How to rebind large books
August 21, 2004 7:22 AM   Subscribe

Is it possible to get a large (1000+ pages) book rebound without spending a bajillion dollars? One of the covers on a reference book got really badly damaged, and I'd like to repair it (or have it repaired) without spending more than $20 or so. I don't care overly much about how it looks, as long as it, you know, covers.
posted by LittleMissCranky to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total)
Ask your local library who does their rebinding. They'll have a good notion of the cost.
posted by jfuller at 8:15 AM on August 21, 2004

or you could do it yourself, with duct tape, thread and board or cardboard or leather, etc.
posted by amberglow at 8:18 AM on August 21, 2004

Most college towns have a reasonably priced bindery for binding college theses.

This place advertises discount bindery services through the mail.
posted by caddis at 8:33 AM on August 21, 2004

I assume you were kidding but duct tape is the absolute worst thing to let near a book you care about, the stickum leaks out, esp in hot weather and gets over everything in a hard-to-remove way. Here's a quick and dirty idea of what you might have to do to do it yourself. $20 isn't going to get you much except for maybe a spiral bound version. Here's a list of links from a Book Arts page for more resources on getting this done.
posted by jessamyn at 8:52 AM on August 21, 2004

ok--make that cloth tape then.
posted by amberglow at 9:06 AM on August 21, 2004

Try looking up "Bookbinders" in the yellow pages.

You could do this on your own, but with a big reference book the results might be a little iffy in the long term, unless all you're wanting to do is replace the cover. If the book block (the bound pages themselves) is solid, you might be able to cobble together a workable solution using some common book repair supplies (see the first link Jessamyn provided). It would help you know someone with a book press but you can get similar results with a few heavy books. Brodart sells most of the supplies you would need, though ask at your local liibrary for recommendations. If you take your time and are thoughtful about what you're doing, you might be able to pull this off for less than $20. Good luck!
posted by arco at 11:29 AM on August 21, 2004

Kinkos does the whole velobinding and hole punch thing for very cheap. It looks cheap too. But you can get out of there for $10 easy.
posted by Espoo2 at 1:20 PM on August 21, 2004

There might also be some help on this previous bookbinding question.
posted by milovoo at 9:32 PM on August 21, 2004

The library I used to work at repaired its own books.

They had a heater that was specially made for it, and would cut the cover and spine-cover away from the book to expose the leaves. Then they'd apply a new strip of glue (It comes in hard form for book repair), over the spine fabric, and then apply the cover or new cover material back over it. Sandwich the whole thing in a press and apply lots of heat with that special heater, and it was repaired. Took about thirty minutes per book max and maybe $1 in materials. If you've got the equipment. Not to mention the skill.
posted by SpecialK at 9:48 PM on August 21, 2004

These folks will do it for between $30 and $70 US, depending on what exactly needs to get done, e.g. rebinding, recovering, resewing, reductaping...ok, I made that last one up.
posted by bachelor#3 at 12:33 AM on August 22, 2004

I was a bookbinder for 10 years. It ain't that hard, but your firsts attempts will be messy, especially if you don't have somebody standing over you guiding you. You can, however, make do. I have done home repairs using bookshelf boards and c-clamps for a book press (with pieces of wire coat hanger to sety inside the book' hinge.)

Just remember a few things:

1. Paper and cardboard have a grain, and you want the bookboard (the grey, hard cardboard that is the base of the cover) to have the grain going the length, not width of the book.

2. If you can't get Buckram book cloth, you can make do with denim. Funky but it works.

3. White glue (elmer's) for the covers and spine. You can spread it pretty thin, and then when you have glued it all up you smooth it all out and stick it in the book press. Use wax paper between any pages that have been glued so that it won't stick together. Don't use too much glue.

There ya go! Ten years of experience in 150 words or less!

Honestly, bookbinders traditionally have been weird, anarcho-pathological types. If you call a local library and ask questions they may just say to bring your book in and they might fix it.
posted by zaelic at 1:16 AM on August 22, 2004 [1 favorite]

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