Member Blogs > Pistil BlogFumitized for Your Protection

  • Thu, 11 Feb 2016 03:50:00    Permalink
    One of the tasks of the online bookseller is to give accurate descriptions of her book listings, noting all flaws and defects so that the prospective buyer has a good idea of the condition of the book that is being offered.  For this reason, booksellers use standardized condition grades and terminology to describe their books.  These condition grades and terminology were created long before the advent of the online marketplace, as they were used in bookseller print catalogs.  The "Resources" section on the IOBA (Independent Online Booksellers Association) website is a great place to gain an understanding of condition definitions.

    Occasionally we have come across a book that must be downgraded from Very Good condition to a mere Good, because frankly it appears to have been nibbled by a small animal.  Usually this manifests as a chewed-looking corner of a book, probably the markings of a bibliophile chihuahua.  Besides being good reading, books can be mighty tasty!

    Recently, I was entering a book into our database by Thornton W. Burgess, the early twentieth century American author of children's books featuring such creatures as Happy Jack Squirrel, Peter Rabbit, Billy Possum, Jimmy Skunk, Reddy Fox, and Danny Meadow Mouse.  This book was The Adventures of Prickly Porky and the book had super cute endpapers showing the animals of the forest wearing charming tops and bottoms (but not both).

    As I was admiring the illustrations by Harrison Cady in Prickly Porky, I noticed this copy had a pink "fumitized" label attached to the rear free endpaper.  I have not been able to find a definition of "fumitized," but for me it has the connotation of fumigation or rodent extermination.  In any case, this book had not been nibbled.

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