To Repair or Not?

Before you rush in and prepare to work on repairing your book, ask yourself a few questions:-

  • Has the book previously been repaired using incorrect or damaging techniques? 
  • Is the book worn beyond mending or rebinding? 
  • Should this book be sent to a specialist?

It can be a difficult decision to not repair a book. However, the urge to save every book is unrealistic because some books cannot be effectively repaired.

I was recently at a family gathering where one of my Dad’s cousins produced the Family Bible from his branch of the family. (Family bibles are probably the book I have had most enquiries about in the past 20 years). I had told this cousin many years ago that the book was beyond effective repair but could be kept in its current state for posterity. Since I saw him last he had taken it to a large bookbinding company (he’s a barrister and has many volumes bound each year). The bookbinders returned the bible to him in a custom made acid free box with the advice that it would not be cost effective to repair the bible. We still enjoyed looking at it during the family gathering and it will keep for many more generations in its special box.

Don’t despair if your book cannot be repaired. Just give it a good storage home (acid free custom made boxes you could make yourself although they are now commercially available in a variety of sizes) and visit it regularly.

I have some instructions for making book boxes here.