Bookbinding for Amateurs

Early last week the website I check for weather forecasts had a Special Weather Statement notice. If you clicked the link, you got a page which started like this:

A couple of days later this was the view from my downstairs studio window:

Winter is here. It should be easier to stay inside and get some work done, as my bicycle riding is over until next Spring.

In September I mentioned that I would write occasional posts about other people’s books. Today’s post is not a review as such. It is just an introduction to the oldest volume in my collection of books on the book arts — Bookbinding for Amateurs, W. J. E. Crane, L. Upcott Gill, London, 1906(?).

I acquired this book a few years ago from a friend who had purchased it second-hand in England when he was a young man. Although one could certainly learn to bind books from it, I mostly keep it as an historical document.

The preface gives the reader a taste of the author’s style and approach.

The Table of Contents indicates the breadth of subject matter,

and the 156 engravings supplement the text.

An illustration on page 78 even shows a tool I have not encountered anywhere else.

One of the delights (for me at least) with older books such as this is the inclusion of paid advertisements at the beginning and end of the book. Presumably this practice helped to keep the purchase price of the volume lower. I was particularly pleased to find the ad for the precursor to Foyles. Although listings of the book on the Internet show the publication date as early as 1885, the Foyles Charing Cross location only opened in 1906.

Bookbinding for Amateurs was sufficiently popular that it was reprinted at least once. There are a few copies available, but should you wish to own one as a source of information or for historical interest rather than as a collectable, you can find it as an ebook or print-on-demand title here.



About Byopia Press

I have been working in the book arts field for more than twenty years, and operating Byopia Press with my husband David since the late 1990s. I began producing artist's books and altered books in 2004.
This entry was posted in book arts, bookbinding, instructions, publishing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Bookbinding for Amateurs

  1. Lestaret says:

    What an excellent book! I love these old volumes of wisdom; lots of very specific information delivered in the voice of the period. Just a little jealous…


    • Byopia Press says:

      I suspect there are still a few copies floating around in Britain, possibly at fairly reasonable prices, especially for later editions. (I did spot one like mine on the web, though it was considerably more expensive than what I paid.)


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