Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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Brass or other metal knobs, studs, SHOES , or ornamentation fastened to the cover of a book for ornamental value or to prevent the leather from being scratched or otherwise marred. Bosses originally were attached to books that were meant to lie on a lectern and not stand on bookshelves. Not all books were provided with them, and they were more common in Germany than elsewhere. There was usually one boss at each corner of both covers and another in the middle of each cover, or ten in all, although the center bosses were sometimes left off. It is commonly assumed that the use of bosses declined with the advent of printing from movable metal type, the proliferation of books, and vertical shelving in cupboards and book stacks. In addition, the relative increase in the use of pasteboard instead of wooden boards also reduced the use of bosses, although in Germany, where wooden boards were still common in the 16th century, they continued to be used more often than elsewhere. Today, books with bosses are frequently kept in boxes so as to prevent damage to adjacent books on the shelves. See also: ROLLER SHOES . See PLATE 1. (69 , 83 , 236 )

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