Bookbinding is the process of physically assembling a book of codex format from an ordered stack of paper sheets that are folded together into sections or sometimes left as a stack of individual sheets. The stack is then bound together along one edge by either sewing with thread through the folds or by a layer of flexible adhesive. Alternative methods of binding that are cheaper but less permanent include loose-leaf rings, individual screw posts or binding posts, twin loop spine coils, plastic spiral coils, and plastic spine combs. For protection, the bound stack is either wrapped in a flexible cover or attached to stiff boards. Finally, an attractive cover is adhered to the boards, including identifying information and decoration. Book artists or specialists in book decoration can also greatly enhance a book's content by creating book-like objects with artistic merit of exceptional quality.
Before the computer age, the bookbinding trade involved two divisions. First, there was Stationery binding (known as vellum binding in the trade) that deals with books intended for handwritten entries such as accounting ledgers, business journals, blank books, and guest log books, along with other general office stationery such as note books, manifold books, day books, diaries, portfolios, etc. Computers have now replaced the pen and paper based accounting that constituted most of the stationery binding industry. Second was Letterpress binding which deals with making books intended for reading, including library binding, fine binding, edition binding, and publisher's bindings. A third division deals with the repair, restoration, and conservation of old used bindings.
Today, modern bookbinding is divided between hand binding by individual craftsmen working in a shop and commercial bindings mass-produced by high-speed machines in a factory. There is a broad grey area between the two divisions. The size and complexity of a bindery shop varies with job types, for example, from one-of-a-kind custom jobs, to repair/restoration work, to library rebinding, to preservation binding, to small edition binding, to extra binding, and finally to large-run publisher's binding. There are cases where the printing and binding jobs are combined in one shop. For the largest numbers of copies, commercial binding is effected by production runs of ten thousand copies or more in a factory.
Bookbinding is a specialized trade that relies on basic operations of measuring, cutting, and gluing. A finished book might need dozens of operations to complete, according to the specific style and materials. Bookbinding combines skills from other trades such as paper and fabric crafts, leather work, model making, and graphic arts. It requires knowledge about numerous varieties of book structures along with all the internal and external details of assembly. A working knowledge of the materials involved is required. A book craftsman needs a minimum set of hand tools but with experience will find an extensive collection of secondary hand tools and even items of heavy equipment that are valuable for greater speed, accuracy, and efficiency.
Bookbinding is an artistic craft of great antiquity, and at the same time, a highly mechanized industry. The division between craft and industry is not so wide as might at first be imagined. It is interesting to observe that the main problems faced by the mass-production bookbinder are the same as those that confronted the medieval craftsman or the modern hand binder. The first problem is still how to hold together the pages of a book; secondly is how to cover and protect the gathering of pages once they are held together; and thirdly, how to label and decorate the protective cover.
The craft of bookbinding probably originated in India, where religious sutras were copied on to palm leaves (cut into two, lengthwise) with a metal stylus. The leaf was then dried and rubbed with ink, which would form a stain in the wound. The finished leaves were given numbers, and two long twines were threaded through each end through wooden boards, making a palm-leaf book. When the book was closed, the excess twine would be wrapped around the boards to protect the manuscript leaves. Buddhist monks took the idea through Afghanistan to China in the first century BC.
Similar techniques can also be found in ancient Egypt where priestly texts were compiled on scrolls and books of papyrus. Another version of bookmaking can be seen through the ancient Mayan codex; only four are known to have survived the Spanish invasion of Latin America.
Writers in the Hellenistic-Roman culture wrote longer texts as scrolls; these were stored in boxes or shelving with small cubbyholes, similar to a modern winerack. Court records and notes were written on wax tablets, while important documents were written on papyrus or parchment. The modern English word book comes from the Proto-Germanic *bokiz, referring to the beechwood on which early written works were recorded.
The book was not needed in ancient times, as many early Greek texts—scrolls—were 30 pages long, which were customarily folded accordion-fashion to fit into the hand. Roman works were often longer, running to hundreds of pages. The Greeks used to call their books tome, meaning "to cut". The Egyptian Book of the Dead was a massive 200 pages long and was used in funerary services for the deceased. Torah scrolls, editions of the Jewish holy book, were—and still are—also held in special holders when read.
Scrolls can be rolled in one of two ways. The first method is to wrap the scroll around a single core, similar to a modern roll of paper towels. While simple to construct, a single core scroll has a major disadvantage: in order to read text at the end of the scroll, the entire scroll must be unwound. This is partially overcome in the second method, which is to wrap the scroll around two cores, as in a Torah. With a double scroll, the text can be accessed from both beginning and end, and the portions of the scroll not being read can remain wound. This still leaves the scroll a sequential-access medium: to reach a given page, one generally has to unroll and re-roll many other pages.
