octavo/duodecimo problems

Could anyone help me unravel the problem of how books are decided to be labelled octavo, duodecimo and so on? I know how the system works: folio, quarto, octavo, duodecimo and so on, but I found copies of the same book labelled octavo and sedecimo when they were also said to measure 17 cms. I got completely confused as a result. So help will be greatly appreciated.

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  1. Anita

    I cannot answer your question myself but believe that ‘The Printer’s Grammar’ (1755) by John Smith will contain the answers. You can find an edition of this book in the Leiden University Library.

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