How To Measure a Book

Measuring books accurately can be a challenge since books are not always square or flat. It’s standard practice in book repair to take most repair measurements with a piece of scratch paper rather than a ruler.

Measuring the Height of a Book
Lay the scratch paper in position and mark one or both ends of the measurement. Add direction arrows to indicate where the measurement starts and stops.

Measuring the Spine Width
The spine can be measured in two ways –

  • Measure actual distance across the spine from shoulder to shoulder.
  • Measure the actual thickness of the spine by laying the book flat on the table and measuring vertically across the spine. Be sure to measure the thickest part of the book. It might be the spine, the fore edge or part way in between.

With the measurements on paper, the exact measurement can be transferred to paper or cloth as often as necessary. Label each measurement so as not be confused later.

Sometimes it is easier and faster to mark a cutting line with a needle point instead of a pencil. Use the needle-on-a-stick to mark a measurement by slightly piercing the paper, rather than marking it with a pencil.
Dividers can also be used to mark and transfer measurements from one place to another.


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