In addition to the scroll, wax tablets were commonly used in Antiquity as a writing surface. Diptychs and later polyptych formats were often hinged together along one edge, analogous to the spine of modern books, as well as a folding concertina format. Such a set of simple wooden boards sewn together was called by the Romans a codex (pl. codices)—from the Latin word caudex, meaning "the trunk" of a tree, around the first century AD. Two ancient polyptychs, a pentaptych and octoptych, excavated at Herculaneum employed a unique connecting system that presages later sewing on thongs or cords.
At the turn of the first century, a kind of folded parchment notebook called pugillares membranei in Latin, became commonly used for writing throughout the Roman Empire. This term was used by both the pagan Roman poet Martial and Christian apostle Paul the Apostle. Martial used the term with reference to gifts of literature exchanged by Romans during the festival of Saturnalia. According to T. C. Skeat, "in at least three cases and probably in all, in the form of codices" and he theorized that this form of notebook was invented in Rome and then "must have spread rapidly to the Near East". In his discussion of one of the earliest pagan parchment codices to survive from Oxyrhynchus in Egypt, Eric Turner seems to challenge Skeat's notion when stating "its mere existence is evidence that this book form had a prehistory" and that "early experiments with this book form may well have taken place outside of Egypt".
Early intact codices were discovered at Nag Hammadi in Egypt. Consisting of primarily Gnostic texts in Coptic, the books were mostly written on papyrus, and while many are single-quire, a few are multi-quire. Codices were a significant improvement over papyrus or vellum scrolls in that they were easier to handle. However, despite allowing writing on both sides of the leaves, they were still foliated—numbered on the leaves, like the Indian books. The idea spread quickly through the early churches, and the word Bible comes from the town where the Byzantine monks established their first scriptorium, Byblos, in modern Lebanon. The idea of numbering each side of the page—Latin pagina, "to fasten"—appeared when the text of the individual testaments of the Bible were combined and text had to be searched through more quickly. This book format became the preferred way of preserving manuscript or printed material.
The codex-style book, using sheets of either papyrus or vellum (before the spread of Chinese papermaking outside of Imperial China), was invented in the Roman Empire during the 1st century AD. First described by the poet Martial from Roman Spain, it largely replaced earlier writing mediums such as wax tablets and scrolls by the year 300 AD. By the 6th century AD, the scroll and wax tablet had been completely replaced by the codex in the Western world.
Western books from the fifth century onwards were bound between hard covers, with pages made from parchment folded and sewn onto strong cords or ligaments that were attached to wooden boards and covered with leather. Since early books were exclusively handwritten on handmade materials, sizes and styles varied considerably, and there was no standard of uniformity. Early and medieval codices were bound with flat spines, and it was not until the fifteenth century that books began to have the rounded spines associated with hardcovers today. Because the vellum of early books would react to humidity by swelling, causing the book to take on a characteristic wedge shape, the wooden covers of medieval books were often secured with straps or clasps. These straps, along with metal bosses on the book's covers to keep it raised off the surface that it rests on, are collectively known as furniture.
The earliest surviving European bookbinding is the St Cuthbert Gospel of about 700, in red goatskin, now in the British Library, whose decoration includes raised patterns and coloured tooled designs. Very grand manuscripts for liturgical rather than library use had covers in metalwork called treasure bindings, often studded with gems and incorporating ivory relief panels or enamel elements. Very few of these have survived intact, as they have been broken up for their precious materials, but a fair number of the ivory panels have survived, as they were hard to recycle; the divided panels from the Codex Aureus of Lorsch are among the most notable. The 8th century Vienna Coronation Gospels were given a new gold relief cover in about 1500, and the Lindau Gospels (now Morgan Library, New York) have their original cover from around 800.
Luxury medieval books for the library had leather covers decorated, often all over, with tooling (incised lines or patterns), blind stamps, and often small metal pieces of furniture. Medieval stamps showed animals and figures as well as the vegetal and geometric designs that would later dominate book cover decoration. Until the end of the period books were not usually stood up on shelves in the modern way. The most functional books were bound in plain white vellum over boards, and had a brief title hand-written on the spine. Techniques for fixing gold leaf under the tooling and stamps were imported from the Islamic world in the 15th century, and thereafter the gold-tooled leather binding has remained the conventional choice for high quality bindings for collectors, though cheaper bindings that only used gold for the title on the spine, or not at all, were always more common. Although the arrival of the printed book vastly increased the number of books produced in Europe, it did not in itself change the various styles of binding used, except that vellum became much less used.
