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This article explores the general disciplinary features of China’s bibliographic norm in relation to modernizing traditional understandings of the Chinese book in historical studies. In comparison with the Anglo-American and French traditions, the Chinese bibliographic norm was scholarly and intellectually oriented to the neglect of the book’s physical features and availability. Chinese bibliographers compiled catalogues not for common readers but for elites, while publishers, printers, booksellers, and trade catalogues were absent from the formation of the Chinese bibliographic tradition. Traditional Chinese studies of the book were subjugated to the bibliographic norm. In considering the book as a tangible object in historical studies, we need an archeology of the book in using traditional bibliographies.