Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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convex covers

Book covers that are convex in shape because the book is thicker in the middle than at the spine and fore edge. Very old books sometimes had covers that were made convex intentionally, apparently in the belief that they could hold and support the leaves better by conforming to the shape of the text block. The text block was curved because the early printers produced books that were somewhat swollen in the middle, the swelling being due to the sheets being dampened before printing so as to obtain a better impression. This resulted in the fibers of the paper in the center part of the sheet being stretched and separated by the force of the type. The fibers did not return to their original conformation following printing, resulting in a slight additional thickness of the paper in the print area.

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