Although early, coarse hempen paper had existed in China during the Western Han period (202 BC - 9 AD), the Eastern-Han Chinese court eunuch Cai Lun (ca. 50 AD – 121 AD) introduced the first significant improvement and standardization of papermaking by adding essential new materials into its composition.
In the 8th century Arabs learned the arts of papermaking from the Chinese and were then the first to bind paper into books at the start of the Islamic Golden Age. Particular skills were developed for Arabic calligraphy, miniatures and bookbinding. The people who worked in making books were called Warraqin or paper professionals. The Arabs made books lighter—sewn with silk and bound with leather covered paste boards, they had a flap that wrapped the book up when not in use. As paper was less reactive to humidity, the heavy boards were not needed. The production of books became a real industry and cities like Marrakech, Morocco, had a street named Kutubiyyin or book sellers, which contained more than 100 bookshops in the 12th century. The famous Koutoubia Mosque is named so because of its location on this street. Because the Qur'an itself was considered a sacred object, in order to beautify the book containing the holy scripture, a culture of calligraphy and lavish bookbinding developed.
Bookbinding in medieval China replaced traditional Chinese writing supports such as bamboo and wooden slips, as well as silk and paper scrolls. The evolution of the codex in China began with folded-leaf pamphlets in the 9th century AD, during the late Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD), improved by the 'butterfly' bindings of the Song dynasty (960-1279 AD), the wrapped back binding of the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368), the stitched binding of the Ming (1368-1644 AD) and Qing dynasties (1644-1912), and finally the adoption of Western-style bookbinding in the 20th century (coupled with the European printing press that replaced traditional Chinese printing methods). The initial phase of this evolution, the accordion-folded palm-leaf-style book, most likely came from India and was introduced to China via Buddhist missionaries and scriptures.
With the arrival (from the East) of rag paper manufacturing in Europe in the late Middle Ages and the use of the printing press beginning in the mid-15th century, bookbinding began to standardize somewhat, but page sizes still varied considerably.
In the early sixteenth century, the Italian printer Aldus Manutius realized that personal books would need to fit in saddle bags and thus produced books in the smaller formats of quartos (one-quarter-size pages) and octavos (one-eighth-size pages).
With printing, the books became more accessible and were stored on their side on long shelves for the first time. Clasps were removed, and titles were added to the spine.
In the German book-distribution system of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the end-user buyers of books "generally made separate arrangements with either the publisher or a bookbinder to have printed sheets bound according to their wishes and their budget".
The reduced cost of books facilitated cheap lightweight Bibles, made from tissue-thin oxford paper, with floppy covers, that resembled the early Arabic Qurans, enabling missionaries to take portable books with them around the world, and modern wood glues enabled the addition of paperback covers to simple glue bindings.
Historical forms of binding include the following:
Some older presses could not separate the pages of a book, so readers used a paper knife to separate the outer edges of pages as a book was read.
There are various commercial techniques in use today. Today, most commercially produced books belong to one of four categories:
A hardcover, hardbound or hardback book has rigid covers and is stitched in the spine. Looking from the top of the spine, the book can be seen to consist of a number of signatures bound together. When the book is opened in the middle of a signature, the binding threads are visible. Signatures of hardcover books are typically octavo (a single sheet folded three times), though they may also be folio, quarto, or 16mo (see Book size). Unusually large and heavy books are sometimes bound with wire.
Until the mid-20th century, covers of mass-produced books were laid with cloth, but from that period onward, most publishers adopted clothette, a kind of textured paper which vaguely resembles cloth but is easily differentiated on close inspection. Most cloth-bound books are now half-and-half covers with cloth covering only the spine. In that case, the cover has a paper overlap. The covers of modern hardback books are made of thick cardboard.
Some books that appeared in the mid-20th century signature-bound appear in reprinted editions in glued-together editions. Copies of such books stitched together in their original format are often difficult to find, and are much sought after for both aesthetic and practical reasons.
A variation of the hardcover which is more durable is the calf-binding, where the cover is either half or fully clad in leather, usually from a calf. This is also called full-bound or, simply, leather bound.
Library binding refers to the hardcover binding of books intended for the rigors of library use and are largely serials and paperback publications. Though many publishers have started to provide "library binding" editions, many libraries elect to purchase paperbacks and have them rebound as hardcover books, resulting in longer life for the material.
