The Persistence of Imposition

The signatures in this mass market paperback (Weapons of Math Destruction, Cathy O’Neil, a great read, BTW) continue to group together, even though the book is perfect bound, and the spinefolds are cut.

Paper memory. Not enough pressing or pressure during or after folding. We could reconstruct the imposition based on this visual evidence, even though there are no conjugate leaves or other signature markings.

Whatever glue was used on the spine (PUR?) grips the newsprint-like leaves solidly, with no throw-up and lots of drape, making the book easy to hold and read. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but the tactile qualities are very satisfying in this book, at least in the short term, better than many high-end hand bound books.

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.