Don’t Judge a Book by It’s Cover

Do you ever wonder where the saying came from? “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” I’m sure that in the book binding business they don’t say that. The art of book binding has evolved over many years. Scribes in the earliest days wrote on palm leaves that were etched and stained with ink which would leave indentations that were visible. The western writers used bark and leaves for most of their writing but important documents were written on papyrus and rolled and stored in cubbyholes, similar to today’s wine racks.
The Egyptians discovered a method to fold the paper and write on both of the sides and fasten the paper together with a method of sewing the book through the folds. Wooden boards held the book together and it was kept in a goatskin to protect it from the elements. The first books that were actually made of paper had flat spines and over time the humidity would cause the papers to expand and the spine to be contorted so the book took on a wedge shaped appearance. Heavy boards were used to hold the paper together and ties were used to bind the book. Over time the spines were made more round which eliminated the effect the humidity had on the papers of the book. The first books that resemble the book binding of today was developed in Morocco around the 15th century. The books were bound with leather spines and silk threads were used to sew the pages together. About mid century in the 15th century with the invention of the printing press the books were made lighter and more portable than ever. Bibles were made with tissue thin paper and the covers were flexible which made the Bibles easier for missionaries to travel all over the world with them.
Until about the mid 20th century books were covered with cloth. Book binding from the mid 20th century and later used clothette a pseudo cloth which is really a paper. Cardboard was adopted for the hardcover books and the books no longer had threads sewn in the folds like the earlier books had been done.
Different types of modern book binding are the punch and bind technique, which encompasses double wire binding, comb binding, velobind, spiral binding, proclick and zipbind. Thermal binding techniques include perfect pinding, thermal binding, tape binding and unibind. The other type of binding in modern books is stitch binding. Stapling through the center fold is called saddle-stitching and American comic books use this type of binding.