There are a number of methods used to bind hardcover books, from them:
Different types of the punch and bind binding include:
Some of the different types of thermally activated binding include:
Types of stitched or sewn bindings:
Modern bookbinding by hand can be seen as two closely allied fields: the creation of new bindings, and the repair of existing bindings. Bookbinders are often active in both fields. Bookbinders can learn the craft through apprenticeship; by attending specialized trade schools; by taking classes in the course of university studies, or by a combination of those methods. Some European countries offer a Master Bookbinder certification, though no such certification exists in the United States. MFA programs that specialize in the 'Book Arts' (hand paper-making, printmaking and bookbinding) are available through certain colleges and universities.
Hand bookbinders create new bindings that run the gamut from historical book structures made with traditional materials to modern structures made with 21st-century materials, and from basic cloth-case bindings to valuable full-leather fine bindings. Repairs to existing books also encompass a broad range of techniques, from minimally invasive conservation of a historic book to the full restoration and rebinding of a text.
Though almost any existing book can be repaired to some extent, only books that were originally sewn can be rebound by resewing. Repairs or restorations are often done to emulate the style of the original binding. For new works, some publishers print unbound manuscripts which a binder can collate and bind, but often an existing commercially bound book is pulled, or taken apart, in order to be given a new binding. Once the textblock of the book has been pulled, it can be rebound in almost any structure; a modern suspense novel, for instance, could be rebound to look like a 16th-century manuscript. Bookbinders may bind several copies of the same text, giving each copy a unique appearance.
Hand bookbinders use a variety of specialized hand tools, the most emblematic of which is the bonefolder, a flat, tapered, polished piece of bone used to crease paper and apply pressure. Additional tools common to hand bookbinding include a variety of knives and hammers, as well as brass tools used during finishing.
When creating new work, modern hand binders often work on commission, creating bindings for specific books or collections. Books can be bound in many different materials. Some of the more common materials for covers are leather, decorative paper, and cloth (see also: buckram). Those bindings that are made with exceptionally high craftsmanship, and that are made of particularly high-quality materials (especially full leather bindings), are known as fine or extra bindings. Also, when creating a new work, modern binders may wish to select a book that has already been printed and create what is known as a 'design binding'. "In a typical design binding, the binder selects an already printed book, disassembles it, and rebinds it in a style of fine binding—rounded and backed spine, laced-in boards, sewn headbands, decorative end sheets, leather cover etc."
Conservation and restoration are practices intended to repair damage to an existing book. While they share methods, their goals differ. The goal of conservation is to slow the book's decay and restore it to a usable state while altering its physical properties as little as possible. Conservation methods have been developed in the course of taking care of large collections of books. The term archival comes from taking care of the institutions archive of books. The goal of restoration is to return the book to a previous state as envisioned by the restorer, often imagined as the original state of the book. The methods of restoration have been developed by bookbinders with private clients mostly interested in improving their collections.
In either case, one of the modern standard for conservation and restoration is "reversibility". That is, any repair should be done in such a way that it can be undone if and when a better technique is developed in the future. Bookbinders echo the physician's creed, "First, do no harm". While reversibility is one standard, longevity of the functioning of the book is also very important and sometimes takes precedence over reversibility especially in areas that are invisible to the reader such as the spine lining.
Books requiring restoration or conservation treatment run the gamut from the very earliest of texts to books with modern bindings that have undergone heavy usage. For each book, a course of treatment must be chosen that takes into account the book's value, whether it comes from the binding, the text, the provenance, or some combination of the three. Many people choose to rebind books, from amateurs who restore old paperbacks on internet instructions to many professional book and paper conservators and restorationists, who often in the United States are members of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC).
Many times, books that need to be restored are hundreds of years old, and the handling of the pages and binding has to be undertaken with great care and a delicate hand. The archival process of restoration and conservation can extend a book's life for many decades and is necessary to preserve books that sometimes are limited to a small handful of remaining copies worldwide.
Typically, the first step in saving and preserving a book is its deconstruction. The text pages need to be separated from the covers and, only if necessary, the stitching removed. This is done as delicately as possible. All page restoration is done at this point, be it the removal of foxing, ink stains, page tears, etc. Various techniques are employed to repair the various types of page damage that might have occurred during the life of the book.
The preparation of the "foundations" of the book could mean the difference between a beautiful work of art and a useless stack of paper and leather.
The sections are then hand-sewn in the style of its period, back into book form, or the original sewing is strengthened with new lining on the text-spine. New hinges must be accounted for in either case both with text-spine lining and some sort of end-sheet restoration.
