Book Sizes


A-format - Generally a UK term.  Standard book format (TPS = 178 x 111mm or 7 1/64 x 4 3/8 inches), typically used for most small-format paperbacks.


B-format - Generally a UK term.  Standard book format (TPS = 197 x 130mm or 7 3/4 x 5 1/8 inches), slightly larger than A-format, typically used for more upmarket or literary paperbacks.


C-format - Generally a UK term. Mostly a large-format paperback, though there's no universal agreement on exact size (commonly it's Royal-sized, though it often means (TPS = 216 x 159mm or 8 1/2 x 6 17/64 inches).


Demy - (occasionally Demi) A standard book format (TPS = 216 x 135mm or 8 1/2 x 5 5/16 inches), usually hardback, often used for library edition hardbacks and more literary hardback fiction (cf trade paperback). Slightly smaller than the more common Royal format. Pronounced as in 'deny'.


Mass Market - Generally a US term but is increasingly applied to A-format paperbacks in the UK.  Small-format paperback edition of a book, usually commercial fiction, intended to sell in large numbers (TPS = 171mm x 105mm or 6 3/4 x 4 1/8 inches).  Slightly shorter and narrower than an A-format.


Rack size - US equivalent of A-format but slightly taller and narrower. Can also be termed mass market paperbacks. Usually (TPS = 197 x 106mm or 7 3/4 x 4 11/64 inches).


Royal - A standard book format (TPS = 234 x 153mm or 9 7/32 x 6 1/32 inches), usually hardback, used for most hardback fiction and general non-fiction. Slightly larger than Demy size. See also trade paperback.


Trade Paperback (TPB) - A large-format paperback, usually Royal or Demy size. In fiction publishing, a trade paperback version is often published after the hardback but before the main mass market paperback version. In Australia, a trade paperback is often published instead of a hardback. US: trade paperback is often used to mean what in the UK would be a B-format paperback, and contrasts with an rack-sized mass-market edition.


Book Condition Guidelines


New - Brand New Book. Never read.


Excellent - Used Book with nil or few minor defects or faults.


Very Good - Used Book showing some signs of wear. Minor creasing to spine.


Good - The average used book that is totally complete and intact. May have moderate creasing to spine. May have a remainder mark, bumped, minor tape repair and foxing


Fair - A worn used book that has complete text pages (including those with maps or plates) but may lack endpapers, half-title page, etc. May have substantial creasing to spine, remainder mark, bumped, tape repairs and foxing. May be ex-library.


Reading Copy - A used book that is sufficiently worn that its only merit is the complete text, which must be legible. May be soiled, scuffed, stained, spotted or bumped and may have loose  joints, hinges, pages, etc.  May be ex-library.


Please note that the images used on our site are intended as a guide only. Publishers can have various cover designs for each ISBN so images can change without notification.  Whilst we make every effort to show the correct cover design we are unable to guarantee the cover image that arrives from our suppliers.  If ordering a particular cover is important to you then please contact us for confirmation.  In particular, used books listed on this site may have minor blemishes on the cover that are obviously not depicted in the stock image of the listing. Please refer to the Book Condition Guidelines above when considering your purchase.  Please contact us if you are unsure.


Other Book Terms


Anthology - A collection of literary works which may be poems, short stories, plays, songs or excerpts generally by multiple authors.


Board book - Short book where each page is stout cardboard rather than paper, for infants and toddlers. See also rag book.


Bumped - Refers to the corners or spine ends of a book that has been damaged by being dropped or carelessly handled or shelved.


Edition - A group of books printed without changes to the content (originally from a single set of printing plates). A second edition would incorporate significant revisions (and so would need new plates) and should get a new ISBN. Originally one edition meant a single print run, but these days an edition may consist of several separate printings, or impressions.


Ex-Library - (EXLIB) Deaccessioned from a Public Library or Collection.


Foxing - A term describing the age-related spots and browning seen on paper. Although it is a bit unsightly, foxing does not affect the actual integrity of the paper.


Impression - A single print run of a book, as in 'third impression', the third batch of copies to be printed and bound. The impression number is usually marked on the copyright/imprint page, often with a sequence of numbers such as '4 6 8 10 9 7 5 3', where the lowest number indicates the impression (in this case, the third). All books in an impression are manufactured at the same time and are identical. There can be several impressions in an edition, all sharing the same ISBN.


Inscription - When an author or someone associated with the book signs and/or handwrites a dedication, etc.  e.g. "To my beloved Elizabeth, John Steinbeck"


ISBN - International Standard Book Number. Unique identifier for a book, or more specifically, of a tradeable item within the book trade. A different ISBN is required not only for each title (or work), but for each edition and binding (or manifestation) eg hardback, paperback, revised second edition all need different ISBNs. Different impressions, however, share the same ISBN. The first element (number) in a 10-digit ISBN or the second element (the number/s after the 978 or 979) in a 13-digit ISBN is the Identifier Group which is assigned to mark either a publisher's place of business or the language used for the book.  It is handy to know about this identifier so you don't buy a foreign language book by accident sight unseen.  The english language identifier is almost always a '0' or a '1' (e.g. 0-330-28498-3 or 978-0-330-28498-1).  Sometimes the book can be in english language with another country identifier such as '81'  for India but the listing should always advise that it is english language in these cases. The second element in a 10-digit ISBN or the third element in a 13-digit ISBN is the Publisher Code (e.g. 0-330-28498-3 or 978-0-330-28498-1) which is unique to a specific publisher.  It can be from 1 up to 7 digits with the title number making up the remainder of the ISBN except for the very last digit.  You can search the Global Register of Publishers with the Publisher Code or Name of the Publisher to find more details.  The very last digit in the ISBN is a check digit and is a form of redundancy check used for error detection, the decimal equivalent to a binary 'check bit'.  The ISBN Agency responsible for issuing ISBN numbers for Australia is Thorpe-Bowker.


ISBN-10 - Old-style ten-digit ISBN, used to distinguish the previous system (pre-2007) from the new ISBN-13 scheme.


ISBN-13 - Revamp of the ISBN numbering system introduced in January 2007, where the old-style ISBN-10 has been replaced with 13 digits, the new scheme is called ISBN-13 and starts with 978 or 979.


Omnibus Edition - Book containing more than one work by the same author.  Commonly two or more components have been previously published as separate books.


POD - Print on Demand is a process in which copies of a book are not printed until an order has been received, allowing books to be printed singly or in small quantities of between 1 to about 200 copies.


Rag book - Short book for infants and toddlers, where each page is printed on textile rather than paper. See also board book.


Remainder - These books have been liquidated by the publisher at greatly reduced prices.  Copies of remaindered books are marked by the publisher or distibutor and have varied over the years.  Today most remainders are marked with a stroke with a felt-tipped marker across the top or bottom of the book's pages near the spine. 


TPS - Trimmed page size (also trim size and trimmed leaf size). The outer dimensions of a page of a finished book, so for A-format, 178 x 111mm.


Uncorrected Book Proof - Bound together with a thick paper cover, usually for promotion or publicity purposes.  Book proofs are generally uncorrected.  If largely corrected they are referred to as advance copies.


This information was mostly obtained from the Glossary of Book Publishing Terms at Harper Collins UK or from the book terminology of the Independent Online Booksellers Association


Helpful Links


First Editions - This link opens up the First Edition Points website on a new window for you. Learn all about how to spot a first editon.