Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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subway test

A test designed to simulate the distortion imparted to a paperbound book by a reader holding it in one hand with covers touching. The volume is bent through 360° to bring its covers back to back. If a leaf becomes detached, the volume fails the test. In flattening a book in preparation for use in most copying machines, a book also undergoes a partial distortion, so that the subway test, with its resultant stresses on the binding, is valid, at least to a limited extent, in determining the durability of the binding. The test, nevertheless, is subjective and care must be taken that it is conducted by the same trained individual every time in order to avoid operators' variables as much as possible. The name of the test derives from the habit some (standing) public transit riders have of holding the overhead strap or bar with one hand while holding a book (usually a paperback) in the other. See also: PAGE FLEX TEST .

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