Easy BookBinding, by Nathan DeStephano, is the most current and complete resource I have found for learning how to print and bind your own trade paperback and case bound hardcover books. [UPDATE: This book is no longer available.]
However, this book is NOT for everyone. It is NOT written for the book arts enthusiast who wants to study the centuries old craft of hand made books. It is also NOT written for those wanting to make arts and crafts projects. If that is what you want, here are a few much better resources:
- The Complete Book of Bookbinding
- Book Arts: Beautiful Bindings for Handmade Books
- Bookbinding for Book Artists
Easy BookBinding is written for the self-publishing author and people who want to bind the many electronic books that are piling up on their computers. It will teach you to make trade paperbacks and case-bound hardcover books cheap and fast. These are the most common styles of books you find at your local bookstore.
Personally, I get lots of e-books every month and like to have hard copies of the good ones to read during my commute to work and make notes in. I also like to download public domain classics from the Project Gutenberg website and create printed copies for my library. Occasionally, I make collections of my photos to share with family and friends (this option has become much more popular since the birth of my daughter!) You may have a collection of poems or short stories that you want to share. Whatever your reason, finding good information on bookbinding is challenging.
If you are like me, you have spent many hours searching the Internet looking for information about creating paperbacks and hardcover books. Most of the websites out there are just copies of 100+ year old books that teach complex methods involving specialized tools and time consuming techniques – how many people really want to sew together a book? (I just wanted to make a plain old paperback.)
Most sites I found that taught more modern methods are either badly done or don’t show enough detail to get you through the whole process. You have to get a little info here and a little more there and invent your own method through trial and error. Saving you from wasting time experimenting is where the real value of Easy BookBinding shines through.
Easy BookBinding takes you step-by-step through the entire book creation process. There are tutorials for using a free page layout program (and information on where to get it) to design the cover and interior of your book. Three different binding methods are explained and there is even a set of plans for building your own binding jig to speed up your process.
Easy BookBinding does not leave you with general descriptions of the process and rough sketches. Every step is shown in detail with screen captures and high quality 3D images along with measurements in imperial and metric units so the information is useful around the world.
The biggest downside of the book is the price. It’s a little on the expensive side – $49 US as of this writing. I resisted buying it for months and set about trying to figure everything out by myself. If I added up all of the hours I wasted trying to find the information that is available inside Easy BookBinding and multiplied it by the minimum wage, I am sure the number would be 10 times the cost of the book (and there was a trick for making laminated paperback covers that I had not heard before.)
Easy BookBinding is a practical step-by-step guide to making your own trade paperbacks and case-bound hardcover books. I recommend it to anyone looking to shortcut the learning curve and start making high quality books.