Project Condition

Scot Kamins kamins at
Thu Feb 7 11:23:02 EST 2002

At 2:02 AM -0500 2/7/02, Bnjmnopbooks at wrote:
>  How many (main) condition-types do you think threr should be? Let's 
>see Poor , Fair , Good , Very Good , Fine , Mint...six?

I'm of the opinion that condition labels would be secondary to a 
discussion/description of flaws & faults. A condition label is based 
on an overall assessment of a book and DJ. That judgment is 
subjective at best. The standard joke is:

1) Grade the book objectively.
2) Add one grade if you're the seller, subtract one grade if you're the buyer.
3) Price the book.

If we were to discuss condition or show examples of the various 
conditions, I'd propose the we focus on the most commonly used 
classifications (and I'd recommend that folks see the AB Bookman list 
referenced in a previous e-mail before reading further):

As New ("Mint" is a term more properly used for coins) - Meaning "As 
if it came out of the just-unsealed box from the factory." Some folks 
don't like this term because some factory-fresh books have odd flaws. 
They prefer the next term on the list:

Fine -see above, but subtract the equivalent of "new car smell" from 
the equation

Near Fine

Very Good



Reading Copy - I'm of the opinion that anything less than Good isn't 
really collectable (knowing full well that "collectable" itself is 
totally personal), in the sense that such a book's resale value is 
ziltch. This is, of course, arguable, given that good copies of B&L's 
with fair and poor DJ's have brought tidy sums. An extreme example is 
a Guttenberg Bible in poor condition - it's worth more than all our 
houses put together.

By the way, I automatically ignore books listed as "<condition> for 
its age." The categories apply to all books of all times.

Scot Kamins
Maintaining the Modern Library Collecting Website at
which (in turn) is supported by The Pavilion City Mall at
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