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  • Author or Editor: Judith Olszowy-Schlanger x
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Cheap books produced and read by medieval Jews in the East have been little studied so far. The main source for the study of Hebrew book culture in general and popular and cheap books in particular is the Cairo Geniza. Only a few documents contain explicit information about the books’ costs of production and prices. However, as it is argued in this paper, additional information can be deduced from the extant book fragments themselves. Taking as an example fragments of rotuli or bookrolls from the Cairo Geniza, this paper examines the ways of making cheaper books by reducing the cost of wriitng material and of the scribe’s working time.

In: Intellectual History of the Islamicate World
New Discoveries in Old Book Bindings. European Genizah Texts and Studies Volume 2
Books within Books presents some recent findings and research projects on the fragments of medieval Hebrew manuscripts discovered in the bindings of other manuscripts and early printed books across Europe. This is the second collection of interdisciplinary articles on Hebrew binding fragments presenting current scholarship and its international scope.

From the contemporary perspective, the fragments of medieval Hebrew manuscripts preserved until today, through their numbers (estimated 30,000 fragments, so more than double of the number of the known Hebrew volumes produced in medieval Europe ), the texts they carry (some of them have been previously unknown), the insights into book making techniques and finally their economic impact, are an unprecedented source for our knowledge of the Hebrew book culture and literacy as well as the economic and intellectual exchanges between the Jewish minority and their non-Jewish neighbours.