put back on the shelf, will generally be in VGF condition. This
condition is also used for unread books that are not quite About Fine
due to some more noticeable flaw.
VERY GOOD PLUS (VG+) Books in this grade show more obvious signs of
use but still appear to be above average used copies with no
significant creasing, spine roll, page browning, or other serious
VERY GOOD (VG) Books grading VG are typical used books and will
exhibit general wear (but not heavy wear). Flaws common to this grade
include minor cover creasing, light spine roll, minimal water stains,
spine fading (from exposure to sunlight) and peeling cover lamination.
This grade covers the widest range of condition and it is expected that
some books grading VG will appear to be somewhat better than others.
GOOD (G) Books in this grade will show heavy signs of use but will
still be complete and intact, including both covers, spine and all
pages. Also, any book that would be in a higher grade but has some
major flaw, such as a clipped corner or a serious cover crease, should
generally be downgraded to Good.
GOOD MINUS (G-) Any truly poor books (i.e., torn, taped, or heavily warped) receive this lowest grade.
Near Fine (NF):
Very Good Plus (VG+)
Very Good (VG):
Very Good Minus (VG-):
Good Plus (G+):
Good Minus (G-):
Now for the terminology:
Hardcovers will usually show two grades, such as VG/G (Very Good/Good). The first of these is the grade of the book itself, the second applies to the Dust Jacket (that paper cover that goes over the book on most Hardcovers).
Book grading goes like this:
Fine: Absolutely perfect -- no defects, even in manufacture, and with a crisp, bright look and very tight feel.
Near Fine (NF): No discernible defects, but lacking the crispness of a fine copy. This is the grade that is seen most of the time on the shelves of a new book store -- not damaged, but showing that it has been handled in packing, shipping and shelving.
As New: used to describe a book that is still in its original condition, but has a cosmetic defect acquired in manufacture. The most common of these are bindery glue seepage in hardcovers and spine or cover wrinkles in paperbacks, but others do occur. The defect will be described.
Very Good Plus (VG+): Shows one to three minor cosmetic flaws, such as slight rubbing to the edges of the boards or the spine, mild finger dent at the top or bottom of the spine or slight scuffing to the corners or face of the boards. A single more significant, but not major flaw, such as a small corner dent can also bring a Near Fine or Fine copy down to VG+. This is a book that is not perfect, but still very attractive.
Very Good (VG): This grading has a wide latitude, permitting multiple minor or one or two major cosmetic flaws. A VG copy shows handling and wear, but has no significant structural defects and is not shabby or frayed in appearance. It may have soiling or stains to the cover or page edges, scuffs or dents to the cover or a slight cant or spine slant, but is structurally sound and highly readable and presentable, although worn in appearance.
Very Good Minus (VG-): More worn or damaged than VG, this book may have minor structural flaws such as small tears to the top or bottom of the spine or a loose or wobbly binding. The cosmetic flaws seen in a VG copy may be present in greater number or extent than a VG copy but the book is still sound.
Good Plus (G+): This book is well worn, showing either major cosmetic defects, significant structural flaws or both. Boards and spine are intact and solidly connected, but there may be a significant spine slant, loosening of the interior hinges or staining, minor tears or marking (underlining, etc.) to the text portions.
Good (G): as G+, but with a greater quantity or intensity of the defects described. There may be tears to one or more pages, as long as they do not interfere with readability.
Good Minus (G-): This grading also allows of partial separation of the spine from the boards and or the page spines, loose interior hinges, overall weakness and/or more signifcantly shabby appearance. Minor water damage may be present.
Fair: Boards may be separated, non-text pages may be missing or torn and there may be overall staining or marking of large portions of the text, but not such as to render it unreadable. In all but the scarcest of titles, this is the worst condition that we offer, and it is to be considered strictly a reading copy. All text will be intact, and the pages intact and attached, but the appearance is nondescript and the book will require careful handling if it is to survive many more readings.
Poor: In rare cases we may offer a book graded as poor. This could be missing some or all of the covers and spine, have water damage (but no mildew), show evidence of chewing or gnawing by animals or insects or have loose or unattached pages. All text will be included and properly sequenced (unless otherwise indicated). This is a book that is scarce enough to warrant sale strictly for its content, with no regard for appearance or longevity.