Perfect Binding

This is a brand new $26.95 hardcover book.  The very first time I opened it, the first 30 pages or so separated from the super and kraft spine lining. I’m quite accustomed to carefully handling delicate structures, so this totally surprised me. As you can see, there is barely a trace of adhesive residue on the super. I can only guess that after the spine was glued up, there was a delay, or a bad batch of glue that applied the super and  spine lining. I hope this is just a production error, or fluke.

Gary Frost , in Paper Book: BookNote #12 wrote, “Ultimately, paper books will persist as long as they exemplify a performance standard that electronic text media must achieve.”  If this book is any indication of the performance standard of currently produced  paper books, the electronic textual future could be nearer than I ever thought possible.

6 Replies to “Perfect Binding”

  1. Jeff, I’m guessing you haven’t spent a lot of time at your local public library paging through the latest best sellers. This is a production error, but not an uncommon production error. Many public library staff can tell stories of books that “fell apart” after one circulation. The publishers tell them to send it back for a replacement, and then its a crapshoot to see if the next copy is any better.

  2. Much as I rely on perfect binding for my current crop of reprints, and much as it was the WAY while working in Libraries, I do wish this binding technique had either not been invented or improved in some way. What we need is a permanent, everlasting, flexible, clear-set adhesive that will never let go of a single page, will not stain paper and will have all the fun properties of rubber cement that we knew and loved as children.

    Excuse me know, I have to go roll up a nice big rubber cement ball.

  3. Gary- try the new adhesive known by the trade name, “sewing through the fold”. I’ve seen examples that have lasted more than 13 centuries

  4. Well, Jeff, that would really be termed a ‘mechanical binding’ rather than an ‘adhesive binding’. What we need is an Espresso Machine complete with a resident bookbinder…

  5. Yes, sorry for the failed attempt at a bit of humor! All adhesives fail, is what I meant. But wouldn’t the Espresso have a resident barista :)….

  6. If you put your Kindle (or Nook or iPad or iPhone) in a large Ziplock bag, you can read it in the bathtub, at the beach or while drinking wine.

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