* Sumerians treated clay tablets as ephemeral notebooks. Once the information they contained became irrelevant, the tablets were soaked an reshaped, to be used again. As a result, few examples survived - ironically, largely survived those that got burned in the fire, i.e. fired.
* Sometimes the back side of the papyrus scroll was used to copy an new text. The books of that kind were not particularly decorative - they were produced for a keen reader, who was more interested in content rather than the status.