Bookbinding. The art and business of bookbinding began with the protection of parchment manuscripts with boards. Papyrus had originally been produced in rolls, but sheets of parchment came to be folded and fastened together with sewing by the 2d cent. A.D. In the Middle Ages the practice of making fine bindings for these sewn volumes rose to great heights; books were rare and precious articles, and many were treated with exquisite bindings: they were gilded, jeweled, fashioned of ivory, wood, leather, or brass. The technique of folding and sewing together sheets in small lots, combining those lots with tapes, and sewing and fastening boards on the outside as protection changed but little from the medieval monastery to the modern book bindery.