The next step is the restoration of the book cover; This can be as complicated as completely re-creating a period binding to match the original using whatever is appropriate for that time it was originally created. Sometimes this means a new full leather binding with vegetable tanned leather, dyed with natural dyes, and hand-marbled papers may be used for the sides or end-sheets. Finally the cover is hand-tooled in gold leaf. The design of the book cover involves such hand-tooling, where an extremely thin layer of gold is applied to the cover. Such designs can be lettering, symbols, or floral designs, depending on the nature of any particular project.
Sometimes the restoration of the cover is a matter of surgically strengthening the original cover by lifting the original materials and applying new materials for strength. This is perhaps a more common method for covers made with book-cloth although leather books can be approached this way as well. Materials such as Japanese tissues of various weights may be used. Colors may be matched using acrylic paints or simple colored pencils.
It is harder to restore leather books typically because of the fragility of the materials.
Most of the following terms apply only with respect to American practices:
Though books are sold as hardcover or paperback, the actual binding of the pages is important to durability. Most paperbacks and some hard cover books have a "perfect binding". The pages are aligned or cut together and glued. A strong and flexible layer, which may or may not be the glue itself, holds the book together. In the case of a paperback, the visible portion of the spine is part of this flexible layer.
In languages written from left to right, such as English, books are bound on the left side of the cover; looking from on top, the pages increase counter-clockwise. In right-to-left languages, books are bound on the right. In both cases, this is so the end of a page coincides with where it is turned. Many translations of Japanese comic books retain the binding on the right, which allows the art, laid out to be read right-to-left, to be published without mirror-imaging it.
In China (only areas using Traditional Chinese), Japan, and Taiwan, literary books are written top-to-bottom, right-to-left, and thus are bound on the right, while text books are written left-to-right, top-to-bottom, and thus are bound on the left. In mainland China the direction of writing and binding for all books was changed to be like left to right languages in the mid-20th century.
Early books did not have titles on their spines; rather they were shelved flat with their spines inward and titles written with ink along their fore edges. Modern books display their titles on their spines.
In languages with Chinese-influenced writing systems, the title is written top-to-bottom, as is the language in general. In languages written horizontally, conventions differ about the direction in which the title on the spine is rotated:
In most cases, questions related to book-binding did not figure into the discussions between authors and publishers about the formal aspects of editions of their works, because individual purchasers generally made separate arrangements with either the publisher or a bookbinder to have printed sheets bound according to their wishes and their budget.
Bindery refers to a studio, workshop or factory where sheets of (usually) paper are fastened together to make books, but also where gold and other decorative elements are added to the exterior of books, where boxes or slipcases for books are made and where the restoration of books is carried out.Board book
A board book is a type of children's book printed on thick paperboard. The paperboard is printed and used for both the cover and the interior pages. Each page panel is a minimum of two plies of paperboard thickness. Unlike a typical paper book that is bound with saddle stitching (staples) or perfect binding, a board book's pages are specially folded and bound together. Board books are very durable and consequently intended for children, who often tend to be less gentle with books. Most of the board books produced in the world are produced in China and Mexico; however, there is one board book printer still located in the United States and some printers still in Europe.Bonded leather
Bonded leather, also called reconstituted leather or blended leather, is a term used for a manufactured upholstery material which contains animal hide. It is made as a layered structure of a fiber or paper backer covered with a layer of shredded leather fibers mixed with a polyurethane binder that is embossed with a leather-like texture.
It differs from bicast leather, which is made from solid leather pieces, usually from the split, which are given an artificial coating.Book cover
A book cover is any protective covering used to bind together the pages of a book. Beyond the familiar distinction between hardcovers and paperbacks, there are further alternatives and additions, such as dust jackets, ring-binding, and older forms such as the nineteenth-century "paper-boards" and the traditional types of hand-binding. The term "Bookcover" is often used for a book cover image in library management software. This article is concerned with modern mechanically produced covers.Bookbindings in the British Library
The British Library contains a wide range of fine and historic bookbindings; however, books in the Library are organised primarily by subject rather than by binding so the Library has produced a guide to enable researchers to identity bindings of interest. The collection includes the oldest intact Western bookbinding, the leather binding of the 7th century St Cuthbert Gospel.
