Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Terms to Know: Abbreviations

All industries are full of jargon, gentle readers, and publishing is no exception. To make it doubly confounding, however, many of these oft-repeated jargon-filled phrases are abbreviated or transformed into acronyms, which renders the proverbial (already murky) waters utterly opaque. I present to you, then, a partial list of common publishing abbreviations and acronyms, some of which you may know and others you may find totally foreign. (If you think of any good ones I forgot, please post them in the comments.)

Without further ado—

AAP: American Association of Publishers.

AAR: Association of Authors' Representatives.

ALA: American Library Association.

ARC/ARE: Advance reading copy (or "advance reader's edition"). It's exactly what it sounds like: an early, unfinished copy of a book distributed to reviewers, buyers at accounts, and other people who need to read a book before it goes on sale. It generally has a cover and marketing/publicity information, which distinguishes it from a galley.

BEA: Book Expo America, the premier American trade show for commercial book publishers.

F&G: Folded and gathered sheets, an unbound collection of sample pages from a book used during the sales process. Almost exclusively used for children's books.

FOS: Front-of-store, referring to co-op placement.

HC/CL: Hardcover book.

ISBN: International standard book number.

MM/PB/PPB: Mass market paperback book.

MS: Manuscript (generally unbound).

MSS: ManuscriptS.

MTE/MTI: Movie tie-in edition. A reissue of a book set to coincide with the release of a film based on that book (generally with new cover art taken from the movie).

NDA: Non-disclosure agreement.

OS/OSD: On-sale date.

P&L: Profit-and-loss statement, a measure of a book's overall contribution to the house's revenue (both positive and negative).

POD: Print on demand, a method of printing individual books meant to save cost on and increase availability for titles with print runs too small to succeed under the traditional publishing model.

TP/TR/QP/QPB: Trade paperback book.

TPO: Trade paperback original (i.e. a book initially published as a trade paperback, not as a hardcover).


  1. Thank you. I'm putting MTE/MTI on my wish list.

  2. You forgot UA and SW. Unpublished Author and Starving Writer. There's also GWWARJAWWHGAC. Guy Who Works A Regular Job And Writes Whenever He Gets A Chance.

  3. A must have list every prepubbed (PB) author. I remember reading blogs a few years ago thinking everything looked like a foreign language.

  4. Here's one that came up recently: What does D&A stand for?

  5. Here's a few more:

    TOC = table of contents; EA = editorial error; PE = production error; AA = author error (perhaps only an Old School practice with crazy accountants); CP = critique partner; CV = curriculum vitae; D&A = delivery and acceptance (of manuscript, which is a contractual clause and differs with contracts and houses and does not refer to initial delivery of ms); WIP = Work in Progress; LOL

  6. More useful stuff for authors, especially those about to check page proofs, can be found here:

  7. I agree with Keith a hundred percent on GWWARJAWWHGAC. Just exchange "guy" for "girl" or "gal" and we're in business.

  8. Nice list, and nice additions. Thanks.