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In the PHB under The Book's Appearance the text give two examples of how a spellbook looks like a book and one example with it being just a collection of notes.

Does a Wizard's spellbook need to be a book? Can a spellbook look or even be something else rather than just a book?

For example, could it be a series of small scroll tubes tied together like a rope ladder?

A necklace of marbles where each marble was inscribed with a single spell?

Elaborate wood carvings on a puzzle-box?

Colourful tattoos on the backs of slaves? (I'm not saying it won't be awkward when a Dragon eats pages 21 to 34 when adventuring, just asking if it would be allowed.)

Runes on the faces of convex regular icosahedron? ;)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Spells carved onto the outside of a box, with a book full of gibberish inside it would be fun. \$\endgroup\$ – GrandmasterB Sep 5 '18 at 21:14
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No, it doesn't need to be a book.

From the "Your Spellbook" sidebar in the wizard's Spellcasting feature (PHB p. 114):

Your spellbook is a unique compilation of spells, with its own decorative flourishes and margin notes. It might be a plain, functional leather volume that you received as a gift from your master, a finely bound gilt-edged tome you found in an ancient library, or even a loose collection of notes scrounged together after you lost your previous spellbook in a mishap.

The loose collection of notes says to me that it doesn't have to be a book. I remember playing with a wizard who had a metal ring with thin sheets of metal attached as his "spellbook".

After playing for over 30 years, while the norm is the spellbook, there have been many characters that have a used different things to go along with the feel of the character. Empower the character, don't limit.

As @Rubiksmoose points out, the "Spellbook" section on Xanathar's Guide to Everything p. 58 lists some other examples of unusual spellbooks, including:

Small stones inscribed with spells and kept in a cloth bag

and

Long straps of leather on which spells are written, wrapped around a staff for ease of transport

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    \$\begingroup\$ 3.X had distinct opinions on this as did several Dragon articles of old. Every table will vary and thus the DM makes the determination. You might include that last part. \$\endgroup\$ – Slagmoth Sep 5 '18 at 18:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ You might also want to list the options from Xanathar's Guide to everything, which explicitly give non-book options (eg a bag of rocks with spells engraved on them) \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Sep 5 '18 at 19:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose I will have to add those later, have to get back to work. \$\endgroup\$ – RonV Sep 5 '18 at 19:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ I've seen Urban Arcana homebrews (using modern D&D variants discussed in Unearthed Arcana supplements) where the wizard uses an iPad instead of a spellbook. Burning hands? There's an app for that! Also makes sense with spell slots because you have to install apps in the limited memory, and running a spell app uses a percentage of battery power. \$\endgroup\$ – Thunderforge Sep 5 '18 at 20:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ 3.X had a prestige class dedicated to tattooing one's self instead of an ordinary spellbook. There doesn't seem to be a hard limit on how far you can go for flavor. \$\endgroup\$ – Alfred Yerger Sep 6 '18 at 5:01

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