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  • Before books were read and stored in their current form, they were actually used in the form of scrolls. The scrolls were pieces of papyrus pounded together. You would hold one section in your left hand, read the open section, then rollout further the section in your right hand to continue reading.


  • A scroll was called volumen in Latin, which comes from the verb “to roll.” It’s also where we get our word “volume,” even though our books no longer retain that shape.


  • Groups of scrolls were often stored in containers similar to hat boxes.


  • Each scroll would have a little descriptive tag hanging from the end of it to identify what the scroll was.


  • The format we’ve come to expect in books developed about the 2nd century CE: the codex.


  • Codex is the Latin word for “tree trunk”—this format was so named because…

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