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Bound in half blue calf and marbled boards.

  • calf
    • mottled
    • decorated
    • gilt
    • reversed [instead of suede]
    • speckled
    • tree
    • russia [a diced, hatch pattern]
  • sheep
  • morocco (we don't use goat here)
    • crushed morocco
    • straight-grain morocco
  • pigskin
  • vellum
    • Japan [fake]
  • snakeskin
  • cloth
  • leather [use when all else fails]

Bound in quarter Japan vellum and tan boards, spine gilt.

Bound in original blue cloth, spine gilt (edges severely frayed, with some loss of text).

Bound in contemporary red morocco, red and blue marbled endpapers, edges sprinkled red and blue.

  • edges
    • gauffered
    • gilded [or: all edges gilt, or top edges gilt]
    • marbled
    • stained
    • sprinkled

Bound in half pebbled and half smooth-grain black cloth.

Bound in original blue cloth, in publisher's slipcase; in protective case, 27 cm.

  • original: publisher's binding
  • contemporary: binding dates to near the time of publication
  • later: binding is not contemporary, but actual date is unclear
  • modern: binding dates from previous century
  • recent: binding is only a few years old
  • 18th-century calf: specify the century or period

Bound in original quarter red cloth and blue boards with full title printed on front cover.

Bound in contemporary vellum, with paper label on front cover.

Rebound in brown speckled calf, original printed orange paper front cover preserved.

  • [use "rebound" when a binding has been created for a specific reason or occasion]
    • presentation copy
    • conservation binding
    • buckram binding [use for library binding]

Bound in red cloth, pages mounted on stubs.

Bound in publisher's green leather binding (spine faded to brown).

  • publisher's red cloth binding [use this format to specify when publisher has issued several known bindings]

Bound in contemporary quarter calf and brown marbled boards, corners in brown cloth with snakeskin pattern (closely cropped, some marginalia lost).

Bound in original printed flexible tan boards (rebacked); beige silk ribbon marker; some worm holes on covers; shelf mark on free front endpaper; in case, 31 cm.

  • endpaper [or free endpaper; use unless flyleaf needs to be specified, see below]
  • flyleaf [use when specifying or contrasting blank leaves beyond initial (or before penultimate) endpapers]

Bound in quarter black buckram and blue boards, with original printed blue paper front cover mounted on front cover (worn).

Front pastedown with Dutch gilt endpapers.

Spiral-bound in printed red flexible plastic covers.

  • stapled
  • stabbed
  • post-bound
  • spiral-bound
  • sewn or stitched can be used at cataloger's discretion
  • hand-sewn
  • machine-stitched

Bound in contemporary purple morocco, spine panel gilt, with yellow morocco doublures, gilt turn-ins; with binder's stamp "Mathieu" on front turn-in.

Bound in modern red morocco, gilt, matching red satin linings, gilt turn-ins.

  • linings [used with fabric]
  • doublures [used with skin]

Staple-bound in later blue flexible boards.

  • flexible: referring to board or plastic
  • limp: referring to fabric or skin


Bound in original color illustrated blue paper covers.

  • paper covers: refers to publisher's binding [attached, or intended to be attached]
  • wrappers: paper binding not added by the publisher; the word "paper" is assumed

Bound in original printed paper covers (spine reinforced with blue cloth tape).

Armorial bookplate on inside front cover.

  • pastedown [use for hardback bindings]
  • inside front cover [use for paperback bindings]

Bound in original printed drab stiffened paper covers.

  • white
  • plain [used when contrasting a printed or illustrated surface]
  • drab [used when an originally white surface has faded or acidified to off-white or gray]

Bound in original wrappers, printed beige dust jacket retained (some water damage).

Not bound

Unbound, as issued.

Unbound; loose sheets laid into printed paper covers.

  • laid into folder: in folded sheet of light cardboard
  • laid into portfolio: in flat, portable container with or without handles, often tied with tapes, or closed with a flap

Disbound; in case; 31 cm.

Standardized spelling notes

dust jacket [aat, binding]
endpapers [aat]
flyleaf [aat]
gray [not grey: AH dictionary]
half title [unless used adjectivally: as in half-title page: AACR2]
pastedown [aat]
paste paper [aat; unless used adjectivally: as in paste-paper wrappers]
shelf mark [rbprov]
title page [unless used adjectivally: as in title-page vignette: AACR2]


Carter, John. ABC for Book Collectors.
Etherington and Roberts. Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology.
Glaister. Encyclopedia of the Book.
Hulme, E. Wyndham. Leather for libraries. London : Sound Leather Committee of the Library Assoc., 1905. (*67-215)
RBMS Controlled Vocabularies