Understanding byte quantifiers¹
Powers of 10

When we talk about volumes of information such as megabytes, gigabytes, and terabytes, it is hard to fathom exactly what those massive numbers mean.

Here are some rough approximations (say, to within an order of magnitude) of how much textual information corresponds to each of the storage quantities [used in common computer science].

1 byte 100 One character
1 kilobyte 103 One typed page
1 megabyte 106 Two or three novels
1 gigabyte 109 A departmental library or a large personal library
1 terabyte 1012 The library of a major academic research university
1 petabyte 1015 All printed material in all libraries in North America
1 exabyte 1018 All words ever printed throughout human history
1 zettabyte 1021
¹ G. Michael Schneider, An Invitation to Computer Science, second ed. (Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company, 1999), p. 177.