Vintage Paperback Book Grading


Virtually flawless. Superb. As new. For a book to receive this grade it may have only the slightest traces of wear noticeable upon very close inspection. Inside, the pages must be creamy, no trace of brown, and also there can be no name plates or other writing inside the book. Outside, the spine must be solid and clean with no fading. Very tiny amounts of wear to the spine may be present. No crease of any kind is permitted. The book appears to be perfect but upon close inspection tiny problems can be found.

Near Fine 

An exceptional copy. Acceptable to all but the most finicky collector. This is a sharp, almost Fine copy. It can have no major defects but may have an accumulation of several minor ones, such as a tiny color chip on the spine or extremities. Other possible flaws might include a small, penciled arrival mark on the cover on an otherwise Fine book. No creases. Pages can be slightly yellowed, but not brown. Typical of books found on bookstore shelves.

Very Good Plus 

Closer to Near Fine than to Very Good and is a very well preserved copy without major defects. Pages will not be brown, and no name plate or writing can be on the endpages. Light spine wear/flaking, or minor cover wear is the typical problems with books in this grade. A light reading crease along the spine or very minor corner crease might be present.

Very Good 

The typical used paperback in average condition. A solid copy, although with wear and defects to be expected. Unusual problems will be noted. The book can have very slight browning of pages but not brittleness or flaking; it may also have a small name written on an endpage, or a small nameplate.

Minor peeling of the lamination covering the book can be expected, but extreme peeling will eliminate the book from this grade. A corner crease (1/4" or less) or two can be present, but numerous creases are not allowed in this grade. A light reading crease along the spine is normal for this grade.

 A minor spine roll is allowable, a heavy spine roll is not ailowable in this grade unless noted and the book is a higher grade otherwise. General spine wear can be expected, however, unusually heavy spine wear is not permitted in this grade. The spine should be complete and solid, if not - major problems should be described - such as a split spine. In any case, a spine split should be described to length and should eliminate the book from this grade if it is over 3/4" in length. Tape anywhere on the book is not allowed in this grade. A small pen mark on the cover can be present if noted, but not if large, heavy, or if affecting the eye appeal of the book.

Dampstains prevent the book from being very good plus or higher. One small arrival date is allowable without being noted, but any other writing on the cover should be noted. Sun-fading on the spine or cover should be described, and if significant, should prevent the example from the VG grade. Insect or rodent damage is not allowable in this grade. Price stickers or peel-marks from removal of a price sticker is allowable in the VG grade only when the area affected is small and not a serious detraction from the cover art. No color touchup with colored markers is allowable in this grade.

Good Plus 

A borderline book that is closer to VG than it is to G. The accrual of several of the above mentioned defects should move an otherwise VG book to this grade. Books in this grade are similar in appearance to a VG book, but with heavier or more severe creases, flaking, etc. Minor dampstains are permitted in this grade.


A worn, creased, flaked example. Crumpled and worn corners. Tape, waterstains, writing, brittleness of pages, pieces or chips missing, heavily rolled spine etc., are to be expected in this grade. Typically a reading-copy only, with all pages complete.


The lower grades are separated by degrees of damage. The accumulation of many defects lowers a book from good to reader.