Review: DIY Bookbinding by Brian Sawyer

Cover for DIY BookbindingAs someone who loves to know how things are made, I was excited about the opportunity to read DIY Bookbinding by Brian Sawyer from O’Reilly Media. I wasn’t sure it would be information I would actually use, but the knowledge of how books are built is intriguing. However, after reading this short little tutorial, I am eager to try my hand at building a book!

This 32 page ebook is full of pictures and written explanations on how to rebind a magazine. The information can be adapted to many projects, but the example of magazine rebinding is probably something many people would like to do. It is a non-technical process. I guess I was a little surprised by that, but I shouldn’t have been. People have been binding books for years. The bigger surprise is that this book claims you can get all the supplies at a local hobby store. While there are products made specifically for book binding, I can easily imagine many substitutes for the actual products if your store doesn’t stock them.

After reading the book, the only thing I wished I knew more about is the types of paper or cloth that can be used to cover the binder’s boards. While the author gave some generalities of what to look for, I think more examples would have been helpful.

A couple of pictures in the book were not quite in focus. It is hard to take good close-up pictures with a cheap camera. But the author works directly for O’Reilly. It seems that they would have had photographers and good cameras to capture sharper images.

Those two critiques aside, this is a book I would highly recommend to anyone who is thinking of rebinding a book or magazine. While there certainly could be more said about the process than 32 pages can provide, this book gives you all the essentials. Armed with the information in this book I can confidently jump into a book binding project and expect good results.

DIY Bookbinding by Brian Sawyer. Ebook. O’Reilly Media, July 2011.

[Disclosure: I received a free review copy of this book.]

2 thoughts on “Review: DIY Bookbinding by Brian Sawyer”

  1. Thanks so much for your thoughtful review. If you have specific questions about what kind of paper or cloth you’re interested in using, I’d be happy to field them in an email.

    As for the quality of the photos, that was entirely up to me. You’re right that, if O’Reilly were involved from the beginning of the project, you should expect them to be more professionally done. But I completed the project and wrote the book on my own, only later thinking it might be something O’Reilly might be interested in publishing, at which point redoing the entire project for new photos wasn’t really an option for me.

    At any rate, I’m glad you enjoyed the book and am happy to hear it may have inspired you to experiment on your own.

    1. Thank you for stopping by Brian. I understand about the photos. I would hate to start a whole project again just to shoot pictures.

      When I get ready to do my bookbinding project I may contact you for more information on paper/cloth coverings.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.