Condition grading

Grading the condition of books is fairly subjective. I try to be consistent, and I make every effort to list any and all flaws in the description of the condition. However, I am human and sometimes make mistakes. Please consult our return policy if you think the book you ordered doesn’t match my description. The table below provides a summary of my grading categories. It seems obvious that the better the condition of a book, the more collectible it is, but keep in mind that you could have a very old, rare book in poor condition that is quite valuable. Likewise you could have a book in perfect condition that is of little value to a collector.


Condition


Book

Dust
Jacket

fine

Perfect or with one or
two very minor flaws.

Same as for book.

near
fine

Not quite
fine; flaws are slightly more serious, or there are one or two
more minor flaws.

Same as for book.

very good
plus               

Book has
more numerous minor flaws.

Same as for book.

very good

Collectible
but with significant flaws.

Same as for book.

good

Generally not
collectible due to significant wear but nevertheless intact,
that is, not coming apart; all pages are present.

Dust jacket is in one
piece but may have significant chipping as well as tears and
rubbing.             

poor

Generally not
collectible; binding may be coming apart; pages may be loose or
missing.

Dust jacket has major
pieces missing or is not in one piece.

 

Indeed, the table is imprecise, but the examples of flaws listed below should help. Remember that along with a grading of the condition of a given book, I enumerate the flaws.

Examples of flaws (see menu for pages with pictures):

  • Top and/or bottom spine bumped
  • Corner(s) bumped
  • Page edges dirty
  • Bookplate attached to book
  • Board edges dinged or rubbed
  • Writing in book (other than price or edition notations by a dealer in pencil on one of the front pages of a book)
  • Spine lean (if the book is laid flat on its back, the spine is at an angle and the top and bottom edges are offset from each other; lean might be slight, moderate, or heavy)
  • Torn pages
  • Rubbing or tearing of dust jacket
  • Chips missing from the dust jacket
  • Price clipped from dust jacket flap

Typical flaws specific to fine leather-bound books such as Easton Press books (see menu for pages with pictures):

  • Leather scraped or nicked
  • Rubbing to the page edge gilding
  • Gold rubbed from the leather artwork
  • Ribbon dirty or frayed

When considering an Easton Press book, find out if the original publisher-supplied bookplate and/or the publisher-supplied collector’s note are included. Masterpieces of Science Fiction all come/came with collectors’ notes and bookplates. Until fairly recently, signed first editions of Science Fiction each came with a bookplate but not a collector’s note. These editions now have both plus a certificate of authenticity for the author’s signature.

Note: Many new books being sold by bookstores already have flaws due to the shipping and handling process. If we describe a book as “fine–like new,” we mean that it has no flaws whatsoever.