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Getting 7-year-old's book bound

Oct 2011

My 7 year old has been working very hard at writing a book for about a month and my guess is that it will be done in a few more weeks and be about 100 pages long. He wants it turned into a regular book. Has anyone ever done this?

I know I can scan the pages and then get Shutterfly to print them but is this the best way to go? Is there someone who will take the actual pages he made and turn those into a book? Any downsides to this? I like the idea of him having the actual pages he drew on rather than a scan of them. I don't think I want a spiral bound book but maybe this is a good idea? I don't think it will seem very official to him. I'd like to keep it under $100 if possible.

This isn't a book that (probably) anyone else would ever want to read and he doesn't want to circulate it but he's worked so hard on it that I'd like him to be able to keep it for posterity. We don't need multiple copies. Suggestions? Anon

I highly recommend Pettingell Book Bindery in Berkeley. Over the years, I have had several cherished books rebound, as well as a similar project to your son's bound. I have been amazed and delighted with the fine results. Bookbinding is a lost art. Klaus is a craftsman and his work is impeccable and reasonably priced. Contact info is: Pettingell Book Bindery 2181 Bancroft Way Berkeley, CA 94704 (510) 845-3653 Love my Books
I highly recommend Ulli at Pettingell Book Bindery in downtown Berkeley. Website is here: If you take in the pages, I'm sure he can give you options for completing your project. He rebound an antique Mother Goose for me quite beautifully. Jeanne
That's really great that your 7-year-old has been so prolific. I would scan the pages, so that you have a master backup on your computer and then for the originals consider the wonderful mom-and-pop Pettingell bookbindery near Bancroft/Benvenue. It's a bit pricey but definitely under $100, and the book will be nicely leather bound... What a wonderful keepsake this will be. Is it a fairy tale or a non- fiction? What inspired him to write it, if you don't mind my asking? tabsweb
Google ''stab binding'' and look at the many tutorials for Japanese stab book bindings. This will only work if he left a margin for the fold, but you could conceivably have him paste the pages onto larger paper for that, as long as his sheets aren't double sided.

You need to be realistic about how ''posterity'' you can get though if he didn't use acid free paper.

The Bay Area is a mecca for hand bookbinders -- you might contact the book binding society and seek advice there. good luck

Disclaimer first: my husband works for this company! But I wanted to give a shout-out to Tikatok (, an online platform for kids to publish and share books. You could scan all the pages and use those, including the hand-written text portions, or type the text in and just scan the images to create a book for your son. You can keep the end result private, I believe, and can have just one copy printed. I'm biased, obviously, but it's a really great site. My own son at 3 is still too young, but my niece and nephew were some of the early test pilots, so to speak, and they absolutely loved the process and end result. Hope that helps! Becky
most copy/print shops do simple binding. a spiral or comb binding would be easy, but they may be able to use other techniques if the pages are in good condition. glueless
Don't do Shutterfly--it's the wrong tool for the job. Go to a digital printing shop. I avoid Kinko's as being unreliable. Try calling a couple of independent or small-chain stores, explain what you want, and ask the price.

I've done this for myself after participating in National Novel Writing Month, but I'm also a graphic designer. I designed a cover, laid out my book, and then delivered a PDF file to the store. I'm assuming you're working in Word. A couple of tips: set up the page size as the finish size (maybe you want the book to be 8.5 x 5.5 inches, for example); at the end of chapters, use the page break feature, don't just use extra returns (ever!) to move to the next page; ask the printer's advice about how to do the cover; ask for it to be perfect-bound so it will look like a paperback novel; deliver it as a PDF if you can; look at real books and notice how they do things, with the inside title page, etc. to make the whole book look more real; pick a decent typeface.

It's totally worth this. I really encourage you to do it! You'll definitely spend less than $100 and you can even have extra copies made for that price--the main cost is in the set-up fee for a job this small.

Here's one suggestion: You said your son's book is about 100 pages. I recently created a book that was exactly 100 pages and I just bought a nice-looking binder and 50 ''sheet protectors'', then put the pages together. It worked great! This might be easier and cheaper than actually having your book bound. Good luck with whatever you decide! Sharon

Career in Book binding/restoration

Jan 2010

I have been considering a career in Book Binding and Restoration for a while now and was wondering if anyone out there has any advice on how to go about learning this craft and what the employment options are in the bay area? I have considered working with Anne Kahel at Capricorns but need to be employable with in a year or two and am not sure that is a good option. Thanks for the help.

Here is a link to AIC, the professional organization for Conservation Professionals in the US. There is lots of information on education in book conservation. I believe the main program is at UT Austin, but programs in Paper Conservation at the other graduate training programs cover some work in books as well. Good Luck Tricia
There is an excellent book binding/structures/boxes course offered at City College San Francisco which starts this semester. Check out the City College San Francisco site for details and registration; classes are very popular and might be full. The teacher has taught in Europe and in the US and I found out that one can still attend the first day and no- shows/ cancellations, may mean that you can get into the class. Best regards. Emily
Have you tried the Center for the Book in San Francisco? I took several bookbinding classes there (years ago) & they were really great. I am a book-maker for fun & art, but it seemed that they offered classes along a whole spectrum...from super-technical to more casual. Good Luck!

Bookbinder for antique book

Aug 2008

I'm looking for a bookbinder/book restorer for a lovely old book that belonged to my grandfather. The leather binding has fallen apart and the tissues between plates needs to be replaced. Some cleaning needs to be done too. Any recommendations? Book Lover

I was very happy with the work done binding a book by Pettingell Bindery, on Bancroft Way (the north side), just past the intersection with Oxford Street, near the Berkeley campus. Their number is: 2181 Bancroft Way, (510) 845-3653. I asked the rare book dealer at Moe's to recommend a book binder, and he said that there are others in the Bay Area, but that Pettingell was the cheapest. My book cost about $170 to have bound, and took about a week. The final result was quite attractive--you can choose your own cover binding material and any gold stamping or ornamentation you want. Jim

Restoration for treasured book

March 2004

I am looking for a book restoration shop that can revive my book of rhymes and poems, that my Mom read to me and my brother. Can anybody recommend this kind of service? Thanks! Natalia

Many years ago, someone I know was taking a bookbinding class at Mills. I hooked her up with another friend who needed a book rebound. He paid her for the materials and a bit more and both were quite satisfied. You might check in with Mills to see if they still offer this class and whether there might be a student to connect you with. Good luck. Jennie
A few suggestions: 1) Pettingell Bookbinders, 2181 Bancroft in Berkeley, 510-845-3653, 2) Taurus Bookbinders, also in Berkeley, though I'm not sure where -- somewhere around 7th St.?, 3) Contact the San Francisco Center for the Book -- they can probably direct you to a good person, 4) Contact Bay Area Book Artists -- these are mostly artists, but some of their members are also professional binders.

If all else fails, you could contact Special Collections in the campus libraries at Berkeley or Stanford, or the Rare Book librarians at the SF Main Library and ask them to recommend someone. Lauren

Try Pettingill book bindery on Bancroft Avenue just below Oxford (north side of the street). It's an old-fashioned place and the guy there does everything from restorations to binding PhD dissertations. adriane