General Question

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

What is library binding?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (32292points) November 4th, 2013

Occasionally when I shop online for a book, one purchasing option will be library binding, and it’s generally much more expensive than other bindings.

What is it and why the cost?

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9 Answers

janbb's avatar

You don’t see it much any more but it is better quality and supposed to be more durable – for library use. Don’t know the specific details of what the binding process entails though.

Smitha's avatar

Library binding is a way to increase the life of books and periodicals used in libraries. This is done by sewing the pages in place and by reinforcing the spine for each volume. They are more durable than a paperback, but may not look as nice as proper hardcovers and typically lack dust jackets or anything like that.

ETpro's avatar

If you are only going to read a book one or two times, there’d be no point in paying the extra for the library binding.

glacial's avatar

@Smitha is spot on. Most picture books for children which are released in hardcover are simultaneously released in library binding.

However, if you are shopping for adult books (I mean, books for adults, not X-rated books!) and finding an expensive library binding edition, this is probably not the same thing @Smitha described. It might be a large print edition, or it might be a self-publishing scam. If you like, send me a link to an example, and I can probably give you more information about this.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@ETpro & @glacial There’s no need to worry. This isn’t a question about whether or not I should buy a book with library binding. It is as asked.

Most books I buy now are in ebook format.

elbanditoroso's avatar

It’s when a librarian who is into BDSM takes you home.

Seriously – it means that spine stitching (books are sewn at the spine) is tighter – more stitiches, and likely a haever or more durable thread.

It also means that instead of cardboard or plastic cover, the cover is made of buckra, which used to be durable leather but is not a word for as thicker and higher grade of some plastic derivative.

Bottom line – book is better constructed.

bea2345's avatar

A library binding guarantees that the book will outlast many borrowings. Now that libraries are buying paperbacks, titles with library bindings tend to stay on the shelf. What this means is that the hard bound books are frequently available when the paperbacks are not. Over the long haul, the hard backed, stitched book with a durable cover is economic sense if the title is likely to be needed for more than a few years.

glacial's avatar

What I find curious in @Hawaii_Jake‘s description is the “much more expensive” part. Generally, books produced in library binding such as described here are rather close to the regular edition in retail price. The difference is usually in the discount offered by the publisher, but this is a cost not typically seen by a retail customer. Unless Amazon is bumping up the retail to make up for the loss, in which case it might be possible to get it cheap from another retailer.

Of course, as others have pointed out, they’re often less attractive to own than the regular edition, so maybe it’s not worth pursuing.

austinclarke13's avatar

Library binding refers to the hardcover binding of serials and paperback books intended for the rigors of library use. Though many publishers have started to provide “library binding” editions, many libraries elect to purchase paperbacks and have them rebound as hardcover books, resulting in longer life for the material.It is costly as it is made for special purpose such as stitched signatures, sewn-on four-cord thread, strong endpapers, and backlining extended into the boards.

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