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Dear book folk
   A question for those of you more knowing in the area of printing
history than I:   When and why did the practice of printing skinny
gatherings arise?
That is to say, printing thick books in gatherings of bifolia (or what ever
you want to call them-4 leaves, 8 pages).  The example before me is an
English printed book (London, 1668) nearly 1000 pages, in skinny
gatherings, good but thin paper, with the folds virtually destroyed by the
deterioration of the spine (bad leather+over-cooked animal glue).  It will
take me forever to mend the thing, longer to sew it, and I hate sewing up.
Given the number of gatherings the printer has cursed me with,  I don't
think I'd have much choice even if I didn't have to mend folds.  So why was
the format so common?
  Dorothy Africa

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