Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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basis weight

The actual weight of a ream of paper (normally 500 sheets, but at times 480 or 516), cut to its BASIC SIZE . The standard, or basic, size ream varies with different grades of paper. Some papers and boards are produced to a specified caliper (thickness), rather than to a specific weight; an example of this is heavy cover paper. The United States Government Printing Office uses a unit of 1,000 sheets, which is also used in the M.M. SYSTEM . In most foreign countries, as well as in certain domestic test procedures, the standard size is a square meter, with the weight being expressed in grams per square meter. The basis weight of board is commonly expressed in pounds per 1,000 square feet. Book paper basis weights are based on the 25 by 38 inch sheet size, while cover paper weights are calculated on a size of 20 by 26 inches. (17 , 72 , 334 )

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