The size of a book is generally measured by the height against the width of a leaf, or sometimes the height and width of its cover.  A series of terms is commonly used by libraries and publishers for the general sizes of modern books, ranging from folio (the largest), to quarto (smaller) and octavo (still smaller). Historically, these terms referred to the format of the book, a technical term used by printers and bibliographers to indicate the size of a leaf in terms of the size of the original sheet. For example, a quarto (from Latin quartō, ablative form of quartus, fourth  ) historically was a book printed on sheets of paper folded in half twice, with the first fold at right angles to the second, to produce 4 leaves (or 8 pages), each leaf one fourth the size of the original sheet printed – note that a leaf refers to the single piece of paper, whereas a page is one side of a leaf. Because the actual format of many modern books cannot be determined from examination of the books, bibliographers may not use these terms in scholarly descriptions.
In the hand press period (up to about 1820) books were manufactured by printing text on both sides of a full sheet of paper and then folding the paper one or more times into a group of leaves or gathering . The binder would sew the gatherings (sometimes also called signatures) through their inner hinges and attached to cords in the spine to form the book block. Before the covers were bound to the book, the block of text pages was sometimes trimmed along the three unbound edges to open the folds of the paper and to produce smooth edges for the book. When the leaves were not trimmed, the reader would have to cut open the leaf edges using a knife.
Books made by printing two pages of text on each side of a sheet of paper, which is then folded once to form two leaves or four pages, are referred to as folios (from Latin, foliō, ablative of folium, leaf  ). Those made by printing four text pages on each side of a sheet of paper and folding the paper twice to form a gathering containing four leaves or eight pages are called quartos (fourths). Similarly, books made by printing eight pages of text on each side of a sheet, which was then folded three times to form gatherings of eight leaves or sixteen pages each, are called octavos . The size of the resulting pages in these cases depends, of course, on the size of the full sheet used to print them and how much the leaves were trimmed before binding, but where the same size paper is used, folios are the largest, followed by quartos and then octavos.  : 80–81 The proportion of leaves of quartos tends to be squarer than that of folios or octavos.  : 164
These various production methods are referred to as the format of the book. These terms are often abbreviated, using 4to for quarto, 8vo for octavo, and so on. The octavo format, with eight leaves per gathering, has half the page size of the quarto format before trimming. Smaller formats include the duodecimo (12mo or twelvemo), with twelve leaves per sheet and pages one-third the size of the quarto format, and the sextodecimo (16mo or sixteenmo), with sixteen leaves per sheet, half the size of the octavo format and one quarter the size of the quarto. The vast majority of books were printed in the folio, quarto, octavo or duodecimo formats.  : 82
There are many variations in how such books were produced. For example, folios were rarely made by simply binding up a group of two leaf gatherings; instead several printed leaf pairs would be inserted within another, to produce a larger gathering of multiple leaves that would be more convenient for binding.  : 30–31 For example, three two-leaf printed sheets might be inserted in a fourth, producing gatherings of eight leaves or sixteen pages each. Bibliographers still refer to such books as folios (and not octavos) because the original full sheets were folded once to produce two leaves, and describe such gatherings as folios in 8s. Similarly, a book printed as an octavo, but bound with gatherings of four leaves each, is called an octavo in 4s.  : 28
In determining the format of a book, bibliographers will study the number of leaves in a gathering, their proportion and sizes and also the arrangement of the chain lines and watermarks in the paper.  : 84–107
In order for the pages to come out in the correct order, the printers would have to properly lay out the pages of type in the printing press. For example, to print two leaves in folio containing pages 1 through 4, the printer would print pages 1 and 4 on one side of the sheet and, after that has dried, print pages 2 and 3 on the other side. If a printer was printing a folio in 8s, as described above, he would have to print pages 1 and 16 on one side of a leaf with pages 2 and 15 on the other side of that leaf, etc. The arrangement of the pages of type in the press is referred to as the imposition and there are a number of methods of imposing pages for the various formats, some of which involve cutting the printed pages before binding.  : 80–110
As printing and paper technology developed, it became possible to produce and to print on much larger sheets or rolls of paper and it may not be apparent (or even possible to determine) from examination of a modern book how the paper was folded to produce them. For example, a modern novel may consist of gatherings of sixteen leaves, but may actually have been printed with sixty-four pages on each side of a very large sheet of paper.  : 429 Similarly, the actual printing format cannot be determined for books that are perfect bound, where every leaf in the book is completely cut out (i.e., not conjugate to another leaf as in gatherings) and is glued into the spine. Modern books are commonly called folio, quarto and octavo based simply on their size rather than the format in which they were actually produced, if that can even be determined. Scholarly bibliographers may describe such books based on the number of leaves in each gathering (eight leaves per gathering forming an octavo), even where the actual number of pages printed on the original sheet is unknown  : 80–81 or may reject the use of these terms for modern books entirely. [note 1]
Today, octavo and quarto are the most common book sizes, but many books are produced in larger and smaller sizes as well. Other terms for book size have developed, an elephant folio being up to 23 inches tall, an atlas folio25 inches, and a double elephant folio50 inches tall.
