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There is a basic condition vocabulary and rating system amongst book dealers for describing books, so we can communicate with each other. It works pretty well. The condition grades that I use for rScrapZ.com are adapted from Alibris & HalfDot standards. I do not use supercilious grades like "mint" (books are not coins) or "Near Fine" (it either is or it isn't). I do use plus and minus signs (+/-) though, just like in high school. I tend to over describe flaws and undervalue the condition grade so that the book looks better than you expected it would.
These are used books though, and everything is subjective. On out-of-print book searches I am often relying on someone else's description of the book, and they may or may not be as serious about these condition grades as I am. Usually they are. If, however, you receive a book from me (whether it's a book search or not) and you think the book is not as it was described you may return it to me for a full refund, less shipping. You must return the book within ten days, and advance notice of your intent is appreciated.
Questions about the particular condition of a book that I quote for sale are always welcomed. We will send additional pictures, if requested.
As New. As New describes a book that is in immaculate, crisp condition with a perfect dust jacket. I generally use this term only to describe new books (and, frankly, some new books are no longer in As New condition by the time they get shipped out) or to describe books so pristine that the spine hasn't even been cracked. I basically don't believe this term can be used to describe a book older than 15 years because the very feel of the book will tell you it's old, even if it's in perfect condition and no one has ever opened it.
F. Fine describes a book that approaches being As New, without the crispness. There can be no visible defects, and the book is clean and bright, and its dust jacket without any rips or stains. Older books may show minor defects.
VG. Very Good describes a book that is clean and bright but which may show subtle signs of its age, such as very minor knicks or scratches. Any defects are noted.
G. Good describes an average used book that shows some wear and perhaps small tears, but whose interior is clean. Any other defects are noted.
P. Poor describes a book that has all its pages intact but which was obviously well loved and well read in its past life. I try not to have any of these, but occassionally hard-to-find out-of-print books are hard to come by in any other form (at least at a reasonable cost). I sometimes refer to books in this condition as Reading Copies.
U. Unacceptable describes a book that has pages missing I try not to have any of these, but if I have another copy, I will duplicate these the missing pages and note and rate according to the other conditions given.
XL. Ex-Library (Ex-Lib, XLib) describes a book that once belonged to a public or institutional library (and has been deaccessioned). Usually these books show some markings on the title and copyright page, as well as the endpapers. I spend a lot of time cleaning up ex-library books to remove the worst of these sins: rear pockets, stickers, dirty dust jacket covers, etc. If I state that the book shows "usual marks" then several marks are present, but you'd be surprised how clean some library books can be (at least after I work on them some), and I'll likewise remark on that. All ex-library books are so noted, along with a condition grade. There is no such thing as an ex-library book in As New condition, but many are Very Good, and sometimes the dust jackets (in new plastic protectors) are beautiful.
I grade the condition of the book and its dust jacket separately;
Used on eBay and HalfDotCondition
A new, unread, unused book in perfect condition with no missing or damaged pages. See the seller's listing for full details.
Like NewA book that looks new but has been read. Cover has no visible wear, and the dust jacket (if applicable) is included for hard covers. No missing or damaged pages, no creases or tears, and no underlining/highlighting of text or writing in the margins. May have very minimal identifying marks on the inside cover. Very minimal wear and tear. See the seller’s listing for full details and description of any imperfections.
Very GoodA book that does not look new and has been read but is in excellent condition. No obvious damage to the cover, with the dust jacket (if applicable) included for hard covers. No missing or damaged pages, no creases or tears, and no underlining/highlighting of text or writing in the margins. May have very minimal identifying marks on the inside cover. Very minimal wear and tear. See the seller’s listing for full details and description of any imperfections.
A book that has been read but is in good condition. Very minimal damage to the cover including scuff marks, but no holes or tears. The dust jacket for hard covers may not be included. Binding has minimal wear. The majority of pages are undamaged with minimal creasing or tearing, minimal pencil underlining of text, no highlighting of text, no writing in margins. No missing pages. See the seller’s listing for full details and description of any imperfections.
