Bookselling Terms
ChrisLands 5 months ago

Bookselling Terms

What’s an ISBN? (and other publishing terms you should know) As you begin your bookselling journey, you’ll encounter some trade terms that you should become familiar with before we proceed:

Advanced reading copy (ARC): This is a copy of a book printed before the first official publication. It may not be complete, may lack final cover art, or may still be awaiting a final proofread. ARCs are circulated to book buyers, critics, and press in advance of a book’s official release.

Antiquarian books: A term to differentiate collectible books from used books. Vintage, antique, rare, and out-of-print books may fall under this category.

Backlist: A publisher’s list of books published prior to the current year or season that are still in print.

Book distributor: A business that warehouses and sells books directly to retail stores, libraries, and sometimes wholesalers on behalf of publishers.

Book wholesaler: A company that buys large quantities of books from publishers and sells them to bookstores, institutions, and libraries. Wholesalers usually get volume discounts from publishers and can pass on a portion of that savings to their customers.

First edition: Any book copy printed in the first print run of that particular title.

International Standard Book Number (ISBN): A numerical code used to identify a book. Publishers, retailers, libraries, and other businesses along the book supply chain use this unique number for inventory management and ordering. Books published up to the end of 2006 have a 10-digit ISBN, while all books after that period have a 13-digit ISBN.

List price: The cover price or retail price of a book, generally printed on the back cover or sleeve.

Out of print (OP): A book title that is no longer being printed or distributed from the publisher.

Print on demand (POD): A term to describe a product being printed upon order. There is no inventory of the product, but it will be printed and shipped to each customer after the purchase is made. Many self-published books or books sold by large online retailers are distributed in this way.

Trade bookseller: Another term for a retail bookstore or retail bookseller. Trade booksellers sell to the general public and include independent bookstores, large retail chains, and online stores.


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