also chapbook, 1812, from chap, short for chapman, so called because chapmen once sold such books.
One of a class of tracts upon homely and miscellaneous subjects which at one time formed the chief popular literature of Great Britain and the American colonies. They consisted of lives of heroes, martyrs, and wonderful personages, stories of roguery and broad humor, of giants, ghosts, witches, and dreams, histories in verse, songs and ballads, theological tracts, etc. They emanated principally from the provincial press, and were hawked about the country by chapmen or peddlers. [Century Dictionary]
1178 in Anglo-Latin, the popular name of Great Inquisition or Survey (1086), a digest in Anglo-French of a survey of England undertaken at the order of William the Conqueror to inventory his new domain, from Middle English domes, genitive of dom "day of judgment" (see doom (n.)). "The booke ... to be called Domesday, bicause (as Mathew Parise saith) it spared no man, but iudged all men indifferently." [William Lambarde, "A Perambulation of Kent," 1570]
from late 15c. in reference to various important medieval books with red covers; as "The Peerage," 1788; as "book containing the names of all persons in the service of the state," 1800. Mao's Little Red Book, containing his expressions and dictums, is attested in English by that name from 1967.