Judging a job by its cover: The bookbinder

An advertisement for R.W. Pridham, bookbinder and paper box manufacturer, from The Los Angeles Daily Herald, October 07, 1884.

The job: Bookbinders worked, by hand, to assemble multiple pages to form paper books. The process could involve stitching or gluing loose pages together, and then binding that to heavy carton for a hardcover book. The cover might also be covered in leather, and then imprinted with gold foil for the titles.

Killed by: Modern bookbinding machines. The industry moved to mass produce books on a large scale. Furthermore, with the introduction of e-readers and tablet computers, e-books are becoming more commonly used. Bookbinding by hand is rare today unless done by an artisan or independent self-publisher. In an interview from 2011, a bookbinder spoke to the website BoingBoing about the difficulties of modern bookbinding in the digital age.

About the author

Chau Tu is the former assistant web producer for Marketplace.
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