Books discarded from library collections are not generally considered collectible. If the ex-library (sometimes abbreviated ex-lib) designation applies, it should always be included in the book's description. (Note that the term ex libris means "from the library of..." and usually denotes a book from a private collection. It does not mean the same thing as ex-library.)

Frequently, books intended for libraries are made up with special bindings suitable for withstanding the heavy usage they are expected to receive. Following are several examples of special library bindings.

Buckram book cloth.

Buckram binding. Buckram book cloth is a heavy, hard-wearing cloth that can be treated to make it scuff resistant and wipeable. It is frequently used for library bindings due to its durability. Both of the books in this photo are bound in buckram cloth. Note the white lettering on the spine, which is frequently used for books in library binding. The brown book had its call number on a label, which has been removed. The gray book has the call number permanently printed on the spine in the same white lettering as the title.

Library bindings, examples.

Other library bindings. In this second set, the book on the left is also buckram cloth with a pictorial cover. Its call number is displayed on a paper label, which could be removed to give the book a better appearance on the shelf. The book on the right was originally a paperback. The paperback covers have been retained and glued to the cloth hardcover binding. Title and call number are permanently stenciled on the spine in the classic white library lettering.

Binders' marks.

Binders' marks. Sometimes specially bound library books will still carry a label with the binder's mark.

Library books with taped jackets.

Taped jackets. Another common way of preparing a book for library circulation involves affixing a label to the jacket, protecting the jacket with a plastic cover, and then taping the protected jacket directly to the covers of the book. Over time, the tape will leave unsightly brown stains on adjacent end papers and it will deface the covers as well, but collectors sometimes purchase such books to acquire a good jacket for use with an otherwise collectible book that has a lost or damaged jacket.