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  • page, leaf

    The important distinction is that the page is one side of the leaf only. A book in which the pages are individually numbered is paginated; a book in which the leaves are individually numbered is foliated.

  • pagination

    The sequence of numbers applied to the pages of a book. Prelims are usually numbered in Roman numerals, and the text in Arabic numerals. Indexes or other supplementary matter may be in either, or not numbered at all. When we give pagination, square brackets indicate that the pages are unnumbered; e.g. pp. viii, 396, [20]. We generally only give paginations in our descriptions in exceptional circumstances, perhaps if the book is either unusually short or long.

  • panelled calf

    Fine and dark sprinkled calf of two tints, a square panel being left plain in the centre of the sides, otherwise known as Cambridge calf.

  • paste-action

    The glue used to attach paper endleaves to the binding has left a mark or residue showing through the paper.

  • pastedown

    That part of the endpaper which is pasted to the inside cover of the binding. See endpapers.

  • photogravure

    An image produced from a photographic negative transferred to a metal plate and etched in, a process invented in France in the 1860s.

  • plate

    An impression from a printing plate, an engraving, an illustration, a photograph or picture occupying a full page, often printed on better quality paper, and not forming part of the main page sequence.

  • PMM

    Printing and the Mind of Man is a descriptive bibliography based on an exhibition of books held at Earl’s Court in London in 1963. The exhibition focused on the role of printing in the advancement of human knowledge, and included important works in the arts and sciences dating from the fifteenth century onward. The bibliography, first published in 1967, describes the significance to the progress of human thought of 424 different books and has become a key reference work for collectors and booksellers.

  • point

    A specific feature or characteristic of a book that distinguishes or identifies it as being a particular edition, impression, issue, or state; a usage firmly established in 1931 by J. Schwartz’s bibliography, 1100 Obscure Points.

  • prelims, preliminaries

    Any material that precedes the main text of the book. Prelims are usually set and printed after the main text; they are numbered with lower-case Roman numerals (rather than Arabic numerals) so that any late changes to the content or extent of the prelims do not affect the pagination of the text.

  • presentation binding

    A fine binding specially commissioned by the publisher for copies to be presented as gifts to the author or other significant individuals. In some cases presentation bindings are also commissioned by the author.

  • presentation copy

    A copy of a book that was not solicited by the recipient, but presented as a gift by the author, publisher, or illustrator.

  • price-clipped

    The corner of the dust jacket, usually the inside flap, on which the original publication price was printed, has been cut away, often by the first purchaser who bought the book as a gift but also sometimes by a reseller. We always specify when a jacket is price-clipped; if we do not mention it, the jacket is intact.

  • private press

    A small privately-owned printing and publishing house, usually one issuing small print runs of books ignoring the financial imperatives of commercial publishers, and printing only texts of the proprietor’s choice. These firms typically use hand presses, design their own type, and publish limited editions using high quality materials. Widely-collected private presses include the Kelmscott, Doves, and Golden Cockerel presses.

  • privately printed

    A book that has been printed at a private individual’s expense and usually intended only to be circulated to a select group of people rather than sold commercially.

  • provenance

    The history of a book’s previous ownership. Provenance can be indicated by signatures, inscriptions, and bookplates, inserted items such as letters, or auction records and other historical sources.