Bookbinding: An Introduction

Bookbinding methods vary widely depending on their origins. Influenced by history and culture, bookbinding has evolved to become a versatile art with deep cultural roots.

Bookbinding began as people saw the need to preserve their written ideas, thoughts and memories in the past.

bookbinder history

It is interesting to note that at the beginning, bookbinding provided several challenges to bookbinders:

  • How could they hold the pages together?

Remember in the past, they did NOT use thin sheets of paper. Instead, they wrote on a wide variety of surfaces from bamboo sticks, stone tablets to cloth and papyrus.

Bookbinders had to be flexible and creative when deciding how they should bind these different materials together.

They bound bamboo sticks together to form flexible books. They rolled long pieces of cloth with written information into scrolls. They sew parchment paper together to keep them together.

  • How could they identify or distingush different books?

Once these books were made, the bookbinders encountered another issue. How could they tell each book apart without having to read it’s content?

Hence they added a cover page and titled each book differently, indicating the author of each book on the book cover.

  • How could they make the book more durable?

Over the years, book owners found that their books would wear and tear with repeated readings. Bookbinders then added a thick board to the book covers to appease these book owners.


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