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Books have taken other forms, such as scrolls, leaves on a string, or strips tied together; and the pages have been of parchment, vellum, papyrus, bamboo slips, palm leaves, silk, wood, and other materials.

The contents of books are also called books, as are other compositions of that length.

Clay tablets were flattened and mostly dry pieces of clay that could be easily carried, and impressed with a stylus.

They were used as a writing medium, especially for writing in cuneiform, throughout the Bronze Age and well into the Iron Age.

It is called codex by way of metaphor from the trunks (codex) of trees or vines, as if it were a wooden stock, because it contains in itself a multitude of books, as it were of branches." Modern usage differs.

A codex (in modern usage) is the first information repository that modern people would recognize as a "book": leaves of uniform size bound in some manner along one edge, and typically held between two covers made of some more robust material.

In addition, some metal books were made, that required smaller pages of metal, instead of an impossibly long, unbending scroll of metal. Parchment is a material made from processed animal skin and used—mainly in the past—for writing on.

A book can also be easily stored in more compact places, or side by side in a tight library or shelf space. Parchment is most commonly made of calfskin, sheepskin, or goatskin.

They were the normal writing material in schools, in accounting, and for taking notes.A shop where books are bought and sold is a bookshop or bookstore. It is thus conjectured that the earliest Indo-European writings may have been carved on beech wood.A tablet is a physically robust writing medium, suitable for casual transport and writing.Scrolls can be made from papyrus, a thick paper-like material made by weaving the stems of the papyrus plant, then pounding the woven sheet with a hammer-like tool until it is flattened.Papyrus was used for writing in Ancient Egypt, perhaps as early as the First Dynasty, although the first evidence is from the account books of King Nefertiti Kakai of the Fifth Dynasty (about 2400 BC).

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