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bookish Book Grading

Here we describe the different grades we use in assessing the condition of our Lovebooks:

New (N) - We'll start with an easy one. NEW is new. A book in this condition will be pretty much perfect. Its pages haven't yet been touched, its smell is still that beautiful bookish new smell, its covers haven't even been opened. Yet...

MINT (M) - If a book is described as MINT, it doesn’t mean it’s green coloured or smelling of Polos. What is actually means is that the book is in a perfect or near perfect condition and is impossible to tell from a new copy. If it originally came with a dust jacket then the dust jacket will be present. Lucky book. (S)he’s perfect.

FINE (F) - Damn FINE. The book appears to be in excellent condition. If you want to get all Miss Marple about it, very close examination will show signs of ownership and storage. In older books there may also be a small inscription from previous ownership but generally it will be all FINE and dandy. Dust jacket (if present) will be as new but perhaps with very slight rubbing on the corners. Oo-er missus.

NEAR FINE (NF) - Books in this condition will be better than VERY GOOD but slightly poorer than FINE. So kind of somewhere in the middle in that sort of bland but beautiful place.

VERY GOOD (VG) - Slightly less than FINE. You should be getting the hang of this by now. Aside from some very slight foxing or fading, the book has no faults. Dust jacket (if present) will be clean with excellent colouring (i.e. not faded), but perhaps with slight rubbing to most edges and corners.

GOOD (G) – Books in this condition are obviously secondhand. But that’s okay. Secondhand books can be lovely. Apart from minor faults, it should be assumed that books in GOOD condition are complete in all respects, unless they are described otherwise. Dust jacket (if present) will be fairly clean with almost perfect colouring (i.e. not too much fading) but may be suffering from marks, creasing and other signs of wear. Most of the edges are rubbed or have very small tears in them. Sad eh? But GOOD books have personality. So that’s GOOD.

FAIR - Books in this condition will be better than POOR but slightly poorer that GOOD. Another halfway house grading. Lots of booksellers use this in-between grading. We at bookish don’t really use it since it just makes things more complicated than they need to be, but we thought we’d include it here anyway just in case you stumble across it elsewhere and don’t know what it means. Now you do. GOOD eh? Well, FAIR at least.

POOR (P) – A POOR book is as POOR as POOR can be. Oliver Twist POOR. It will display serious wear and damage. It may be warped, some preliminary pages may be missing and the spine may be irreparably broken or damaged. The text will be complete but the book is really only suitable as a reading copy. The dust jacket (if present) will be as tatty and grubby as Nancy Sikes and may well be marked, creased or torn. 

In grading all our bookish Lovebooks we try to be as accurate as possible, but if you need extra information or want to chat through the condition of a particular book you see on the website, feel free to give us a call on +44 (0) 1273 25 2011, email Jo (jo@bookishengland.co.uk), Tweet us, Facebook message us, or send out a carrier pigeon or a smoke signal. We love chatting about books, so bother us all you like...