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Ask a Silly Question

July 28, 1999

In the front of books, sometimes, you see a row of numbers like 12345678910. Sometimes they go backwards. What do they mean?

That row of numbers is the print line, which indicates how many times the book has gone to press or been ordered, according to the Regional Printing Institute near Martinsburg, W.Va.

Each time the book goes back to press a number is blocked out. For example, if the book was printed during the second press run the row would say 2345678910, according to Anne Deardorff with the institute.

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