Vintage Book Conditioning Guidelines

Since one of the missions of Blackbird Cookbooks is to highlight a wide breadth of interesting and notable cookbooks, Southern cookbooks, and community cookbooks, we are often searching for and buying vintage cookbooks.  As such, we thought we would share the guidelines we use for determining the condition of the books that cross our path.  

Please note that conditioning rare or collectible items can be flexible in some circumstances, such as when a book is of a particular age, notoriety, or scarcity. For instance, books from the 1800s and older are allowed more foxing and other defects due to age.  In any case, we will do our best to provide an accurate description of the logic we used in conditioning and pricing our books.  And we are always happy to provide any additional photo or information customers request.

Blackbird Cookbooks Book Condition Guidelines


These are easy!  Unread/unused book purchased directly from suppliers or publishing houses.  Customers can expect clean text, perfect dust jackets (when applicable), and all supplemental materials to be included.

Fine/Like New

Book may have been read. Books look new and have no defects, pages are clean and have no marks, marginalia, stains, splatters, or inscriptions.  Can be signed by the author or display remainder marks.

Near Fine
Clean, with no defects (same as above), but may show slight wear at edges of book or dust jacket.  Book can be signed by author, but not inscribed by the previous owner. 

Very Good
Shows signs of wear but binding is tight and pages are not loose. May have minor defects: clipped or chipped dust jacket; owner’s inscription; minor foxing or bumping/moisture damage.  Light marginalia is acceptable, such as cook's notes, or recipe checkmarks. Minimal dog earring is present.

May have any of the defects above to a greater degree, including marginalia, cook's notes, dog ears, or loose bindings. Light staining may be present, but not significant and does not impact text display. Rare and collectible books may have cocked spine, cracked hinges, water stains; torn or repaired dust jacket.

May be very worn, soiled, torn, or barely holding together. Blackbird Cookbooks generally will not place these items for sale unless there is a compelling reason to do so, such as a text that is both historically significant and scarce.

May have extensive damage from moisture or insects; detached boards; parts may be missing; generally not sold unless very, very unusual.


Last updated: Dec 15 2021