I had a quick scan of my bookshelf and yep, all my titles run top-down, even the Asian language ones. It's just the French (or Europeans) that are weird ;)
The way I look at it is, if you put the title the right way up (ie reading horizontally instead of vertically) the cover is on the top, the book is lying face up if the title runs top-down but if the title runs bottom-up the back cover is on top!! So doesn't make sense! hahaha
So it seems that Anglo countries and northern Europe (ie Scandinavia) goes from top-down but the rest of continental Europe goes bottom-up ! Quelle bizarre chose!
Early books did not have titles on their spines; rather, they were shelved flat with their spines inward, and titles written with ink along their fore edges. Modern books, however, have their titles on their spines. In languages with Chinese-influenced writing systems, this is naturally written top-to-bottom (as the characters don't change orientation, and the language is generally written top-to-bottom), but in left-to-right (and right-to-left) languages, the spine is usually too narrow for the title to fit in its natural orientation, and conventions differ. In the United States, the United Kingdom and Scandinavia, titles are usually written top-to-bottom, and this practice is reflected in an industry standard; when the book is placed on a table with the front cover upwards, the title is correctly oriented left-to-right on the spine. In most of continental Europe, the general convention is to print titles bottom-to-top on the spine.
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