Book Terms

This page is intended to give a brief description of terms we use in our listings. It is a new feature and is currently work in progress with more to be added shortly.


“The entire number of copies of a publication printed from a single typesetting or other form of reproduction.” American Heritage Dictionary.

First Edition

To a publisher, the first edition is the entire number of copies from the original typesetting, no matter how many print runs occur.

To a book collector, the first edition refers only to the first printing of the original typesetting of the work in book form. This is the definition we use.

Because publishers generally aren’t interested in the book collector’s definition of first edition, their methods of edition identification are often vague and vary considerably – there is no single standard method. We use Bill McBride’s “A Pocket Guide to the Identification of First Editions” to  help us identify first editions.  Manyhills only states a book as first edition if through research we believe it is the first printing of the first edition.

Binding Types

Hardcover is self-explanatory. The actual covers are sometimes referred to as “boards,” which may be covered in paper, cloth, or occasionally leather. Usually the boards are quite plain and a paper dust jacket is often included to provide decoration, marketing and protection.

Softcover. The covers are made from thin printed card.

Paperback: We use this term to refer to mass market paperbacks which are generally the very common small version of novels.

Trade Paperback: This is the large softcover version (about 23cm high) that novels are commonly released in prior to the mass market paperback edition.

Medium Trade Paperback: We use this term to designate softcover books that fall between the paperback and trade paperback sizes. Teenage fiction books are often this size.

Signed Books

Signed means signed by the author, or occasionally by the editor or illustrator.

Inscribed (sometimes referred to as a presentation copy) means the author has signed the book to a particular person, and may have written some additional lines.

More to come ....

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