According to the 2003 Guinness World Records, the largest book in the world was Bhutan: A Visual Odyssey Across the Last Himalayan Kingdom by Michael Hawley. Its size is 1.5 m × 2.1 m (5 ft × 7 ft). 
According to the 2007 Guinness World Records, the largest published book in the world was The Little Prince printed in Brazil in 2007. Its size is 2.01 m × 3.08 m (6 ft 7 in × 10 ft 1 in). 
According to the 2012 Guinness World Records, the largest book in the world was This the Prophet Mohamed made in Dubai, UAE. Its size is 5 m × 8.06 m (16.4 ft × 26.4 ft).  Though larger than The Little Prince, the two hold separate records, as This the Prophet Mohamed was not published.
The smallest book is Teeny Ted from Turnip Town measured 0.07 mm × 0.10 mm (0.0028 in × 0.0039 in). 
The largest surviving medieval manuscript is the Codex Gigas or 'Devil's Manuscript', measured at 92 cm tall by 50 cm wide (36 inches tall by 20 inches wide).
During the hand press period, full sheets of printing paper were manufactured in a great variety of sizes which were given a number of names, such as pot, demy, foolscap, crown, etc.   These were not standardized and the actual sizes varied across countries and times.  : 67–70, 73–75
The size and proportions of a book depend on the size of the original full sheet. If a sheet 19 inches (480 mm) by 25 inches (640 mm) is used to print a quarto, the resulting untrimmed pages, will be approximately half as large in each dimension: width 9+1⁄2 inches (240 mm) and height 12+1⁄2 inches (320 mm). An octavo page, oriented a quarter turn from the full sheet, would have height ½ × 19 = 9+1⁄2 inches (240 mm) and width ¼ × 25 = 6+1⁄4 inches (160 mm). The sizes of books of the same format will differ in proportion to the full sheets used to print them. For example, a typical octavo printed in Italy or France in the 16th century is roughly the size of a modern mass market paperback book, but an English 18th-century octavo is noticeably larger, more like a modern trade paperback or hardcover novel.
The following table is adapted from the scale of the American Library Association,   which uses a basis sheet of 19-by-25-inch (483 by 635 mm)  which is, confusingly if not explained by the source, half the text/book stock sheet of 25-by-38-inch (635 by 965 mm)), and in which size refers to the dimensions of the cover (trimmed pages will be somewhat smaller, often by about 1⁄4 inch or 5 mm  ). The words before octavo signify the traditional names for unfolded paper sheet sizes. Other dimensions may exist as well.   US Trade size corresponds with octavo and is popular for hardbacks. Mass market paperback corresponds with duodecimo.
|Name||Abbreviations||Leaves||Pages||Approximate cover size (width × height)|
|inch × inch||mm × mm|
|folio||2º or fo||2||4||12 × 19||305 × 483|
|quarto||4º or 4to||4||8||9+1⁄2 × 12||241 × 305|
|Imperial octavo||8º or 8vo||8||16||8+1⁄4 × 11+1⁄2||210 × 292|
|Super octavo||7 × 11||178 × 279|
|Royal octavo||6+1⁄4 × 10||159 × 254|
|Medium octavo||6+1⁄2 × 9+1⁄4||165 × 235|
|octavo||6 × 9||152 × 229|
|Crown octavo||5+3⁄8 × 8||137 × 203|
|duodecimo or twelvemo||12º or 12mo||12||24||5 × 7+3⁄8||127 × 187|
|sextodecimo or sixteenmo||16º or 16mo||16||32||4 × 6+3⁄4||102 × 171|
|octodecimo or eighteenmo||18º or 18mo||18||36||4 × 6+1⁄2||102 × 165|
|trigesimo-secundo or thirty-twomo||32º or 32mo||32||64||3+1⁄2 × 5+1⁄2||89 × 140|
|quadragesimo-octavo or forty-eightmo||48º or 48mo||48||96||2+1⁄2 × 4||63.5 × 102|
|sexagesimo-quarto or sixty-fourmo||64º or 64mo||64||128||2 × 3||51 × 76|
A common paperback size in the UK is B-format, which is used, for example, by Penguin Classics. This contrasts with A-format, which is slightly narrower than ISO B6, and C-format. 
|Format||mm × mm||inch × inch||Aspect ratio|
|A||110 × 178||4+3⁄8 × 7||ϕ∶1|
|B||129 × 198||5+1⁄8 × 7+3⁄4||1.53|
|C||135 × 216||5+3⁄8 × 8+1⁄2||8∶5|
Formerly the descriptions octavo, quarto, duodecimo, etc. were used (see table under United States above).
