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Education And Training

Gouey thinks that someone who wants to learn bookbinding should find a good bookbinding school. “There are only a few schools where one would learn basics of the trade. Keep in mind that it requires a long time and a lot of practice to master this trade. If school is not an option,” says Gouey, “there are bookbinding guilds in most states. Start with a basic program, and buy instructive books on both the history and the practice of bookbinding.” It is also helpful—but not always necessary—to be knowledgeable in the areas of art, art history, basic geometry, chemistry, calculus, time management, and communication, Gouey says.

While there is a lot to learn about bookbinding, Gouey feels that anyone gifted with good hand-eye coordination has the aptitude for it. “The skills are acquired with practice,” says Gouey. He also says that a person must be imaginative and able to solve problems from start to finish. “Patience and artistic curiosity are only some of the needed virtues of the successful bookbinder, along with good ethical values, respect for the past, open-mindedness, and thirst for learning,” says Gouey.

Forwarding and Finishing

Forwarding is the process of assembling a book. It includes folding the leaves of paper into pages and sewing them together. It also involves constructing the cover and attaching the pages and endpapers to it. Finishing refers to embellishing the cover with the book's title and decoration. Finishing can include tooling the cover, or adding inlays, onlays, or any other technique the bookbinder chooses.

Denis has advice for students considering bookbinding careers: “Stick with simple but traditional structures. Make sure you understand the principles of a sound binding. Buy some books on the topics. Join a discussion group on the Internet.”

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