Grading the condition of a book is subjective, but there are certain parameters within each condition. All defects are noted in each book's listing but the following is to give you a general feel for each grade and the standards we use to arrive at our decision.
You may have seen grades like Very Good+(plus), or Fine- (minus). Or, even worse, Good+++++. What nonsense. There's an old New England Zen saying: 'It is as it is, and it ain't no iser.' A book is either a certain grade or it is not, so don't look for plus or minus signs in any of our listings.
FINELooks like it just rolled off the printing press and has never been touched by human hands, let alone read. Because we are fanatics about finding defects, very few of our books attain this grade.
NEAR FINE (NF)May have been read once, but generally appears unread. The jacket may have a tiny scratch or a small flap crease, but there are no major defects.
VERY GOOD (VG)A notch down from Near Fine, the book shows signs of having been read. There might be light edge soil or foxing, ownership marks, or edge wear in the case of a Trade Paperback or Mass Market Paperback. In older books, the corners might have small bumps or light cover wear. The jacket has some shelf wear, light wrinkling, or price-clipping.
GOOD (G)A typical used book, with more pronounced cosmetic defects: shelf wear, browned pages, edge soil; probably leans a bit. Jacket defects are also more pronounced, with chips and larger tears, sun-darkening or fading, soiling.
POOR/FAIRWe won't list a book in this condition. This is for dust jackets only. Sometimes a book may be graded Very Good or Good, but the jacket is a mess with missing panels, large chips and tears, and is useful only for the information it provides.