If you read advertisements for books in eighteenth-century journals, you will be struck by the emphasis on the primary material of literature: ‘Printed on the best-quality paper from Angouleme.’ That line of salesmanship would be unthinkable today, when readers rarely notice the quality of the paper in books. In the eighteenth century they often found splotches made by drops from a poorly held deckle or bits of petticoat that had not been properly pulped. Remarks about paper turn up so often in the letters of booksellers—and even a few readers, though the STN [Société typographique de Neuchatel] rarely heard from individual consumers—that I think a peculiar paper consciousness existed in early modern Europe. It must have died out with the advent of machine- made paper from pulped wood in the nineteenth century. But in earlier times people looked at the material substratum of books, not merely at their verbal message. Readers discussed the degrees of whiteness, the texture, and the elasticity of paper. They employed a rich esthetic vocabulary to describe its qualities, much as they do for wine today.