Many of us have an abundance of paperback books. Unfortunately, many paperback books are not well constructed so they are often in need of repair.
It can be a poor use of your time, as well as extremely frustrating, to attempt to repair a paperback book that was not constructed to be repaired.
Paperback books that are constructed in single pages glued together can pose quite a problem for repair. Unlike the techniques used by library binders (double-fan binding with flexible glue), mass produced paperback books are not constructed for multiple use. They are not usually fan bound, and the glues that are used in their construction tend to be with fast drying, brittle glue.
Higher quality paperback books are constructed with sewn signatures that can be repaired just as hard cover books with signatures.
There are several options for those of us with large collections of paperback books.
- Small, thin paperback books can be housed in pamphlet binders.
- If a paperback book is considered part of a permanent collection, such as a reference book, reinforce it before shelving it or send it to a library binder before use.
- If a paperback book is projected to have a great deal of immediate use, but is not seen as part of a long-term permanent collection, give it minimal reinforcement and repair as possible. When the book has been repaired once or twice, either discard it or buy a replacement copy and reinforce or bind it for use.
- If a PB book is projected to have minimal use, give it minimal reinforcement and repair if possible.
Do not attempt to continually repair a book that is not constructed so that it can be repaired.