Glue-Haters Unite!

I love to buy used books. I particularly love to rummage through enormous bins full of dirt-cheap paperbacks. What could be better than a few hours digging through heaps of cheap, used literature?

But the scourge of any used-book lover’s treasured discovery is the fear that your wonderful bargain will one day break in two as a frail glue binding fails.

I hate glue bindings.

And I am not alone. Caleb Crain has put together a wonderful biography/critical thrashing of books that are glued together.

I have been gently counseled by book designers that my hatred may not be entirely justified. In fact, they say, there are glue bindings and there are glue bindings. “Hot melt” glues are indeed shoddy, I am told, but some “cold melt” glues are thought to be quite durable if they are applied via “double fan binding,” a process so named because it involves fanning the pages in first one direction, then the other. I hasten to say that all this may be true; I’m no expert. But it doesn’t matter.

No, it really doesn’t. Please, for the love of God and all that is holy, bind your books with thread. It’s the way nature intended books to be made.

And lest you don’t believe, go read Crain’s blog post and see his pictures!



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I am totally and 100% in agreement. Someone ought to develop a cheaper process of stitching the block.

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