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  • impression

    A set of books printed from the same setting of type at the same time. An edition is the set of all books printed from the same setting of type, and within an edition there can be multiple impressions made at different times, weeks or months apart. Only the first impression is the true first edition.

    The American usage “printing” in this context is synonymous with impression, but is restricted by us only to books published in the USA.

  • imprint

    The publisher’s imprint is the name of the publisher, place of publication, and date, usually printed at the foot of the title-page or, especially in early books, at the end of the book (the colophon). The printer’s imprint is the name of printer and place of printing, printed at the end of the book or on the back of the title-page.

  • inlaid

    Ornamented with inserted materials; in binding descriptions, this typically means that the surface leather has been cut away in places and pieces of different leather or some other decorative material have been inserted.

  • inner dentelle

    A dentelle is any ornamental tooling with a lace-like appearance. We generally use it only in the context of “inner dentelles,” where the turn-ins have been elaborately rolled in gilt.

  • isbn

    The ISBN (International Standard Book Number) identifies the book, but it does not specify the edition. It has limited value in identifying rare books.

    The 9 digits of the original SBN provided a unique numeric commercial book identifier, first implemented in the UK in 1967. It was adopted internationally as the 10-digit ISBN in 1970. Therefore any book containing such a code must be published after these dates. UK publishers continued to use the 9-digit British code until 1974. The 10-digit ISBN was used until 1 January 2007, when it was expanded to 13 digits.

    Although an ISBN is assigned to each different format (so a paperback, a hardback, and an ebook would each have a different ISBN), it does not change as a particular edition is reprinted. Therefore it has no use in identifying the specific edition and impression/printing.

  • issue

    Sometimes publishers make deliberate changes to the book within an impression. For example, a publisher might reprice the book, perhaps by over-stamping a new price on the title page or on the dust jacket flap. This creates an “issue”, which is a group of published copies within an impression. An issue is distinguishable from other copies of that impression by one or more differences designed expressly to identify the group as a discrete unit.  A new issue is sometimes indicated by the provision of a new title-leaf, with or without other changes (even though some publishers may advertise this as a “new edition”).

    An issue may include two or more different states: see state.