Bookbinding

Whilst today books are often mass produced with strong cardboard used as a hard covering, in the past it was a craft that took time and care. Books were bound in leather and often enhanced with tooling and blind stamps, with gilt titling and decoration. Today beautifully bound books such as these are much sought after. Unfortunately over time these books become worn and their condition deteriorates.

We offer a complete bookbinding service including restoration, conservation and repair: whether all thats needed is a simple repair in order to have the book in such a state that is able to be handled and read, or if you require a book to be rebound to certain specifications in order to match a set. All work is undertaken by a master craftsman using traditional methods and equipment, and every effort is made to ensure that as much of the original binding and features is preserved. For example, in cases where the spine has become detached, it can be re-backed so that the original spine is relayed on top of the new binding. We can repair or rebind in both leather and cloth, and also offer paper restoration to the pages, restoration of dust jackets and the construction of slip cases.

Arbelave Library Buckram (cloth) is the market leading Buckram in the UK. It is the preferred choice by all leading universities and specified by The British Library, La Biblioteque National De France among others. We offer colour swatches in order to match your exact specification or to get the cloth as close in shade to the original as possible. With regards to leather, we offer a traditional hand binding service using natural calf or goat skin leather, creating books with traditional laced in boards on a hollow back.

A common misconception that can make individuals reluctant to send their books to a book binder is when they own a beautiful 16th/17th century book and whilst it is in a state of disrepair, they do not wish to have it restored and have a book returned to them that looks modernised . We specialise in conservation which involves keeping as much of the existing boards and spine as is salvageable and working in similar (if not the same) materials to carefully result in a book that is as close to the original as possible. A rebound book that was in poor condition to begin with does not lose its value but enhances it.

Often we are given books which have a lot of sentimental value, family bibles for instance which have been passed down generations. Otherwise we receive books that people have had since they were children, or books that were previously well thumbed but unfortunately no longer used because they are falling to pieces. With some care and attention we can restore these books to their former glory in order to allow them to be enjoyed for another 100 years to come.

Not all of our work involves restoring antiquarian books however; we are able to do case bindings in the circumstance where someone has a collection of magazines for example, which both keeps them together and in good condition. Boxes, solander boxes and slipcases are another option for valuable books such as first editions to protect them and keep them in as pristine condition as possible. Essentially we can create a book out of any paper format, we were recently commissioned to print and set out over 150 pages worth of email correspondence between mother and daughter. The end result was a cloth binding with pages that could be flicked through at their own leisure; that was clearly of sentimental importance. This principle can be applied to most anything, old family photo albums perhaps or old wartime letters, diaries, romantic correspondence as a wedding day gift to a future husband or wife, or thesis bindings ready to be submitted.

Please contact us for a quotation, nothing will be immediately discounted and we will do our best to achieve exactly the result you are after.

Visit our bookbinding gallery to see some examples of our work


Wisden Cricketers' Almanack

Wisden Cricketers' Almanack

The Leading Dealers.
We are proud of the broad spectrum of Wisdens we have to offer with a wide range of years, bindings and conditions available.

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Featured Books

Featured Books

The Stunning still housed in the original wrapping complete Harry Potter set Seven Volumes. All signed Examples. We add to our collection on a daily basis, so don't miss out on our new arrivals. Find here our latest and finest acquisitions from the past month.
Covid-19 Re-Opening

Covid-19 Re-Opening

St Mary's Books - We are now Open again we hope to see 

Updated 02/09/2020

Monday - Friday 9.30 am - 5.00 pm 

Saturday 9.30 am - 5.30 pm

Sunday 10.00 am 4.00 pm 

or Online stmarysbooks.com 

We will be opening at 9.00 am from the 11th September 2020 for weekdays and Saturdays.

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