Comparison of some term paper formats sizes based on American Library Association.
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. US Letter is added for comparison. The proportion of leaves of quartos tends to be squarer than that of folios or octavos. 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. There are many variations in how such books were produced. For example, three two-leaf printed sheets might be inserted in a fourth, producing gatherings of eight leaves or sixteen pages each. Similarly, a book printed as an octavo, but bound with gatherings of four leaves each, is called an octavo in 4s. 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. 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. See Further reading for more on imposition schemes. For example, a modern novel may consist of gatherings of sixteen leaves, but term paper formats actually have been printed with sixty-four pages on each side of a very large sheet of paper. Today, octavo and quarto are the most common book sizes, but many books are produced in larger and smaller sizes as well. 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. According to the 2007 Guinness World Records, the largest published book in the world was The Little Prince printed in Brazil in 2007.
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According to the 2012 Guinness World Records, the largest book in the world was This the Prophet Mohamed made in Dubai, UAE. Though larger than The Little Prince, the two hold separate records, as This the Prophet Mohamed was constructed by hand, not published. The smallest book is Teeny Ted from Turnip Town measured 0. During the hand press period, full sheets of 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 depending on the country of manufacture and date.
The size and proportions of a book will thus depend on the size of the original sheet of paper used in producing the book. Because the size of paper used has differed over the years and localities, the sizes of books of the same format will also differ. The words before octavo signify the traditional names for unfolded paper sheet sizes. Other dimensions may exist as well. A common paperback size in the UK is B-format.
For example, Penguin Classics are in B-format, which is 129mm x 198mm. 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.
Folded from B-series standard sheets, yielding 8 more pages than JIS B5. 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. Some publishers’ «Shinsho» dimensions are closer to this size. A-series standard sheets, yielding 16 more pages than A6.
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