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John Carter
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ABC for Book Collectors: Mercury Books [no 12]

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  306 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
John Carter's ABC for Book Collectors has long been established as the most enjoyable as well as the most informative reference book on the subject. Here, in over 450 alphabetical entries, ranging in length from a single line to several pages, may be found definition and analysis of the technical terms of book collecting and bibliography, interspersed with salutory comment ...more
JRTM: sewn on cords; rounded, glued, 'First Published in Mercury Books', 208 pages
Published 1961 by Mercury Books (first published 1952)
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Feb 11, 2009 Frankie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Containing a wealth of trivial-for-some-but-not-for-me information and terminology on book collecting, ABC... proved itself readable per sitting as well as a reference. I thought it (in 8th ed.) a bit expensive for its size (or format, ibid.), but it paid for itself when I saved $65 on a recent purchase of a translator-signed rarity. Descriptions of terms of condition, format (I always wondered what "8vo" meant), bindings, auction and cataloguers' lingo were succinct and easy to comprehend.

Sarah Fisher
Dec 18, 2009 Sarah Fisher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So, it's basically a dictionary for rare books and the antiquarian book trade. But don't expect scholarly non-biased descriptions. They are scholarly. But the author has a slight air of snobbery which is thoroughly entertaining. He knows his stuff and isn't afraid to talk snootily of the book trade and its less savory aspects. Seriously, read a dictionary shouldn't be this enjoyable. Also, these "biased" descriptions offer lots of subtle insight into the book trade for newbies.
Aug 12, 2016 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I learned I do not really want to be a book collector. I like reading books to much. Rare books often can't be read since that could damage them. I would rather read a reprint. But it was still really interesting reading about old, rare, expensive books and the people who collect them.
This one is from the advanced reading list for my class at Rare Book School in a few weeks. Yes, that's right, Rare Book School. As Lia said, "Is that real?" I love being a librarian.
Aug 23, 2011 Elizabeth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
I've no doubt that this is an indispensable reference book, but it is far less witty than the collector's accounts of it I've heard led me to believe. The most whimsical element is how it labels the material elements of the book itself (endpapers, verso, recto, etc.) in order to provide real evidence of definitions.
Jul 13, 2014 Jen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-school
Had to read this for a summer class on the history of the book. Written dictionary style it was a bit of a slog to get through, but it also had some dry British humor mixed in. The entry for "misprints" was actually hilarious. Useful if you plan on collecting old books.
Sep 14, 2008 Natalie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a required textbook for one of my library school classes. I still use it today. It explains parts of a book and is so helpful in understanding the book printing process of the past and present.
Aug 12, 2008 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Ham-fisted layman" beware! An essential primer put together in dictionary-style which is often surprisingly amusing to read.
Misty Wright
Very useful for book collectors or catalogers. Everything you ever wanted to know about books, as far as structure, printing, publishing, etc....
Oct 04, 2010 ACRL added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: motw
Read by ACRL Member of the Week Simona Tabacaru. Learn more about Simona on the ACRL Insider blog.
Jan 12, 2016 K.N. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-shelf, bookbarn, 1950s
This book is excellent to refer to, but it's too much like a dictionary for me to read cover-to-cover.
This book is the best book about books out there. Defines every term I need as an archivist for my not-specialized work with books.
Rachel rated it really liked it
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Dec 24, 2015
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Megan Bell
Megan Bell rated it it was amazing
May 19, 2015
Extraordinary helpful mass of info for any lover of books, collector or not.
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