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New arrivals and events

In the last month a fair amount of titles involving women’s history have arrived into stock. They are steadily being placed on on our page.  Please drop on by and see what is new there.


If you will be in the Tallahassee area and want to see what has not been placed online yet, please feel free to contact me via this site and set up an appointment.

I will also have a table of design, and craft books at the Last Friday at Industrial Plaza event on January 31 from 5pm to 8 pm.  Hosted by

I hope to see you then.

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A Brf Hist o Abbrev. (A brief history of abbreviations)

Used book dealers tend to use unusual terms in the descriptions of their wares. There are many reasons for this “code” but the main one is that booksellers do not, as a rule, make a lot of money. Up until the advent of the internet, if one wanted to sell books outside of easy traveling distance there were two choices.

1: Hire a book scout: someone with a list who knows how to determine the condition of the book and will find and deliver it for a fee.

2: Place an advert in an industry newsletter or magazine.

The first option was normally used for general items that were needed all of the time. For example if a resort wants “beach reads” a scout will be sent out to find the titles that fit the category in the fall and deliver them by end of winter. The scout will be reimbursed for the titles and given a set finder’s fee. If one is utilizing many scouts, there is a massive issue of duplication and the scouts could be buying books that the resort might not want. This will lead to a glutting in the market of some titles/subjects in local resale shops as the scout must get some money from them. Another issue is that the scouts are only being paid a small finders fee. Thus they tend to search near their homes or while on personal trips. Which will result in a gleaning of the area.

This is why most stores or buyers (like resorts, libraries or offices etc) would utilize scouts from different regions or would go on costly book buying trips themselves.

The second option is to place an advert in an industry newsletter or magazine. Of course they would also place one in the local classified pages, if they wanted whole collections of mass media books (like romance or Clancy), but for anything specialized they went to the industry papers.

Thing is, unlike a craigslist ad (which booksellers use today), you have to pay for a classified advert. Usually by the letter, font size and the frequency it is being placed. So if it costs $10 for an advert to be placed twice a week at 2 cent per letter it might not sound like much. But is it?

Here is an example.

My latest arrival is a book by Irene Claremont de Castillejo titled Knowing Woman: A Feminine Psychology. This is a paperback, printed by Harper & Row Colophone Books in 1974. I would like a first or second edition, with limited wear & tear and no writing or owners marks in the interior.

Seems simple. Now lets take the important information out of that and place it into an advert form.


Irene Claremont de Castillejo

Knowing Woman: A Feminine Psychology.

Harper & Row Colophone Books 1974

1st edition or 2nd edition only

No interior writing or exterior damage.

Contact: E. Campbell @ 555-111-2222

33 words, 215 characters.

$4.30 for this one book, extra for the larger bolded font in the word Wanted. 172 characters without the header and the contact information. So if there are more books to be listed the cost for this one is already at 3.44$ Thus an advert for a lot of specific titles will probably cost more than the bookseller could sell them for.

After all we do have to eat.

So things got shortened.


I. Claremont de Castillejo

Knowing Woman: A Fem. Psy.

HarperRow Colophone 1974

½ ed o

cl. int/ext

Contact: E. Campbell @ 555-111-2222

94 characters and $1.88

It can be shortened even more.


I. Claremont de Castillejo

Knowing *

HarperRow 1974

½ ed


Contact: E. Campbell @ 555-111-2222

58 characters and $1.16. Which means that the bookseller can triple or quadruple the price, pay for the advert, get enough to cover the price of the title and still keep the cost down so that it will be bought. The * refers to any book by the author with the previous word being first in the title.  The * after the author’s name would mean that any book by that author & publisher  is needed.

Of course when one is dealing with antiquities and the issues the befall them, along with the variants involved ( it is leather bound, but cow is different from swine and ages differently depending on the dye used, and the process used to cure it.) a set code of terms or a sub language was needed. (Sub language is defined as a specialized language or jargon associated with a specific group or context. While slang is a type of language that consists of words and phrases that are regarded as very informal, are more common in speech than writing). This was started with the booksellers and was gradually picked up by the publishers. It used to be country specific and also genre specific, but over the decades it has developed in to a general system that allows the reader to understand the condition of a title without a visual image.

