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The IOBA Standard is the journal of the Independent Online Booksellers Association and covers the book world, with a special focus on the online used, out-of-print, and collectible bookselling markets.


Commonly Used Bookseller Abbreviations

The following list has been compiled to inform the newer bookseller/collector of the abbreviations that were commonly used in book ads and catalogs in the not-so-distant past, and to jog the memory of those of us who did use them.

The following is an example I once used in advertising a book for sale: “G-VG UNLESS NOTED. CWO PPD RET SASE”. As many of you know, we were charged by the line in most publications and, in order to keep expenses down, used abbreviations. They were also used in book cataloging. An elderly gentleman once asked me to translate the secret bookseller code in the above description. That translation was: “Good to very good unless noted. Check with order, postpaid, returnable, self-addressed stamped envelope”.

Granted, these abbreviations are no longer used on a regular basis, but they can still often be found in booksellers’ online descriptions and print catalogs. Since the advent of the computer and book databases, and the demise of most print book publications, they are used less frequently but, if you do come across something you don’t understand, we hope this list will be a useful reference.

ABA: American Bookseller’s Association

Also: Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association (the British equivalent of the ABAA)

ABAA: Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America

AEG: All Edges Gilt

ALS: Autographed Letter Signed

ARC: Advance Readers Copy

BCE: Book Club Edition

BDS: Boards

BOMC: Book-of-the-Month Club

C.: Small c. before date, meaning circa; around/about (referring to date)

CR or CPR or ©: Copyright

CWO: Check or cash with order

DEC: Decorated

DJ: Dust jacket

DS: Document signed

DW: Dustwrapper (same as dust jacket, or book jacket)

ED: Edition or Editor

EP: Endpaper

EX LIB: Ex-Library copy

EX LIBRIS: From the library of, referring to previous owner–often found on bookplates

F: Fine

FFEP: Front free endpaper

FL: Flyleaf

FRONTIS: Frontispiece

G: Good

HC: Hardcover

IL or ILLUS: Illustrated

IOBA: Independent Online Booksellers Association

LITHO: Lithograph

LTD ED: Limited Edition

ND or n-d: No Date

NP or n-pl: No Place

OP or OOP: Out-of-Print

PP: Pages; p (and then the number) for page; /pp for pages – to

PPB or PB: Paperback

PPD: Postpaid

PR: Printing

PSEUD: Pseudonym

PUB: Published/publisher

RFEP: Rear free endpaper

RET: Returnable

SLC or SC: Slipcase

SGD: Signed

SP: Spelling

TEG: Top Edge Gilt

TLS: Typed letter signed

TP: Title Page

V. or VOL or VOLS: Volume/Volumes

VG: Very Good

WAF: With All Faults

W/O: Without




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