Barbara Halporn
Hand Book Binder

   Frequently Asked Questions

The response to many Frequently Asked Questions about book binding and repair often begins “It depends”.  Because all the work is custom tailored to address the specific problems and skills involved in each job,  I need to assess the work, time, and materials involved in each job before giving a firm description of the work to be done and the cost. 

The best way for me to collaborate with a client is to begin with a conversation via phone or email.  After that, it is often helpful – but not essential -- for the client to visit the studio in order to discuss what the book needs, consider the various options for treatment, and decide on the colors and materials to be used in the work.  At that point I can make a firm assessment of the treatment and cost.

How much will it cost?  That depends on the condition of the book, the amount of work a repair or binding will entail, and the materials chosen for the binding.

Does the old cover have to be replaced by a new one?  Not necessarily.  If the original cover is in reasonably good condition, and if maintaining the appearance of the original is desirable, the original cover can often be incorporated into a new binding.  

Can a paperback be hard bound?  Yes.  It can be hardbound in a completely new binding, or the original cover can sometimes be incorporated into a new binding.  See example of hard bound paperback.

Can a book with just a damaged spine be repaired?  Yes.  This is a common problem that can be repaired by a technique called “rebacking”.  Using this technique I reconstruct a spine on the text block and reconnect it with the front and back covers without compromising the original book structure.  The result is a strong and attractive repair, and the cost is moderate. See example of “rebacked” spine.

Can wrinkled and torn pages be fixed?  Yes.  Pages that are torn and damaged can be repaired if the paper is not brittle.  Paper repair is labor intensive, and if a great deal is involved the costs can be high.  Specifics will be worked out in discussion with the client and included in the cost analysis.  See example repaired page.
Can a book with all or most of its pages loose be repaired?  Yes.  If the paper is not too fragile, the book can be resewn and rebound.

Can a book that was not sewn but glued at the spine be rebound?    Yes.  If the paper is not too fragile, the book can probably be given a new adhesive binding.  Many, even most, of the books produced now are adhesive bindings.

Can loose sheets printed on a computer be turned into a bound book?  Yes.  An adhesive bound book can be made from loose sheets.  Most bound academic theses are produced in this way.

What is a drop-spine box?  This type of enclosure ( also called a clamshell or solander box) is a box custom made to fit and protect a book or object.    This example from the gallery shows how the box allows the book both to be protected on the shelf and also to be removed easily for use. 
These boxes are suitable not only for books, but also for photographs, and miscellaneous keepsakes.  Family Bibles and other treasured books that are too fragile to rebind or repair can be kept intact for future generations in a drop-spine box.


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