This sub language is easy to understand once it is explained. Sort of like text speak. In another post I will list the various words and their meanings. This way you, the reader, and hopefully the buyer, will understand what the heck we are saying during the description, so that the end result is a book you want to have on your shelf.

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Problems with this site/my computer and other items

I have received a large collection of religious themed book and am attempting to move them as a bulk sale on ebay.  I am working on finding a local (Tallahassee Fl) location to sell my books in a brick and motor store. I ave been also setting up a temporary sale site.

This has all been hampered by my computer being too old to host most sites. More items will be posted soon.

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I have been attempting to get a sale space set up for a private sale. This involves a multitude of boxes, shelving and organization.

More books are being posted on the Abe website.

Also trying to post photos.

In addition more blogs will be coming weekly.

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Dust covers or Dust jackets are the paper or waxed paper coverings on a hardcover book that shows a synopses and an artwork somewhat relevant to the interior. Depending on the era, D.J. art could be designed by an up and  coming artist. If that artist became popular, then that DJ, regardless of the book, can be very expensive.  Some of the artists become popular for DJ art alone and are seen on every book in a gendre for an era. A good example of this is Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell. If these names don’t ring a bell check out the link ( ) and you will see examples of the art that graced science fiction and fantasy covers from the 1970s-1990s.  First editions of books with this art art a boon for collectors.

Sometimes publishers will reissue novels with different artists. When this is done with multi volume series, people can become frantic to obtain matching cover art.

Another thing that collectors look for on Dustcovers are mistakes. The most common of these are misspellings of the title or a type face that doesn’t match the size of the covers. But sometimes there are more drastic  changes. For example a recent book in the Valdemar series  by Mercedes Lackey contains a synopsis of a plot for a book which never got written. One can assume it was for an earlier draft of the novel. This print run was cancelled and new covers were printed.  The old ones are to be discarded and destroyed, but in a few years they will be resurfacing.

Are there a real tangible value to these? Possibly, but the whole idea here is to pay attention to the covers. Enjoy the art, the skill it takes to design them and see what the artist has created else where.


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Tallahassee Pagan Pride Day was a great introduction to the local community. No other events are pre planned as of yet, but in the works is a personal viewing day at out “shop” during the holiday season.  Be on the lookout for us at other Holiday events.

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Lexile Scores and Reading Levels

If you are looking at children’s books for school you might notice a Lexile Number at the back. “A Lexile measure is a valuable tool for teachers, parents, and students. … The higher the Lexile measure, the higher the student’s reading level. The reader’s Lexile Framework works in intervals of five with 5L being the lowest. The highest possible measure is 2000L.”

But what exactly does that mean? What is a good score for a grade level?

The thing is, Lexiles measure a book’s complexity by a painfully literal algorithm of sentence length, word choice, and syntax.

To be fair, it’s only meant to be a rough guideline rather than some iron-clad dictum or curriculum. And any teacher knows that a work can have a low Lexile difficulty while being thematically unsuitable for younger readers. But still. How can Hemingway be lower than Mr. Poppers Penguins?

What are your thoughts on this? Should the complexity of the subject matter mean more than the vocabulary?

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Weather and your books

Now that the weather is becoming more extreme the question that comes to mind, after how am I to survive  is how will my collections be safe?

The more droll among us would say that not living in a place where there is extreme weather would be good, but let’s face it. Extreme weather can and will happen anywhere.

There are two things that can be done and must be completed before the evacuation orders are sent out.

1: Keep a list of your items, with photos on a drive for insurance purposes 

 You will never get the true value of the items back from your insurance, but it will help. Also it is a good way of proving what you had, what you need to get again and what condition it was in so that it can be fixed. Update this list when ever you buy something new or every month so that it is up to date. Keeping a record of where you got the items will help as well. Please remember to keep the drive in a weather safe (fire safe) that can be taken with you.  Do not keep in a bank vault.  Why? Well if a flood and storm destroys your home, how secure is the local bank’s vault?They may be burglar proof, but water? The link below tells the story of how one bank had to deal with the contents of the vault after Katrina. 

