These pictures show you a basic book-cloth under-back repair, this repair can be done in both book-cloth and leather. Your books usually looks like the picture to the left, covers falling off, text block (pages) coming out, individual pages coming out, spine of text block broken, even spine cover missing etc.
The repair is call an "Under-back Repair, this is a very common repair, I pull the book down to the bare text block, (the pages) and the back and front covers separated from the spine, I then strip off all the old linings of the old spine to inspect the sewing of the pages, and repair the sewing and or pages if necessary. If it is a book that has had perfect binding, where all the pages are single sheets and glued (much like a paperback book) instead of being folded sections that are sewn and glued together, if perfect bound, I actually hand stitch these together to reinforce the binding to prevent them ever falling out, as this is a common occurrence in perfect bound books.
If all ok I then re-paste traditional linings like cheese cloth and mull and other paper linings, making the spine stronger and able to last decades if not a life time or longer, if the cover spine is missing then a new spine is made for the book to fit perfectly and then the covers are re attached to this using the under-back method, if you still have the original cover spine it is thinned out and pasted over the top of the new spine so when the book is complete it still looks like the old one, but in much better shape and a lot stronger than it ever has before.
This type of repair can start at around $185.00 to $225.00 and the price will be higher depending on the condition of the book and what I have to do to make it last a life time. The binding can take around 5 to 6 hours in total to do, I charge $55.00 per hour for my labor, the cost of materials is very minimal, I can quote on your book with some photos emailed to me, I am around 85% accurate the more photos you email the more accurate I will be. When I see the book in person I will then be able to confirm this quote, I think my hourly rate is a very reasonable one as most car mechanics will sting you $120 per hour for their labour, and your car repair will not last as long as your book repair will, no where near it.
Can't afford it, don't worry, if your not in a hurry to get the books back I can restore them over a period of time and you can pay a small affordable amount at a time, I have done this for the assistance some pensioners and others in the past. And please don't forget to get another quote, but make sure they are a Professional Bookbinder, they will do their best as they know what they are doing, be careful using the services of a Hobby Bookbinder, I have had to repair many books that have had a repair attempt, and most times its not pretty, most books are your treasured memories and they should be only left in the hands of someone that knows what they are doing.
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Milton Watkins, Bookbinder
Formally known as Ballarat Bookbinding & Specialist Printing Est.1998