IOBA Q & A Column


Q. Would a member be kind enough to explain to me what a “Fourth Printing Before Publication” means (as noted in a copy of Andersonville).

A. The publisher did a first printing of xx copies, for a book which was going to be sold in Sept, for example – Before the September release date came, the publisher had so many advance orders for this book from bookstores that it had to go back to print more copies 3 times (2nd printing before pub, 3rd, etc…) Any later printing before publication is just a later printing (of course, ALL first printings are before publication) – adding the “before pub” is just sort of bragging about how popular the book is/was.

Q. With authors like De Saint Exupery and Du Maurier, are there any standard rules for alphabetization? Does De Saint Exupery go under D or S or E?

A. Unless you want to get confused I suggest you let the computer do the driving. Shelve by the 1st letter of the last name regardless. Computers don’t care about articles no matter what language it’s in. So when you or someone you designate are looking for De E or Du M you go looking where the nice machine tells you. de Ex will be found at the Beginning of the DE’s unless you have removed the space.

Shelve Mac with the MA’s and Mc with the MC’s and if two last names are involved, shelve by the 1st only if hyphenated. thus James Lee Burke is under Burke and some one like Chow Yun-Fat is filed under Yun .

Q. What is acceptable in the way of defects for a book simply described as Near Fine? Any consensus? I ask, of course, because I returned a book that was described as Near Fine and the following defects were not disclosed.

1) Two small nicks top edge
2) Thumb size water damage to lower page edges causing silver gilding to flake
3) Center 6 pages protrude from signature block (manufacturing defect).

A. We use Near Fine to describe books that are fine save for something like price-clipping, a remainder mark, or previous owner name on endpaper. The flaw precludes a status of fine, but the book is still crisp and attractive. (Naturally, book and jacket should be graded separately, and specific flaws should be mentioned.)

Sometimes, I use Near Fine without any more description. That’s usually when a book lacks that really crisp, never-been-read feeling. There aren’t any flaws to describe; it’s just the book has mellowed a bit or was read gently once or twice. I don’t know how else to describe that when there aren’t any flaws that would knock it down to very good, but it just doesn’t have that crisp quality that knocks your socks off. So I call it Near Fine.

Thanks and credits go to: Julie Fauble, Robert Schrader, Mike Stewart, Chris Volk, and Joyce Godsey.

Jean S. McKenna – Chairman Education Committee.

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