Tips and Tools for Repairing Book Spines

Book preservation has never been more imperative than today given our world’s migration towards digital media. Regardless of whether you are a librarian, a teacher, or just an avid reader with a book collection—it can be hard not to notice some of the books you own are deteriorating with age. Most books face issues such as a gap between the pages and a spine, loose pages and covers, and a damaged book spine. When it comes to book repair, Chromalabel has the tools that can be incredibly helpful for repair such as book binding tape to rejuvenate the spine. Learn more about how you can use our product with some easy to follow tips and tools for repairing book spines.

Take Preventative Measures

Before we get into the different tips and tools for repairing book spines, you should make sure you take some preventative measures, so you never let a book get too deep in a hole with damage. Depending on the environment, preventative measures might be necessary to protect book jacket covers, pamphlet bindings, paperback reinforcement, and books more typically used in libraries.

Try To Catch Damage Early

Another tip to maintain a collection of books is to try and detect damage as early as possible, so the book repair process is easier to handle. The best way to catch book damage is for there to be regular inspection and communication with the patrons who are using the books, so you can take the necessary steps and do so correctly.

Gather the Necessary Materials

When you do spot any damage to a book and repair is required, the first thing you should do is gather all the materials you will need. Especially for book spine repair, you will need to take care of the book’s hinge with the following supplies:

  • Chromalabel book binding tape
  • Non-acid adhesive
  • Brushes
  • Waxed paper
  • Large rubber bands
  • Scissors
  • Flat piece of plastic

Book Spine Repair Steps:

Now that you have all the supplies to repair a book’s spine, you can move onto the actual repair process. Follow these steps for book hinge repair:

  1. Cut Book Binding Tape: The first step you will need to take is to cut off a piece of the binder tape and make sure it is equal to the height of the text block or contents inside of the book. The reason being is because the text block will be shorter than the cover, so when your tape is the same size, you won’t have any extra tape to spare.
  2. Add Adhesive: The next step is to apply the non-acid adhesive to one side of the tape evenly with a brush. Then, place the adhesive to the text block and spine. The key to executing this step correctly is making sure you are holding the tape with its dry tabs and ensuring it matches up with the stitching of the text block’s edge. The part of tape with the adhesive should be placed on the text block’s first page, and the other should be applied on the text block’s spine. After completing these steps, use a flat piece of plastic and rub it against the tape to make sure it sticks to the text block.
  3. Let It Dry: Once you are done inserting the adhesive into the book, you now need to play the waiting game. Let the adhesive dry either for a few hours or overnight. The adhesive will be dry when you are able to run your finger of the top of the tape and not feel any wetness.
  4. Use Waxed Paper: The next step requires you to take your waxed paper and lie it on top of the text block and in the spine. The waxed paper should already be placed on top of the binder tape that you’ve already glued onto the book’s text block and under the binder tape that hasn’t been glued yet.
  5. Apply Adhesive To the Tabs: After applying the adhesive to the other two tabs, you will carefully bring the cover up so the edge fits alongside the seam of the binder tape.
  6. Press the Spine Against the Tab: Once you do that, press the spine against the tab that is parallel to the spine (between the spine and the text block). When you pull the cover up, the spine should lie flat against the tab if you make it through this step correctly.
  7. Run Plastic Along the Hinge: Now that you have successfully pressed the spine against the tab, take the flat piece of plastic and smooth it out. This will make sure the tab is lying flat against the cover. After smoothing out the tab, you should then close the book. Then take your flat piece of plastic and go against the spin to make sure the tabs sick to the spine properly.
  8. Keep the Book Tight With Rubber Bands: You have now made it to the end! The final tip for repairing a book’s hinge is to take two large rubber bands and use them to help the adhesive dry and even overnight. Ensure the tabs are flat against the text block and the spine. The next day, you can take the rubber bands off once the adhesive is dry, remove the waxed paper, and open the book delicately by flipping through pages so the book can adjust to the repair you just completed. If you notice that some pages are uneven, then you will want to use sandpaper.

One could argue that the integrity of a book lies within the spine because it holds all the words of knowledge and escape together. Unfortunately, time can be cruel to books, but if you care enough, you can keep it in good condition for a long time.

The key to book preservation is making sure you have all the necessary supplies readily available to you when the time comes. That is where Chromalabel can help with our book binding tape that can protect a spine with archival-safe and PH-Neutral adhesives. To preserve the appearance of the book and blend the repair, you can also choose between our clear tapes or the 11 colors of Bookguard™ Premium Cloth repair tape. Browse our diverse collection of repair tape that can aid in the salvation of books that fall into any size, shape, cover, genre, and condition today! Still not sure which product to pick?

Update from April 2021

This book repair tape can also protect new books that you know will be getting used every day, such as school books or books in your office. We have several articles and videos on the the best book repair process, but if you have specific questions give us a call at (800) 256-0435 and we will help you pick the best product for you!

 

 

Tips and Tools for Repairing Book Spines