From Library Journal's Starred Review: "This ambitious and entertaining update solidifies Berger’s volume as a must-have title for librarians, booksellers, collectors, and students of the book arts and book history."
This new edition of The Dictionary of the Book adds more than 700 new entries and many new illustrations and brings the vocabulary and theory of bookselling and collecting into the modern commercial and academic world, which has been forced to adjust to a new reality.
The definitive glossary of the book covers all the terms needed for a 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—more than 2,000—that could be used in booksellers’ catalogs, library records, and collectors’ descriptions of their holdings is represented in this dictionary. This authoritative source covers all areas of book knowledge, including:
The Dictionary also contains an extensive bibliography—more than 1,000 key readings in the book world and it gives current (and past) definitions of terms whose meaning has shifted over the centuries.
More than 200 images accompany the entries, making the work even more valuable for understanding the terms described.
Sidney E. Berger was the Ann C. Pingree Director of the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum of Salem; he is now that library’s Director Emeritus. For the past 18 years he has been on the faculties of Simmons University and the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, teaching rare-book classes 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 he headed the Special Collections Department at the University of California, Riverside. He is widely published in several fields, and his book Rare Books and Specials 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 types, printed on a handpress.
Foreword by Nicholas Basbanes
Introduction to the First Edition
Introduction to the Second Edition
Appendix A: Paper and Paper-Related Terminology in the Present Volume
Appendix B: Typeface Terminology
Appendix C: Paper Sizes
Appendix D: Binding Terminology in the Present Volume
Appendix E: Book Collectors’ Clubs and Societies
About the Author
Berger offers a second edition of his 2016 work presenting a comprehensive glossary of the book. The first edition was a remarkable achievement, but this newest effort is nothing short of a tour de force. This latest edition contains over 700 new entries for a total of 2,000 terms, covering all areas of the book arts and book history: parts of a book; typography; calligraphy; genre terms; pricing; paper; printing; bookbinding; physical condition; preservation and conservation issues; a short biography of key people, presses, and publishers; legal issues; and more. The volume presents terms from A to Z and most helpfully supplies over 200 illustrations and photographs of selected words. Additional features include five appendixes containing further information, including an extensive bibliography with over 1,000 resources and definitions of terms whose meanings have shifted over time. Readers will likely appreciate Berger’s impressive list of book clubs and societies around the world. This ambitious and entertaining update solidifies Berger’s volume as a must-have title for librarians, booksellers, collectors, and students of the book arts and book history.
Sid Berger has been a positive influence on the book collecting world for many decades. His expertise ranges from the micro (his paper collection for example) to the macro (the vast language of old and rare books in all its forms) and is painstaking, accurate, well presented, and up-to-date. The second edition greatly enlarges and improves the first and will be the standard to which all collectors, librarians, and booksellers should adhere.
As Mark Twain observed, there is a world of difference between 'the almost right word and the right word.' In this enlarged edition, Professor Berger gives us the right word for every possible term related to books. Going far beyond Carter’s ABC, he has produced a true Booktionary, defining thousands of terms related to the making, getting, keeping, trading, and loving of books. The whole history of books and printing, bookselling and collecting, librarianship, and much more is in this immensely useful resource. Berger’s definitions, so wonderfully precise and clear, give us the confidence to speak intelligently about books—always using just the right word.
Each of the more than 2000 entries is comprehensively researched and exhaustively cited. There is also an extensive bibliography which will enable the reader to extend their research beyond the entries in this dictionary. It would also enable anyone with an interest to check that their own holdings on the history of the book are complete or guide those who wish to develop a collection in this area. It will be of interest to book collectors, booksellers, librarians, historians, and artists specialising in printmaking and handpress printing. The Dictionary of the Book is one I would like to add to my own collection[.]
6/9/22, Choice Reviews: This book was included in a roundup of forthcoming library and information science titles.
11/10/22, Choice Reviews: This book was highlighted in a roundup of forthcoming reference titles.
3/23, Fine Books & Collections: The author and book were featured in the article.