From Multilingual Bookbinding Dictionary
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During the years before edition binding and publisher’s cloth – the whole period, that is, between Johann Gutenberg, 1450, and William Pickering, 1823 – books were normally issued to the public, across the counter, in alternative dress and at alternative prices; unbound, in folded quires (latterly stitched and with the intentionally temporary protection of wrappers or paper-covered boards) for binding to the purchaser’s taste, at his order and expense, as on the Continent to this day, or at a higher price in some usually simple binding put on by or for the bookseller.  +
Tying up, which represented the first effort to mold the leather around the raised bands, was first used in the early 13th century. The technique seems to coincide more or less with the first use of the groove method of attaching boards. Virtually all books sewn on raised cords were "tied up" until early in the 19th century. Although [[band nippers]] are now used in lieu of tying up, the practice is still employed in the restoration of pre-19th century rare books, primarily to give the appearance of the binding technique of the times.That tying up declined after the early 19th century was probably due to several factors, including: 1) leather in trade binding was replaced by cloth; 2) sewing on raised cords itself declined; and 3) standards of finishing in fine binding were improving and neater work could be done without the use of cords and, in any event, tying up was unnecessary if the leather was properly prepared and drawn on. Large books were (and still are) tied up, especially when the covering leather is intractable. e.g., pigskin.  +
This method of "sewing," which originated in Germany in about 1880, while strong, fell into disuse because of the development of edition (thread) sewing machines, and also because the staples rusted and disintegrated and the books came apart.  +