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Every book has a story

Every book has a story.

Check in frequently to read the behind-the-scenes scoop on the Newberry’s popular Book Fair. The blog is maintained by “Uncle Blogsy,” otherwise known as Dan Crawford, Book Fair Manager.

Bilingual Quiz

Recently, I picked up books from a lady who was sorry to see them go, and kept telling me about them, like a parent leaving her child with the babysitter for the first time. “They’re really good,” she told me. “Some of the covers are coming off, but the paper’s still good. You might want to read them yourself.”

You could tell she wasn’t in the book business. In the trade, we use other phrases to say “This book isn’t in the best shape possible, but we don’t want to throw it away.” Let’s run through a quick quiz to see if you are up on the phrases booksellers use for their second-best books.

1. “Pages torn, no loss”

a. If you don’t buy this, you’re not missing anything

b. Some parts of pages are missing, but the text was not damaged

2. “Hinges tender”

a. Someone wrote a love poem along the edge of the page

b. Someone dropped the book and now the covers are barely hanging on

3. “Detached but Present”

a. I don’t need this course for my degree, so I don’t have to answer questions

b. Some part of the book has come loose, but we still have it

4. “Fabric Loss to Top of Spine”

a. The book has a jacket cut way low in the back

b. Somebody pulled it off the shelf by yanking on the top of the spine

5. “May have some defects”

a. Nobody’s perfect

b. We haven’t actually opened the book but it didn’t crumble to dust when we picked it up, so we think it’s readable

6. “store stamps”

a. You can hide your postage inside

b. Marked by a used bookstore with a printed stamp or rubber stamp (a few of these are now more collectible than the books)

7. “Rubbed extremities”

a. I don’t know WHAT club this book went to over the weekend

b. The most vulnerable edges of the cover had enough wear to be obvious (that is, it has been on and off a shelf somewhere and got read)

8. “definite wear”

a. You HAVE to take this with you to any fashionable party

b. The damage is obvious from any angle

I have decided not to print the answers to the quiz here. Anyone who would read this column can probably figure it out, and we don’t want amateurs learning all our passwords and secret handshakes. (There aren’t really secret handshakes in the book business: we need both hands for carrying the covers that are falling off.)

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