A book with obvious wear. May have some damage to the cover but integrity still intact. The binding may be slightly damaged but integrity is still intact. Possible writing in margins, possible underlining and highlighting of text, but no missing pages or anything that would compromise the legibility or understanding of the text. See the seller’s listing for full details and description of any imperfections.
The condition of a book is usually in the form of VG/VG, Fine/Good, VG/--, etc. The first part is the condition of the book, the second is the condition of the dust jacket. If a "/--" is present, it usually means that the dustjacket is not present.
Unfortunately, this standard is not used universally by all GEMM sellers. A ''VG'' for one seller might only be a "G" graded by another seller''s standards. Be sure to look at a seller''s individual "grading" policies if the precise condition of an item is of concern.
Brand New Brand new, unused, unopened & undamaged, in perfect condition. The original packaging (if any) and all materials (if any) are included and in brand new condition.
As New Same condition as when it was published. There should be no defects, no missing pages, no library stamps, etc., and the dustjacket (if it was issued with one) must be without any tears.
Fine (F or FN) Almost the same as the condition of As New, but without being crisp. Also, there should be no defects, etc., and any tears, or other defect, or a worn look, should be noted.
Very Good (VG) Shows some small signs of wear - but no tears - on either binding or paper. Any defects should be noted.
Good (G) An average used, worn book that has all pages or leaves present. Any defects should be noted.
Fair (F) Worn book that has complete text pages (including those with maps or plates) but may lack endpapers, half-title, etc. (which should be noted). Binding, jacket (if any), etc., may also be worn. All defects should be noted.
Poor (P) Sufficiently worn, does have the complete text, which must be legible. Any missing maps or plates should be noted. May be soiled, scuffed, stained or spotted and may have loose joints, hinges, pages, etc.
The following is probably the closest thing there currently is to a commonly accepted definition for the grading of condition of vinyl albums and their covers.
Unfortunately, this standard is not used universally by all GEMM sellers. A `VG` for one seller might only be a "G" graded by another seller`s standards. Be sure to look at a seller`s individual "grading" policies if the precise condition of an item is of concern.
SS- Still Sealed
Has been opened, but is still flawless with no damage whatsoever.
Vinyl & CD: No visible marking / scuffing / scratches & plays perfectly.VG+ Very Good Plus / EX
CD: ("VG+" grade not used. "EX" or "VG" used instead.)
Vinyl: May have scuff marks and signs of some wear but will still play almost perfectly throughout, with only "barely detectable" crackles or pops. A slight noise at the begining is allowable, but the remainder must be nearly flawless. Definitely no scratches or gouges that a touch with a dry finger can feel.
Cover: May only have the slightest signs of normal wear.
"VG++" is sometimes used as an intermediate grade between VG+ and M-.
VG Very Good / EX-
The majority of saleable albums fall under this grade.
CD: Visible scratches but plays perfectly all the way through.
Vinyl: May crackle, pop or make other annoying noises, but only occasionally,never continuously, and not more loudly than the music being listened to
Cover: Normal used cover wear such as ring wear and split seams. If there is abnormal damage such as tears or markings, but the seller still feels that it qualifies as a "VG", the damage must be described in comments attached to the item.
"Good" actually means "trashed" in collector circles!
CD: one or more tracks skip.
Vinyl: May have continuous low level crackles, pops, etc... but not so loud as to make the music completely unlistenable or unenjoyable to the casual listener. Might also have "nasty little scratch" causing popping on one or two more songs, with the rest of record playing fine.
Cover: More than normal wear and tear.F Fair
i.e. Vinyl: Only one side playable
i.e. Only one or two songs on the whole album are playable.
By Dave Thompson
For all the confusion that surrounds accurately grading records, the system itself is relatively simple. American record dealers tend to work from the eight-point scale developed for use in Goldmine magazine (F+W Publications); in the U.K., the seven-point scale is now the accepted system. These scales are applicable to both vinyl and packaging, and many sellers will now grade both separately, particularly if there is some disparity between the two — a clean disc and a torn sleeve, for example.