15. Moldy money vault

2: Get containers. 

Okay this sounds simple. Put your collections in to containers.  But here at Unique Editions Reads we have over 4,000 titles.  Packing these items will take hours. And sometimes you don’t have hours. Sometimes you don’t have enough container or even the correct ones.

So what can you do?

Height. First off if you have your collection in a storage unit get some pallets. I prefer wood, (eco friendly, recyclable) but plastic ones don’t rot. Line the bottom of your storage unit with them Two to three levels high if you can. Most flooding is between 6 inches and  2 feet. Keeping things high enough will prevent them from being soaked.

If you have your collection in your home, put them on a higher secure surface, like in taped cabinets or on a strong steady table.

Look for square containers of equal proportions that have a seal to the, Think about how your food containers are made. Some boxes are sold as weather tight, like the Iris brand. Pick a size that you can lift when full, and get enough for your complete collection for ease of stacking. Also when stacking remember books are heavy. If you are stacking the containers be mindful of the weight. Too heavy and the lids will be crushed. It is good to have a few pieces of wood or drywall to put between layers to distribute the weight.

If possible put each book into a ziploc bag and remove the air. If not get a sheet of plastic and wrap them like a gift and put them in.

Remember to number the boxes and list the items inside. Put this on the interior and exterior of the box and also a copy on the drive.

Damp/Mold Proofing

With paper, this is the main issue. Unless you turn all of your books into “bath books” or typed on waterproof plastic. Weather conditions will cause decay.

Silica Gel can be bought in bulk from art supply shops or you can just save all the little packs that come in various food packages. These will help with the humidity and mold issues while things are being stored.  Mylar envelopes can hold smaller books and prints.


What can be done after the storms and your collection is wet? Well the professionals at River Campus Libraries have some good ideas. Some are very expensive, but for the layperson the following will help. .

Air-drying: Fewer than 500 non-coated paper books with non‑water soluble components.

  • Cover drying surface with plastic sheeting & absorbent paper (e.g. unprinted newsprint), as needed.
  • Open book to a shallow angle & interleave approximately every 20 pages with paper towels. Begin by laying the book flat & interleaving at the front of the book, allowing the work surface to support the main weight. When interleaving has reached the approximate center of the textblock, turn the book over and start interleaving from the back.
  • The book may be left flat until paper towels have absorbed some of the water, about one hour.
  • Stand book on end (head or tail), slightly fanned.
  • Change paper beneath the books and interleaving periodically until the book is only “damp”, and then proceed to #3.
  • Keep air circulating by using fans. Do not aim fans directly at the wet materials.


  • Cover drying surface with plastic sheeting & absorbent paper (e.g. unprinted newsprint).
  • Stand damp books on head or tail, slightly fanned. If the cover is damper than the text, place absorbent paper between the boards and book, change them as needed.
  • Use fans to circulate air to dry the books completely.

You can read their article on this subject here.

As for the smell Baking soda is the best. Put some on flat plates all around the storage unit or room and they will absorb the moisture. Also some sprinkled on the books will get rid of the musty smell. Best of all, it brushes right off and the baking soda can be put in your compost or on your garden.

There are no fool proof ways to do this. And better materials are out there and will be produced. The best thing is to do what you can so that your collection and you survive.

Best of luck in the storm seasons.



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Reading Lists: Are they important?

Oprah’s, The New York Times Bestsellers, Calcott, Calvert’s, Newberry, and every school in the US have them, along with every library system. You can find them for picture books, religious groups and nearly every sub group out there. But are they really necessary? Why do we have reading lists? They are intended to showcase certain ideals or stories, but most people, I have discovered, tend to use them as a way to avoid certain books.

What are your ideas?