The History of Book Binding

The books that we receive today via printing services in NH are bound and perfect. Whether you look at a hardcover book or a paperback, you can see the stitching and understand that they are well-made. Many of us believe that the binding is done by machine, which is partially correct. Today, some devices can help bind many books, especially reference books. You can get the books that you need at a faster pace and unlimited amounts. However, it was not always that easy.


Before books, as we know them today, one of the most common forms of “books” according to Encyclopaedia Britannica, were scrolls. They were common for hundreds of years before the introduction of the codex. A codex was a leather bound book stitched by hand. These codexes usually had elaborate decorations, since they got used for church altars at the time. The creation of books was expensive, so it was limited to those who could afford it and the church. The Coptic Church in Egypt were the first to own the decorated leather and art for their monasteries. As things continued to develop, we eventually received automated bookbinding as well.

Hand Binding

Today, hand binding gets reserved for select groupings in need of binding during printing services in NH. Hand binding usually is used for:


  • Fine toiled bindings
  • Binding reference books or books made of unique economic or personal value
  • Repairs to rare manuscripts, early printed books, or historical documents.


Machine bookbinding, however, is the standard method of binding books today. Also known as casing in, this process happens through tools that are either automatic or semi-automatic. In this form, the bookbinding starts by folding the sheets into their respective sections. End sheets, the blank sheets at the beginning and end of the book, may be attached here. When bookbinding, parts of the books are stitched or glued together. With big books, such as reference books, they are what is called side sewn, which means holes get drilled and sewn through the holes. These are the methods for a hardcover book. For many paperback books, they usually have combination machines that will eliminate the separation needed for each operation as with hardcover books.


Bookbinding has come a long way. The interesting thing about bindings as we move forward is that they look to be more durable. Many times, books are not meant for photocopying, as teachers need them and the spine of the book can crack. The future of book binding may find a way to fix these problems as modern bookbinding has made it more efficient and faster to get the books out in seemingly unlimited quantities. Bookbinding is something that many of us take for granted when we walk into a bookstore. It has not always been there, and it is something that will continue to grow and get better as we find ways to help salvage the spines of books and improve our printing services in NH.