Some gifts by, or purchases from, collectors of bindings are registered and kept together. A small number of bindings are always displayed in the Ritblat Gallery at the St Pancras site in London, and others can be examined in the reading rooms. There is also a display of the stamps and tools used for the books of George III near the entrance to the Conservation Centre.Buckram
Buckram is a stiff cotton (occasionally linen or horse hair) cloth with a loose weave, often muslin. The fabric is soaked in wheat starch paste, glue (such as PVA glue), or pyroxylin (gelatinized nitrocellulose, developed around 1910), as sizing and then dried. When rewetted or warmed, it can be shaped to create durable firm fabric for book covers, hats, and elements of clothing. In bookbinding, pyroxylin impregnated fabrics are considered superior to starch-filled fabrics because their surfaces are more water resistant, they are more resistant to insects and fungi, and are generally stronger. They wear well and are particularly suitable for use in library binding where many people will be repeatedly handling the same books. Pyroxylin also allows for unique decorative effects on book covers. They, too, are water repellant and immune to insect attack and fungi, but they do not wear as well as starch impregnated cloths because of cracking at the joints and occasional peeling of the coating.
In the Middle Ages, "bokeram", as it was known then, was fine cotton cloth, not stiff. The etymology of the term is uncertain; the commonly mentioned derivation from Bokhara is, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, uncertain.
In bookbinding, buckram has several attractive qualities. In addition to being highly durable, buckram does not allow the bookbinder's paste to seep through and cause discoloration or stains on the book's front and back covers.
Millinery buckram is different from bookbinding buckram. The former is impregnated with a starch which allows it to be softened in water, pulled over a hat block, and left to dry into a hard shape. Millinery buckram comes in three weights: baby buckram (often used for children's and dolls' hats), single-ply buckram, and double buckram (also known as "theatrical crown").Catchword
A catchword is a word placed at the foot of a handwritten or printed page that is meant to be bound along with other pages in a book. The word anticipates the first word of the following page. It was meant to help the bookbinder or printer make sure that the leaves were bound in the right order or that the pages were set up in the press in the right order. Catchwords appear in some medieval manuscripts, and appear again in printed books late in the fifteenth century. The practice became widespread in the mid sixteenth century, and prevailed until the arrival of industrial printing techniques late in the eighteenth century.
Theodore Low Devinne's 1901 guide on Correct Composition had this to say:
For more than three centuries printers of books appended at the foot of every page the first word or syllable of the next page. This catchword was supposed to be needed by the reader to make clear the connection between the two pages ; but the catchword is now out of use, and it is not missed.Dos-à-dos binding
In bookbinding, a dos-à-dos binding (from the French meaning "back-to-back") is a binding structure in which two separate books are bound together such that the fore edge of one is adjacent to the spine of the other, with a shared lower board between them serving as the back cover of both. When shelved, the spine of the book to the right faces outward, while the spine of the book to the left faces the back of the shelf; the text of both works runs head-to-tail.The dos-à-dos format dates back at least to the 16th century, though they were most common in England in the first half of the 17th century. Two books frequently bound in this form were the New Testament and Psalter, presumably because both were needed during church services. Regardless of content, the outer boards of dos-à-dos bindings were usually embroidered, or covered with leather and then finished with gold.One example is Irvin S. Cobb's Oh! Well! You Know How Women Are! bound dos-à-dos with Mary Roberts Rinehart's Isn't That Just Like a Man!, as published by George Doran in 1920.Endpaper
The endpapers or end-papers of a book (also known as endsheets) are the pages that consist of a double-size sheet folded, with one half pasted against an inside cover (the pastedown), and the other serving as the first free page (the free endpaper or flyleaf). Thus, the front endpapers precede the title page and the text, whereas the back endpapers follow the text. Booksellers sometimes refer to the front endpaper as FEP.
Before mass printing in the 20th century it was common for the endpapers of books to have paper marbling. Sometimes the endpapers are used for maps or other relevant information. They are the traditional place to put bookplates, or an owner's inscription.
As of 2010, there are many styles of endsheets or endpapers that are specifically designed for use with different bindings. For example, endsheets reinforced with cloth are used in sewn bindings. The cloth holds the stitches and prevents the paper from perforating and tearing.
Other styles are designed for use with perfect binders. Combined and Universal Endsheets are loaded into the cover feeder of an automatic perfect binder and attached – instead of the soft cover – automatically producing a book block reinforced from head to tail. The Folded Tabbed End sheet is collated with the text pages, milled and bound along with the book block.
There are also many styles of endpapers that are engineered to meet textbook standards and library binding standards as well as endsheets for conservation and book repair.Felbrigge Psalter
The Felbrigge Psalter is an illuminated manuscript Psalter from mid-13th century England that has an embroidered bookbinding which probably dates to the early 14th century. It is the oldest surviving book from England to have an embroidered binding. The embroidery is worked in fine linen with an illustration of the Annunciation on the front cover and an illustration of the Crucifixion on the back.Folio
The term "folio", from the Latin folium (leaf), has three interconnected but distinct meanings in the world of books and printing. It is firstly a term for a common method of arranging sheets of paper into book form, folding the sheet only once, and a term for a book made in this way. Secondly, it is a general term for a sheet, leaf or page in (especially) manuscripts and old books, and thirdly, an approximate term for the size of a book, and for a book of this size.
