Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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block book

A book printed from cut blocks of wood. Although it is presumed that block books preceded the invention of printing from movable metal type, most of the extant examples of block books are from the period 1460 to 1480, i.e., subsequent to printing from metal types. Each block was cut for an entire page, and, in the earliest examples, each leaf was printed only on one side, usually with a thin, brownish ink. The spread of printing virtually eliminated the demand for this type of book but they continued to be printed until at least the end of the 15th century. These later examples were printed on both sides of the leaf with ordinary printing ink. Block books are essentially picture books, sometimes with a small amount of text, also cut in wood. (69 , 140 , 156 )

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