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Books Series

Imperial Octavo

Imperial Octavo

Imperial Octavo, a term steeped in the rich history of bookmaking, refers to a paper size that is approximately 11 x 7.5 inches. This format, often used in the production of books and manuscripts, offers an ideal balance between readability and portability.

While not part of any ISO or ANSI series, Imperial Octavo holds its own unique place in the world of paper sizes. Its origins can be traced back to the time when sheets were manually folded into eight leaves or sixteen pages - hence the term 'Octavo'. This process resulted in a final product that was one-eighth the size of the original sheet.

Imperial Octavo paper dimensions


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2A046.81 x 66.221189 x 1682119 x 1683370 x 4768
A120.51 x 0.7113 x 181 x 237 x 51
4A066.22 x 93.621682 x 2378168 x 2384768 x 6741
A110.71 x 1.0218 x 262 x 351 x 74
A101.02 x 1.4626 x 373 x 474 x 105
A3+12.95 x 19.02329 x 48333 x 48933 x 1369
A1+23.98 x 35.98609 x 91461 x 911726 x 2591
A0+35.98 x 50.87914 x 129291 x 1292591 x 3662
A64.13 x 5.83105 x 14811 x 15298 x 420
A55.83 x 8.27148 x 21015 x 21420 x 595
A48.27 x 11.69210 x 29721 x 30595 x 842
A311.69 x 16.54297 x 42030 x 42842 x 1191
A91.46 x 2.0537 x 524 x 5105 x 147
A216.54 x 23.39420 x 59442 x 591191 x 1684
A82.05 x 2.9152 x 745 x 7147 x 210
A123.39 x 33.11594 x 84159 x 841684 x 2384
A72.91 x 4.1374 x 1057 x 11210 x 298
A033.11 x 46.81841 x 118984 x 1192384 x 3370

The Imperial Octavo's dimensions make it particularly suited for creating compact yet legible printed materials. It's large enough to accommodate detailed illustrations and text layouts without compromising on clarity or readability.

Interestingly, many classic literary works have been published using this format due to its practicality and aesthetic appeal. The tactile experience it provides - holding an Imperial Octavo book in your hands - adds another layer of enjoyment to reading.

While it may not conform to modern standardizations like ISO or ANSI series, Imperial Octavo continues to hold its ground as a preferred choice for publishers who value tradition and elegance alongside functionality.

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Interesting facts about Imperial Octavo

1: Origin of Imperial Octavo

Imperial Octavo paper is a type of paper size that originated in England during the 19th century. It was commonly used for printing books, particularly novels and poetry collections.

2: Dimensions of Imperial Octavo

The dimensions of Imperial Octavo paper are approximately 6.5 x 10 inches (165 x 254 mm). It is slightly larger than the standard octavo size, providing more space for text and illustrations.

3: Relationship to British Royal paper

The Imperial Octavo size is derived from the British Royal paper size, which measures approximately 20 x 25 inches (508 x 635 mm). The British Royal sheet can be folded into eight equal parts to create eight leaves of Imperial Octavo size.

4: Popular among Victorian publishers

During the Victorian era, many publishers in England preferred using Imperial Octavo paper for their publications. Its compact yet readable format made it ideal for producing affordable books that could reach a wider audience.

5: Commonly used by Charles Dickens

Famous English author Charles Dickens often insisted on having his novels printed on Imperial Octavo paper. His works, such as "Great Expectations" and "A Tale of Two Cities," were widely published in this format.

6: Transition to metric sizes

In the late 20th century, with the adoption of metric measurements in many countries, including England, traditional imperial sizes like Imperial Octavo gradually fell out of use. They were replaced by standardized metric sizes such as A5 (148 x210 mm).

7: Legacy in bookbinding

Despite its decline in popularity, Imperial Octavo paper size still holds significance in the world of bookbinding. Many antique books and special editions from the Victorian era can be found in this format, showcasing its historical importance.

8: Influence on modern paperback books

The compact size and portability of Imperial Octavo paper had a significant influence on the development of modern paperback books. The desire to create affordable and easily transportable novels can be traced back to this format.

9: Variations across countries

While Imperial Octavo is primarily associated with British publishing, variations of similar sizes exist in other countries. For example, France had a similar format called "In-8" (In-Octavo), which was widely used for literary works.

10: Collectible value

Due to its historical significance and association with renowned authors like Charles Dickens, books printed on Imperial Octavo paper often hold collectible value among book enthusiasts and collectors.