/What does it mean if a book is uncut?
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What does it mean if a book is uncut?

I am often asked about the meaning of the term “uncut.” It is listed in the catalog record, so I have to have an answer. In the past I have given the following answer: Many older books have been rebound and in the process the pages have been trimmed. The term “uncut” refers to a book that has not been trimmed and the pages still have their full, original size.

This is a term used by collectors. Some collectors are very specific about which books meet their criteria for uncut. Others use the term loosely. Some collectors are not so interested in original size, but in the age of the book. Such collectors would not be interested in a modern book that has not been trimmed. They might be interested in an older copy that has been rebound, even if it has been trimmed. I would say that a book that has been uncut is one that has not been trimmed and has its original size. I have since been thinking about this definition, and it is not quite right. A book could be trimmed, but still be uncut. The trimming might have been done recently and still be uncut.

Or, the trimming might have been done in an earlier rebinding and still be uncut. Also, a book could be uncut, but not trimmed. The pages are still uncut, but the binding is poor and the pages are falling out. So, here is my new definition: A book is uncut if the pages are still uncut. A book could be uncut and still have the original pages (original size), or the pages could be trimmed and still be uncut. There are many ways to talk about the extent to which books have been trimmed.

The term “uncut” is one of them. It is a term that has been adopted by collectors. The definition and usage of the term are not set in stone, and I am sure they will continue to evolve. Perhaps what we really need is a new term to distinguish between the different ways that books have been trimmed.

Until then, “uncut” is a good way to describe a book that has not been trimmed to modern standards. The term “uncut” is a good answer to the question, “What does it mean if a book is uncut?” I am often asked about the meaning of the term “uncut.” It is listed in the catalog record, so I have to have an answer. Many older books have been rebound and in the process the pages have been trimmed.

The term “uncut” refers to a book that has not been trimmed and the pages still have their full, original size. This is a term used by collectors. Some collectors are very specific about which books meet their criteria for uncut.

Others use the term loosely. Some collectors are not so interested in original size, but in the age of the book. Such collectors would not be interested in a modern book that has not been trimmed. They might be interested in an older copy that has been rebound, even if it has been trimmed. I would say that a book that has been uncut is one that has not been trimmed and has its original size. I have since been thinking about this definition, and it is not quite right.

A book could be trimmed, but still be uncut. The trimming might have been done recently and still be uncut. Or, the trimming might have been done in an earlier rebinding and still be uncut. Also, a book could be uncut, but not trimmed. The pages are still uncut, but the binding is poor and the pages are falling out. So, here is my new definition: A book is uncut if the pages are still uncut. A book could be uncut and still have the original pages (original size), or the pages could be trimmed and still be uncut.

There are many ways to talk about the extent to which books have been trimmed. The term “uncut” is one of them. The definition and usage of the term are not set in stone, and I am sure they will continue to evolve. Perhaps what we really need is a new term to distinguish between the different ways that books have been trimmed. Until then, “uncut” is a good way to describe a book that has not been trimmed to modern standards.