written, printed, illustrated, or blank
paper, parchment, or other material sheet set or collection
fastened together by side hinge


The use of the liber, or inner bark, of trees among the ancients is well known. In the Philosophical Transactions Sir John Clerk says:

"The most ancient sort of charta (or paper) was of the inner bark of tree, called liber in Latin, whence a book had the name of liber ; but very little of this sort is now in being."

Hence the term leaf was first applied to paper, from leaves, especially of palms, formerly used for writing on. Thus we as familiarly speak of the leaf of a book as the leaf of a tree.1

- single sheet within a book
- side of a leaf = page


In the beginning of the art of printing, its results were comparatively very rude. The type used was intended to imitate writing, and partook of the character of gothic and script. In punctuating, they employed no marks at first other than the period and colon; an oblique stroke was afterwards introduced, and fulfilled the purpose of our comma. Pages had neither running title nor number. The divisions of words and sentences were very imperfect, and the language was not divided into paragraphs. Capital letters were not used to commence a sentence, nor in proper names. No rules seem to have regulated their orthography, which was entirely without method, and their abbreviations were so numerous as to cause the necessity, in time, of publishing a book, by the directions in which they could be read. But one kind of letter was used throughout. A space was left at the beginning of chapters for the illuminator, who wrote in various colored ink the initial letter.

The early works were often elaborately ornamented, and very costly, being embellished with flowers and figures, and sometimes variegated with gold and silver. The first presses were fashioned after the common wine-press. For a short time the paper was printed on but one side, the blank sides being pasted together. The only forms of books were the folio and quarto. Two or three hundred copies were then considered a large edition. Dates were often omitted, and the name of the printer, when given, was placed at the end of the book

Electronic format

- electronic book
- e-book

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