Firstly, a folio (abbreviated fo or 2°) is a book or pamphlet made up of one or more full sheets of paper, on each of which four pages of text are printed, two on each side; each sheet is then folded once to produce two leaves. Each leaf of a folio book thus is one half the size of the original sheet. Ordinarily, additional printed folio sheets would be inserted inside one another to form a group or "gathering" of leaves prior to binding the book.
Secondly, "folio" is used in terms of page numbering for some books and most manuscripts that are bound but without page numbers as an equivalent of "page" (both sides), "sheet" or "leaf", using "recto" and "verso" to designate the first and second sides, and (unlike the usage in printing) disregarding whether the leaf concerned is actually physically still joined with another leaf. This usually appears abbreviated: "f26r." means the first side of the 26th leaf in a book. This will be on the right hand side of the opening of any book composed in a script that is read from left-to-right, such as Latin (as used in English), Cyrillic, or Greek, and will be opposite for books composed in a script that is read from right-to-left, such as Hebrew and Arabic.
Thirdly, folio is also used as an approximate term for a size of book, typically about 15 inches (38 cm) tall, and as such does not necessarily indicate the actual printing format of the books, which may even be unknown as is the case for many modern books. Other common book formats are quarto and octavo, which are both also printing formats, involving two and three folds in the sheet respectively.
Famous folios (in both senses) include the Gutenberg Bible, printed in about 1455, and the First Folio collected edition of Shakespeare's plays, printed in 1623; however, their actual size is rather different.John Jaffray (bookbinder)
John Jaffray (31 October 1811 - 25 July 1869) was a London bookbinder who was active in the early Chartist movement and who assembled a large collection of literature and notes relating to the bookbinding trade. He arrived in London in about 1836. Jaffray was a member of the committee of the London Working Men's Association and a signatory to The People's Charter 1836, an important charter calling for greater political rights for the working classes that presaged the more well known People's Charter of 1838.Law leather
Law leather was the name for a specific kind and grade of sheepskin leather used for bookbinding. As its name indicates, it was used for binding statute books and other official documents. Many state statutes specified "law leather" bindings. An 1871 Ohio state resolution, for example, provided that
WHEREAS, The first volume of the annual report of the commissioner of railroads and telegraphs, for 1870, now being printed, contains the constitutional provisions, general laws and special charters governing the railroad companies of Ohio, together with much other valuable information worthy of careful preservation ; and,WHEREAS, Six hundred copies of the second volume of said report, containing railroad and telegraph statistics, recommendations of the commissioner, etc., are now provided by law to be bound in cloth, and leather binding is no more expensive, and is much more durable than said cloth binding ; therefore,Resolved by the General Assembly of the State of Ohio, That the supervisor of public printing, be authorized to have the full edition of said first volume bound in good law leather and suitably lettered on the back.In the 1880s, the Philadelphia publisher Blakiston offered many of its medical text in a choice of "cloth," "medical sheep," and "law leather" bindings.Minnesota Center for Book Arts
Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) is the largest and most comprehensive independent nonprofit book arts center in the United States. Located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, MCBA is a nationally recognized leader in the celebration and preservation of traditional crafts, including hand papermaking, letterpress printing and hand bookbinding, as well as the use of these traditional techniques by contemporary artists in creating new artists' books and artwork.Morocco leather
Morocco leather (also known as Levant, the French Maroquin, or German Saffian from Safi, a Moroccan town famous for leather) is a soft, pliable form of leather widely used for gloves and the uppers of ladies' shoes and men's low cut shoes, but traditionally associated with bookbindings, wallets, linings for fine luggage, and the like.
Originally Morocco leather was imported to Europe from Morocco, and from the late 16th century it was valued in luxury bookbindings in Western countries because of its strength and because it showed off the gilding. It was also used in the Islamic world from an earlier date.
The finest grades of Morocco leather are goatskin, but by the late 19th century other skins often were substituted in practice, particularly sheepskin and split calfskin. For example, French Morocco is a variety made of sheepskin. The tanning process varied widely, but the traditional tanning material was sumac. The traditional tanning process was skilled and elaborate; according to the application, the preparation either would aim for a carefully smoothed finish, or would bring up the grain in various patterns such as straight-grained, pebble-grained, or in particular, in a bird's-eye pattern. Morocco leather is practically always dyed, traditionally most often red or black, but green, brown or other colors also were available, and in modern times there is no special constraint on color.Section (bookbinding)
In bookbinding, a section, gathering, or signature refers to a group of sheets, folded in the middle, and bound into the binding together.
