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!

Recent Posts

Criticism Isn't Free

CR is dedicated to thoughtful, in-depth criticism without regard to what's commercially appealing. It takes tens of hours each month to provide this. Please help make this sort of writing sustainable, either with a subscription or a one-time donation. Thank you!

You could also purchase one of my acclaimed ebooks.

1 Comment

Got Something To Say:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


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


The Surrender is Veronica Scott Esposito’s “collection of facts” concerning how she embraced her true gender.


Two long essays of 10,000 words each on sex in—and out of—literature . . .

The first essay dives in to Nicholson Baker’s “sex trilogy,” explaining just what Baker is up to here and why these books ultimately fail to be as sexy as Baker might wish.

From there the book moves on to the second essay, which explains just why Spaniard Javier Marías does right what Baker does wrong . . .


5 essays. 2 interviews.

All in all, over 25,000 words of Latin American literary goodness.

3 never-before-published essays, including “The Digression”—a 4,000-word piece on the most important digression in César Aira’s career.

Shop though these links = Support this site

Copyright © 2018. Powered by WordPress & Romangie Theme.