Uncut and Unopened Pages

This is post no. 21 of #BlogchatterA2Z.

This includes blogging every day in April for 26 days, except on Sundays. What’s special about it is that every day’s post will be corresponding to each letter of the alphabet. 

My theme for 2021 is Bookish TriviaIf you liked this post, don’t forget to “roll” me on Blogchatter’s website!

All my #BlogchatterA2Z posts 2021 can be found here.

The terms “uncut” and “unopened” pages technically mean different things, but are often used interchangeably.

In this blog post, I’ll briefly explain the difference between the two.

Uncut pages

Uncut pages refers to the pages of a book that have not been trimmed at the ends for rebinding.

(So, “cut” pages have smooth edges.)

This term is sometimes used for books with deckle edges because traditionally, handmade paper had such edges that were then cut off by the bookbinder. Purists consider this incorrect usage.

Uncut pages retain all the text and any later annotations, which get lost when the edges are trimmed or cropped during binding and rebinding. Thus, the margin (and the book size) gets smaller each time a book undergoes binding.

Uncut pages have all of the bibliographical evidence about the production of the book.

Books with untrimmed edges are called “tall copies” to distinguish them from copies printed on large sheets of paper.

Before the mid-19th century, publishers sold books with a temporary paper or cloth binding. Whoever bought the book took it to a bookbinder for cutting the edges and binding suitably, usually in leather.

The term “uncut pages” is often used for books with pages that are still attached to the adjacent page from the top edge or the fore edge. Although this use is common, it is technically not correct.

The right term is “unopened pages,” which I will explain next.

Unopened Pages

Unopened pages
Source: warosu.org

In books with unopened pages, some of the pages are still attached to the adjacent pages.

Traditionally, a large sheet of paper was printed with several pages, then folded and then bound to form a book.

It is recommended that you open an unopened book with the edge of a playing card and not a knife to avoid damaging the book.

For old books with a historical or special significance, unopened books lose some value if their pages are cut open. Thus, they cannot be read unless a digitized copy is available.

Check out this video to see how unopened pages should be cut open:

(Note the use of “uncut” when it should be “unopened.”)


  1. https://manuscriptsandmore.liverpool.ac.uk/?p=4581
  2. https://www.biblio.com/book_collecting_terminology/Uncut-pages-129.html
  3. http://www.mywingsbooks.com/coll-terms/edg02_.shtml
  4. https://www.biblio.com/book_collecting_terminology/unopened-89.html

One response to “Uncut and Unopened Pages”

  1. I never knew there was a correct way to open unopened pages and how important they could be.
    Deepika Sharma

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