The section is the basic building block of codex bindings. In Western bookbinding, sections are sewn through their folds, with the sewing thread linking each section to its neighboring sections.
The gatherings can be seen by looking at the top or bottom sides of the book, though cheaper modern books are perfect bound with no gatherings, gluing each sheet directly to the binding. The gatherings are sewn into the binding and the middle sheet of each gathering will have two or more short stretches of thread visible at the central fold.
In medieval manuscripts a gathering, or quire, was most often formed of 4 folded sheets of vellum or parchment, i.e. 8 leaves, 16 sides. The term "quaternion" (or sometimes quaternum) designates such a unit. A gathering made of a single folded sheet (i.e. 2 leaves, 4 sides) is a "bifolium" (plural "bifolia"); a "binion" is a quire of two sheets (i.e. 4 leaves, 8 sides); and a "quinion" is five sheets (10 leaves, 20 sides). This last meaning is preserved in the modern Italian meaning of quire, quinterno di carta. Later, when bookmaking switched to using paper and it became possible to easily stitch 5 to 7 sheets at a time, the number of sheets and pages in a gathering became more variable.Stitching awl
A stitching awl is a tool with which holes can be punctured in a variety of materials, or existing holes can be enlarged. It is also used for sewing heavy materials, such as leather or canvas. It is a thin, tapered metal shaft, coming to a sharp point, either straight or slightly bent. These shafts are often in the form of interchangeable needles. They usually have an eye piercing at the pointed end to aid in drawing thread through holes for the purpose of manual lockstitch sewing, in which case it is also called a sewing awl. Stitching awls are frequently used by shoe repairers and other leatherworkers. Sewing awls are used to make lock stitches. The needle, with the thread in the eye is pushed through the material. The thread is then pulled through the eye to extend it. As the needle is pushed through the material, the extra thread from the first stitch is then threaded through the loops of successive stitches creating a lock stitch. The action is likened to that of a "miniature sewing machine". Styles may vary, as they are adapted to specific trades, such as making shoes or saddles. They are also used in the printing trades to aid in setting movable type and in bookbinding.
The English disparaging term "cobblers", usually meaning "nonsense", is Cockney rhyming slang for "balls" from the phrase "cobblers’ awls".Traditional Chinese bookbinding
Traditional Chinese bookbinding, also called stitched binding (Chinese: xian zhuang), is the method of bookbinding that the Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, and Vietnamese used before adopting the modern codex form.Treasure binding
A treasure binding or jewelled bookbinding is a luxurious book cover using metalwork in gold or silver, jewels or ivory, perhaps in addition to more usual bookbinding material for book-covers such as leather, velvet, or other cloth. The actual bookbinding technique is the same as for other medieval books, with the folios, normally of vellum, stitched together and bound to wooden cover boards. The metal furnishings of the treasure binding are then fixed, normally by tacks, onto these boards. Treasure bindings appear to have existed from at least Late Antiquity, though there are no surviving examples from so early, and Early Medieval examples are very rare. They were less used by the end of the Middle Ages, but a few continued to be produced in the West even up to the present day, and many more in areas where Eastern Orthodoxy predominated. The bindings were mainly used on grand illuminated manuscripts, especially Gospel books designed for the altar and use in church services, rather than study in the library.
The vast majority of these bookbindings were later destroyed as their valuable gold and jewels were removed by looters, or the owners when in need of cash. Others survive without their jewels, and many are either no longer attached to a book, or have been moved to a different book. Some survive in major libraries - for example the Morgan Library in New York City, the John Rylands Library in Manchester, the British Library in London, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich and the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. As the carved ivory reliefs often used could not usually be recycled, these survive in much larger numbers, giving a better idea of the numbers of treasure bindings that once existed. Other examples are recorded in documentary sources but though the books survive the covers do not. The Book of Kells lost its binding after a robbery, and the fate of the missing cover of the Book of Lindisfarne is not recorded.
In the Eastern Orthodox churches treasure bindings have continued to be produced, mainly for liturgical Gospel books, up to the present day, and exist in many different artistic styles. Other styles of binding using gems, and typically pearls, have a covering of velvet or other textile, to which the gems are sewn or otherwise fixed. These were more likely to be for the private books of a grand person, especially the prayer books and books of hours of female royalty, and may also include embroidery.
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