Book Binding and Repair Terms

I discovered a list of proper terms related to books – finally I might start to sound like I actually know what I’m talking about.  Many of these are terms from the actual binding process, or pertain to paperbacks, so I’m not very likely to have need to employ them on this site. I’ve left them in for interests sake. Here they are and I’ll try to use the correct terms where appropriate in Close Up sections.

Back or Backing
The process of shaping a ridge or shoulder on each side of the back of a sewn volume prior to covering, compensating for the thickness of the boards and providing a hinge-line from which the cover swings.

Back Edge
The left-hand edge of a recto, or right hand edge of a verso. This is normally the binding edge.

Back Lining
The material used to line the back of a book prior to encasing it in a loose back (or hollow back) cover.

The exposed part of a bound volume when shelved. Also called the Spine or Shelf Back. I think I’ll start referring to it as a ‘shelf back’. Some Gnome Press books have a cloth shelf back.

Binders Board
A high quality, single-ply, solid-pulp board for constructing covers.

Binding Slip
A sheet of instructions sent to the bindery with each volume, specifying the binding requirements for that particular volume.

Brittle Paper
A weakened condition of paper due to deterioration caused by acid, which may cause darkening of the paper. This is very common in Gnome Press Books from the mid-1950s.

A strong, durable woven book cloth produced with cotton and polyester threads. The woven cloth is impregnated or coated with a nonmigratory resinous material, generally acrylic. Group F buckram, which is used in library binding, must meet all performance specifications as stated in the ANSI/NISO/LBI STANDARD FOR LIBRARY BINDING.

C-1 Cloth
A durable woven book cloth produced with cotton and polyester threads. The woven cloth is impregnated or coated with a nonmigratory resinous material, generally acrylic. C-1 cloth is a lighter weight book cloth than buckram and therefore has less strength. Books weighing less than 2 pounds may be bound in C-1 cloth. C-1 book cloth must meet all performance specifications as stated in the ANSI/NISO/LBI STANDARD FOR LIBRARY BINDING.

A cover that is made complete before it is affixed to a volume.

The process of putting a volume that has received all of the binding or rebinding operations, into its cover or case.

To examine a book or periodical volume, page by page, before binding to ensure its completeness and proper order.

Cut Flush
The cover is trimmed after binding so that its edges are even with the edges of the leaves.

Depth (of the book)
The measurement of the book at its thickest point, including the covers.

End Papers
The sheets which attach the textblock to the covers.

Flat Back
A book that is at right angles with the sides; opposed to the usual round back.

Fold Sewn
When the signatures are sewn through their folds, each signature attached to the next.

Fore Edge
The front or outer edge of a book.

Group F Buckram
See Buckram

Gutter Margin
The margin space available along the binding edge.

Hand Fan
The material is fan glued by hand. Used for items less than 1/2″ or greater than 2″.

The top portion of the book’s spine.

Height (of a book)
The vertical dimension of a book as it sits upright on its tail.

A paper or cloth stub or guard that permits the free turning of an insert, leaf, section, or map.

On the premises.

The part of the cover which forms the hinge, between the board and the shoulder of the volume.

In binding, a title which is usually made up of several issues or numbers. Also known as periodicals, magazines or serials.

Limited circulation bind.

Pages of a book.

Library Binding
A standard of binding which is normally higher than publisher’s binding, edition binding, library edition, and others not in accordance with this standard.

Limited Prep
Preparing journal volumes before being sent to the bookbindery (by collating, removing unwanted covers or ads, checking for foldouts and placing pages in desired order).

The space on a page outside the printed text area.. The four margins are commonly designated as: 1) head or top; 2) fore edge, outer or outside; 3) tail or bottom; 4) back, inner, inside or gutter.

A separate treatise or thesis on a single subject.

Music Bind
A binding style used for music which allows the material to open fully and lie flat.

New Case
When the existing binding is retained, sewing on new endsheets and casing into a new cover. Also new case-end sheets only.

Groups of pages are sewn together with the needles set at an angle, so that each new group is sewn onto the previous one..

A prefabricated board cover with a clear plastic front and cloth hinge, inside which materials (up to 1/4″ thick) are stapled or sewn.

A book with a flexible paper cover, usually adhesive bound.

That half of the lining paper which is pasted to the inner face of the cover.

A book whose cover is made with an inside pocket to house loose or unbound items.

A folding case for holding loose papers or similar material.

Pull Slip
The instruction sheet to pull a complete bindable serial unit produced on Innopac.

Polyvinyl acetate, a fast drying adhesive. Very long-lasting, transparent and flexible.

Covers constructed of binders board with buckram covering only the spine and 1/8th of each cover, cut flush.

The existing binding is removed, fan glued and cased into a new cover.

The existing text block is cased back into its original cover.

The right-hand page of an open book, usually bearing the odd page number.

Shaping the book back to be convex.

A group of leaves of a volume, suitable for sewing, usually about 1/2″ thick.

Two or more sheets of paper folded together as a group, and which when bound together with others, form the book.

The part of the book which faces outward when shelved.

To cut single signature issues greater than 6/8″ through the fold, before oversewing or fan gluing.

The bottom portion of the backbone of a bound volume.

Pieces of tape or strips of cloth attached to the covers, and to which sections are sewn to strengthen the binding.

The pages of a book, sewn or adhered into one unit.

Pasting a leaf (or leaves) into a bound book without using guards. Also called “tipping-in.”

Bound with an automated machine which sands, notches and fan glues. Requires a 3/8″ gutter, covers must not be high gloss, foldouts must not return into the gutter, and volume must be between 1/2 – 2″ thick.

The left-hand page in an open book, usually bearing the even page number.

Treatment for paperback books. The cover is removed, reinforce and laminated. The contents are fan glued and cased into the cover.


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