The Deckle Edge


If you’re still reading paper books—and more notably, hardbacks—you’ve probably noticed some of the pages look a little rough around the edges.

Two years ago, The Millions published a piece on the “deckle edge,” a byproduct of the paper-making process that causes book pages to appear worn. Prominent until the 1800s, the deckle made its comeback in the 2000s, and over the weekend, The Economist’s science and tech blog Babbage dove head-first into exploring the old-fashioned aesthetic: from its historical beginnings to its current place in bookmaking culture.

Fun fact: the deckle is often confused with the “unopened” page, which was often pried apart using a paper knife. (Please keep in mind that a coffee-stained book with sustained wear-and-tear has nothing to do with either of these processes.)


Rebecca Rubenstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Midnight Breakfast. When not reading books made of paper, she can be found thinking aloud on Twitter. She resides in San Francisco and maintains a healthy relationship with the fog. Rebecca is Interviews Editor Emeritus for The Rumpus. More from this author →