Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Handmade Book vs. the Machine Made Book

By Bexx of whitesparrowbindery

The Industrial Revolution drastically changed the world of books. Advances in both printing and papermaking methods meant that books could be produced faster and cheaper, and bookbinders struggled to keep up with demand. Mechanization was slowly introduced into book production, however many aspects of the trade continued to be carried out by hand into the early 20th century.

Today, nearly all commercially bound books are produced by machine. In order to make books affordable, they are produced quickly and cheaply. In many cases, quality, durability, and functionality have pushed aside in order to keep costs down and profits up.

Here’s an example of a modern machine made book. Like most modern books, the pages are simply glued together with little or no reinforcement. This type of biding is very weak. With use, the glue on the spine cracks, and the pages begin to fall out. The book shown above is only 6 years old, and the pages are already falling out.

By contrast, the pages of this book from 1803 were stitched together by hand. 207 years later, the binding is still completely sound!

There are many different ways of sewing a book, but the overriding principle is the same – a strong, durable means of keeping the pages together. The above examples illustrate why all of the books we make at White Sparrow Bindery are sewn by hand (yes, even the minis!). We use traditional binding methods and high quality materials, ensuring that our products are made to last.

To see some examples of our work, please check visit our etsy shop.

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