When grading used books there is a set of vague but standard terms that most booksellers will use. I am listing here a combination of both ABE's system (more or less), and the system I use.

As New--You know what this means--nothing is wrong with it. I would not use this if you can see any sort of shelf or reading wear.

Fine (F or FN)--Not quite as good as as new, but it's in such good condition you have to say something. Small tears to the dust jacket (DJ) and any wear must be noted.

Very Good (VG)--Most books are VG. This is what you say when nothing is really wrong with it, but it's not really anything great either. ABE holds that a VG book can have no tears to the binding or paper. I might call a book VG if it is missing an endpaper of coverpage, but I will always note this. As with any level, you should note anything that a customer might find to complain about.

Good (G)--This means that the book is all there, but that's about all you can say for it. ABE uses this to mean an 'average' book. I use it to mean that it's good enough for a reading copy, but nothing that you would use to decorate your shelf. Always, note all the defects.

Fair--I don't use this one, but there are still people who do. ABE uses this to mean a book that may be missing pages that do not have text, but all others must be there. Note all the defects.

Poor--This book is in rotten condition. We're only selling it because it's rare. ABE uses this level for reading copies, but if a book is called 'good' you don't want it for it's looks. 'Poor' books are the lowest, and the only way to know just how bad they are is from the description. You will see few people selling books in poor condition.

You can modify these with - and + if you wish. Most booksellers will specify if a book does have it's DJ, but might not say anything if it's missing. Underlining and Highlighting should always be mentioned. If a book is ex libris that too should be stated.
The more expensive the book the better it will be described. Don't expect much from a $2.00 book unless it's stated as VG or better.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.