In book construction, Japan uses a mixture of ISO A-series, JIS B-series, and several traditional Japanese paper sizes. A- and B-series signatures are folded from a sheet slightly larger than ISO A1 and JIS B1, respectively, then trimmed to size. The most commonly encountered sizes are listed below.
|Name||Translation||Leaves||Pages||Approximate cover size (width × height)||Notes|
|mm × mm||inch × inch|
|B4判||JIS B4||8||16||257 × 364||10+1⁄8 × 14+1⁄3||Folded from B-series standard sheets (B列本番) measuring 765 mm × 1,085 mm (30.1 in × 42.7 in)|
|A4判||ISO A4||8||16||210 × 297||8+1⁄4 × 11+17⁄24||Folded from A-series standard sheets (A列本番) measuring 625 mm × 880 mm (24.6 in × 34.6 in)|
|AB判||AB||16||32||210 × 257||8+1⁄4 × 10+1⁄8||Has the width of ISO A4 and height of JIS B5|
|B5判||JIS B5||16||32||182 × 257||7+1⁄6 × 10+1⁄8|
|菊判||Kiku ("Chrysanthemum")||16||32||150 × 220||5+11⁄12 × 8+2⁄3||Folded from sheets (also called "kiku") of 636 mm × 939 mm (25.0 in × 37.0 in)|
|A5判||ISO A5||16||32||148 × 210||5+5⁄6 × 8+1⁄4|
|重箱判||Jūbako ("Tiered Box")||20||40||182 × 206||7+1⁄6 × 8+1⁄8||Name refers to squarish shape; |
folded from B-series standard sheets, yielding 8 more pages than JIS B5.
|四六判||Shi-Roku ("4 × 6")||32||64||127 × 188||5 × 7+5⁄12||Name refers to approximate dimensions in sun ; |
folded from sheets of 788 mm × 1,091 mm (31.0 in × 43.0 in)
|B6判||JIS B6||32||64||128 × 182||5+1⁄24 × 7+1⁄6|
|新書判 / B40判||"Shinsho" ("New Book") / "B40"||40||80||103 × 182||4+1⁄24 × 7+1⁄6||Half the size of Jūbako. Folded from B-series standard sheets, yielding 16 more pages than JIS B6. |
An informal, de facto standard, with some variation in finished sizes between publishers.
|小B6判||"Small JIS B6"||32||64||112 × 174||4+5⁄12 × 6+5⁄6||Some publishers' "Shinsho" dimensions are closer to this size.|
|A6判||ISO A6||32||64||105 × 148||4+1⁄8 × 5+5⁄6||Size used for Bunkobon (small-format paperbacks)|
|三五判||San-Go ("3 × 5")||40||80||84 × 148||3+7⁄24 × 5+5⁄6||Name refers to approximate dimensions in sun; |
folded from A-series standard sheets, yielding 16 more pages than A6.
A book is a medium for recording information in the form of writing or images, typically composed of many pages bound together and protected by a cover. The technical term for this physical arrangement is codex. In the history of hand-held physical supports for extended written compositions or records, the codex replaces its predecessor, the scroll. A single sheet in a codex is a leaf and each side of a leaf is a page.
The earliest texts of William Shakespeare's works were published during the 16th and 17th centuries in quarto or folio format. Folios are large, tall volumes; quartos are smaller, roughly half the size. The publications of the latter are usually abbreviated to Q1, Q2, etc., where the letter stands for "quarto" and the number for the first, second, or third edition published.
Paper size standards govern the size of sheets of paper used as writing paper, stationery, cards, and for some printed documents.
Bibliography, as a discipline, is traditionally the academic study of books as physical, cultural objects; in this sense, it is also known as bibliology. English author and bibliographer John Carter describes bibliography as a word having two senses: one, a list of books for further study or of works consulted by an author ; the other one, applicable for collectors, is "the study of books as physical objects" and "the systematic description of books as objects".
The Gutenberg Bible was the earliest major book printed using mass-produced movable metal type in Europe. It marked the start of the "Gutenberg Revolution" and the age of printed books in the West. The book is valued and revered for its high aesthetic and artistic qualities as well as its historical significance. It is an edition of the Latin Vulgate printed in the 1450s by Johannes Gutenberg in Mainz, in present-day Germany. Forty-nine copies have survived. They are thought to be among the world's most valuable books, although no complete copy has been sold since 1978. In March 1455, the future Pope Pius II wrote that he had seen pages from the Gutenberg Bible displayed in Frankfurt to promote the edition, and that either 158 or 180 copies had been printed.
