A few days ago

Why and in what year did a ream change from 512 to 500 sheets?

It was 512 in 1958; it’s 500 today. What happened?

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A few days ago

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A ream of paper is a quantity of sheets of the same size and quality. Formerly it was 480 sheets, 20 quires, for common sizes such as letter-size paper (8½ in.×11 in.). A printer’s ream was 516 sheets, perhaps to allow for wastage. As part of international standardization, this quantity was changed to 500 sheets. The old value of 480 sheets is now known as a short ream. Sorry, I don’t know which exact year that happened.

A few days ago
Are you sure about the 512 sheets in 1958?

ream (rm)

a traditional unit of quantity used for counting sheets of paper. The word is thought to be derived from the Arabic rizmah, meaning a bundle. A ream is equal to 20 quires, which would be 480 sheets with the traditional definition of a quire as 24 sheets. In recent years, however, the ream has been redefined to equal 500 sheets. (Working backwards, this changes the definition of a quire from 24 to 25 sheets.) The new definition reflects the current practice of marketing many kinds of paper in packages of 500 sheets. The older size of 480 sheets is now called a short ream.

Not sure when the 480 -> 500 switch occurred.


A few days ago
512 makes me think of bytes…

perhaps something to do when computers came around? I know a gigabyte refers to 1000 MB when in reality it’s 1024…

perhaps paper has become so expensive that in order to keep giving consumers a “ream” of paper for the same price, they did the math and reduce it by twelve sheets.. to save billions of dollars? hehe?

I give up!