Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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broken ( broken back )

1. The tendency of a book to open readily at a place or places where the binding has been forced or strained, causing the book to lose its shape. This may be caused by: 1) improper opening of a new book that is tightly bound; 2) improper backing, which flattens the spine and affects its contour; 3) using paper with the grain running at right angles to the spine, resulting in leverage and causing THROW OUT of one or more sections; 4) sections, either with or without plates, that are too bulky, and are forced apart during backing, leaving ridges; and 5) the use of animal glue during the gluing process before rounding and backing, that is too cold or is not sufficiently flexible. In a TIGHT BACK leather binding, it may result in ridges appearing on the spine where the leather has been forced away from the paper. 2. A book broken completely through so that it is in two or more pieces. This generally occurs in relatively old books, particularly those of the 19th century, in which the paper and glue have become so embrittled and inflexible that when the book is opened, it breaks apart. (83 , 102 )

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