Turning a Paperback into a Hardback

Unofficial History
1970, by Field Marshal Sir William Slim, Corgi Books

This binding was not a valuable book financially, but one whose owner was extremely fond of it. Being a late twentieth century paperback, it was not made to last. The paper is brittle and the binding was in a perfect style, which, ironically, is so far from perfect that one must think the term was made in jest.

A perfect binding implies that loose sheets are stacked and adhered at the spine edge with a thick layer of PVA or similar adhesive. This is then covered with a paper cover, which is adhered over the heavy spine, and tada! You have the modern paperback. Note the lack of sewing, spine lining or any form of reinforcement to keep the book from falling apart. This makes a very clear case as to why your regular paperback will often fall apart on you when reading. If, by some miracle, you can keep the book free from dog ears and spine breakages, it won’t be long before the adhesive gives up the ghost all on its own and falls apart anyway – as mentioned, decidedly less than “perfect”.

In order to create a hardback, as requested by this client, I treated this book quite similarly to a thesis binding – stab-sewn and covered as a quarter-bound flat back. The result was very pleasing, and with a simple cover design and title on the spine, it now has a new lease of life that should last for years to come.

If you have a similar book that you would like to preserve for the future in this way, please do get in touch to discuss the particulars.

CONDITION

TEXTBLOCK has brittle paper, which is discolouring at the edges.
BINDING is perfect bound and still in tact at present.

TREATMENT

TEXTBLOCK
– Keep original cover as first page.
– Create holes adjacent to the spine and sew as thesis binding.
– Adhere plain black endpapers.
– Line spine with cloth and manilla lining.
BINDING
– Create new cover – flat back and quater-bound with black cloth spine and printed cover in the style of the original.
– Case-in and finish.

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