Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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A written, usually legally binding, offer of a bookbinder, generally the owner of a bindery, but sometimes an individual bookbinder, to bind the books of another for a certain price, either by the individual book or by lot. A bid may be negotiated in any of several manners, usually according to the wishes of the customer. The binder may quote a flat price for all materials submitted for binding, regardless of style or format; he may quote two prices, one for serial publications or serial-format materials and another price, usually lower, for monographs and similar materials; he may bid on all work according to the height of the trimmed and cased work, e.g., up to and including 8 inches, over 8 inches and including 10 inches, etc., usually with an additional charge for extra thickness, e.g., greater than 2 1/2 inches; he may quote a flat rate for materials according to type, i.e., textbooks, fiction, reference books, theses, etc.; or, he may quote according to both height and format, e.g., 8, 10, 12 inches, etc., serials, 8, 10, 12 inches, etc., monographs, and so on. A bid may also include a stipulation (and a quote) of extra charges, as for example, hand sewing, pockets, stubbing, scoring, guarding, etc.

In extra (hand) binding, on the other hand, the binder will generally quote an estimated price for the individual book, or for a specified group of books, with the understanding that the final price (which to a great degree will depend on the amount of time spent on each book) may be higher or lower.

Assuming there is no decrease in the quality of the binding provided, and that the binder adheres faithfully to the specifications, the advantage of a bid situation is that the library may enjoy lower prices for its binding. The disadvantages, however, probably outweigh any monetary saving. Bookbinding, whether by a company or an individual, is essentially a service and not a commodity, and a successful binding program, i.e., one that is designed to preserve a collection over the long run, depends more on mutual cooperation and recognition as to the purpose of the library, as well as what the binder can and cannot do, than on any possible savings resulting from a low bid.

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