Foolscap folio is paper cut to the size of 8+1⁄2 × 13+1⁄2 in (216 × 343 mm) for printing or to 8 × 13 in (203 × 330 mm) for "normal" writing paper (foolscap). This was a traditional paper size used in some parts of Europe, and the British Commonwealth, before the adoption of the international standard A4 paper; France for instance traditionally used writing/typing paper known as 21-27 until 1967.
Octavo, a Latin word meaning "in eighth" or "for the eighth time", is a technical term describing the format of a book, which refers to the size of leaves produced from folding a full sheet of paper on which multiple pages of text were printed to form the individual sections of a book. An octavo is a book or pamphlet made up of one or more full sheets on which 16 pages of text were printed, which were then folded three times to produce eight leaves. Each leaf of an octavo book thus represents one eighth the size of the original sheet. Other common book formats are folios and quartos. Octavo is also used as a general description of the size of books that are about 8 to 10 inches tall, and as such does not necessarily indicate the actual printing format of the books, which may even be unknown as is the case for many modern books. These terms are discussed in greater detail in book sizes.
Recto is the "right" or "front" side and verso is the "left" or "back" side when text is written or printed on a leaf of paper in a bound item such as a codex, book, broadsheet, or pamphlet.
Mr. William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies is a collection of plays by William Shakespeare, commonly referred to by modern scholars as the First Folio, published in 1623, about seven years after Shakespeare's death. It is considered one of the most influential books ever published.
Books in Japan date from the late 8th century AD with the printing of "Hyakumantō Darani" during the reign of Empress Shōtoku (764-770AD). The majority of books were hand-copied until the Edo period (1603–1867), when woodblock printing became comparatively affordable and widespread. Movable-type printing had been used from the late 16th century, but for various aesthetic and practical reasons woodblock printing and hand-copied remained dominant until much later. Japanese equivalents for "book" include 本 (hon) and 書籍 (shoseki). The former term indicates only bound books, and does not include scrolls. The latter is used for printed matter only. The most general term is 書物 (shomotsu), which means all written or printed matter that has been collected into a single unit, regardless of construction.
Traditional Chinese bookbinding, also called stitched binding, is the method of bookbinding that the Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, and Vietnamese used before adopting the modern codex form.
An exercise book or composition book is a notebook that is used in schools to copy down schoolwork and notes. A student will usually have a different exercise book for each separate lesson or subject.
Continuous stationery (UK) or continuous form paper (US) is paper which is designed for use with dot-matrix and line printers with appropriate paper-feed mechanisms. Other names include fan-fold paper, sprocket-feed paper, burst paper, lineflow, tractor-feed paper, and pin-feed paper. It can be single-ply or multi-ply, often described as multipart stationery or forms. Continuous stationery is often used when the final print medium is less critical in terms of the appearance at the edges, and when continuously connected individual sheets are not inconvenient for the application. Individual sheets can be separated at the perforation, and sheets also have edges with punched holes, which also can be removed at the perforation.
In bookbinding, a section, gathering, or signature is a group of sheets folded in half, to be worked into the binding as a unit.
Quarto is the format of a book or pamphlet produced from full sheets printed with eight pages of text, four to a side, then folded twice to produce four leaves. The leaves are then trimmed along the folds to produce eight book pages. Each printed page presents as one-fourth size of the full sheet.
The term "folio", has three interconnected but distinct meanings in the world of books and printing: first, it is a term for a common method of arranging sheets of paper into book form, folding the sheet only once, and a term for a book made in this way; second, it is a general term for a sheet, leaf or page in (especially) manuscripts and old books; and third, it is an approximate term for the size of a book, and for a book of this size.
Bookbinding is the process of physically assembling a book of codex format from an ordered stack of paper sheets that are folded together into sections called signatures or sometimes left as a stack of individual sheets. Several signatures are then bound together along one edge with a thick needle and sturdy thread. Alternative methods of binding that are cheaper but less permanent include loose-leaf rings, individual screw posts or binding posts, twin loop spine coils, plastic spiral coils, and plastic spine combs. For protection, the bound stack is either wrapped in a flexible cover or attached to stiff boards. Finally, an attractive cover is adhered to the boards, including identifying information and decoration. Book artists or specialists in book decoration can also greatly enhance a book's content by creating book-like objects with artistic merit of exceptional quality.
The Doctrina Christiana was an early book on the catechism of the Catholic Church, written in 1593 by Fray Juan de Plasencia, and is believed to be one of the earliest printed books in the Philippines.
John Baskett (1664/5–1742), was the King's Printer for England. His sons, Thomas and Robert, and grandson by the latter, Mark, were also engaged in the press. By purchasing reversion of the King's Printer position, Baskett kept it in the family for the following generation.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to books:
A number of imposition schemes for different formats may be found in:
Additional tables and discussion of American book formats and sizes may be found in: