Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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black step

A heavy line, 6 points thick and about 24 points long, which appears on the back of a folded section of a book after the printed sheet is folded. The collective black steps run from the head to the tail of the gathered sections, generally about 24 points below each other. When the book is gathered the black steps appear as a diagonal line running from head to tail across the back of the text block, and any missing or misplaced section immediately becomes obvious because the black step is broken. Also called "back mark," "collating mark," and "quad mark." (156 )

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