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The Dictionary of the Book

A Glossary for Book Collectors, Booksellers, Librarians, and Others

Sidney E. Berger


Finally, here is the definitive glossary of the book, offering readers all the terms they will need for thorough understanding of how books are made, the materials they are made of, and how they are described in the bookselling, book collecting, and library worlds. Every key term --- over 1,300 different words --- that could be used in booksellers’ catalogs, library records, and collectors’ descriptions of their holdings is represented in this dictionary.

This authoritative sources covers all areas of book knowledge:

  • the book as physical object,
  • typeface terminology,
  • paper,
  • printing,
  • book collecting,
  • book design,
  • bibliography,
  • calligraphy, t
  • he language of manuscripts,
  • writing implements,
  • librarianship,
  • legal issues,
  • the parts of a book, and much more.

The definitions are supplemented by more than 100 illustrations showing the book as a physical object: parts of books, kinds of illustrations, kinds of printing techniques, tools that librarians, booksellers, and collectors refer to that are used in the making of books, kinds of binding structures and decoration, kinds of paper decoration, and other things.
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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 334Size: 8 3/4 x 11 1/2
978-1-4422-6339-0 • Hardback • October 2016 • $125.00 • (£85.00)
978-1-4422-6340-6 • eBook • October 2016 • $124.99 • (£85.00)
Sidney E. Berger was the Ann C. Pingree Director of the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum of Salem; he is now the library’s Director Emeritus. For the last nearly 14 years Dr. Berger has also been on the faculty of Simmons College and the University of Illinois in Urbana/Champaign, teaching rare book courses in both institutions’ library schools. He was also Curator of Printed Books and then Curator of Manuscripts at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, MA, and headed the Special Collections Department at the University of California at Riverside. He is widely published in several fields--mostly in literary, bibliographical, and library fields--and his most recent book, Rare Books and Special Collections, won the 2015 ABC-CLIO/American Library Association award for the Best Book in Library Literature. He makes paper and casts type by hand, and he is the proprietor of the Doe Press, publishing short texts from handset type, printed on a hand press.
About the Author
First published in 1952 with eight revised later editions, the ABC for Book Collectors by John Carter has long served as the standard glossary for the book trade. Nicely illustrated with photographs and drawings, The Dictionary of the Book updates Carter’s classic volume with additional coverage on book-printing terms, typography, papermaking, and binding, among other topics. A former museum library director and curator of manuscripts at different institutions, Berger is highly qualified to compile this informative and important work. A venerable bibliophile who delights in all aspects of book production and history, he hopes the readers will get as much 'pleasure out of this book' as he did in compiling it.

With its plentiful illustrations and extensive – and largely print – bibliography, [The Dictionary of the Book] will be a valuable and often entertaining point of reference for people whose interest in physical books goes beyond simply collecting them.
TLS: The Times Literary Supplement

Berger is a passionate bibliomaniac with a scholar's eye for details and a bibliophile's eye for the beauty in the details. He takes a language defined (now) long ago by John Carter and refined more recently by Nicolas Barker and brings it into the 21st century with a deft blend of deference and irreverence and more than a dash of humor, to make learning the arcane patois of books an educational treat and a great read. He adds from his own vast knowledge and experience a fresh perspective which will delight beginners and cognoscenti alike, and offers us all a chance to look afresh at our world of books.
John Windle, Owner, John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller in San Francisco

The Dictionary of the Book is a reference work that is as wide-ranging and encyclopedic as its author. Sid Berger has produced an essential tool for the trade.
Phil Salmon, Bromer Booksellers

This is not an ABC of book terms, this is an A to Z of all things bookish! From bookbinding to paper making to library terminology, this glossary leaves nothing out and its definitions are clear, concise and on target. No librarian’s shelf should be without it.
Valerie Hotchkiss, Andrew S. G. Turyn Endowed Professor & Director of the Rare Book & Manuscript Library, University of Illinois

• Winner, Library Journal Best Reference Book (2016)