E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
To be in my black books. In bad odour; in disgrace; out of favour. The black books were those compiled in the reign of Henry VIII. to set forth the scandalous proceedings of the English monasteries, and were so called from the colour of their binding. We have similarly the Blue Book, the Red Book, and so on.
Black Books of the Exchequer. An official account of the royal revenues, payments, perquisites, etc., in the reign of Henry II. Its cover was black leather. There are two of them preserved in the Public Record Office.