A useful 1982 reference book, Bookbinding and the Conservation of books: A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, by Matt T. Roberts and Don Etherington. From the Foreword:

The text of the present book is not a history of bookbinding—although there is a great deal of history about the craft contained herein, and it also discusses the materials used, the notable binders whose names illuminate it, and other useful information. It is rather an up-to-date dictionary.
The succinct definitions and explanations, as well as the biographical vignettes, contained in this dictionary will be a boon to those who seek this kind of information. Those concerned, whether they are practicing binders, technicians, rare book librarians, collectors, or simply laymen, will find this a welcome source of answers to their questions. Not the least of these is the one frequently asked of me during my long service in the Library of Congress as Chief of the Rare Book Division. How can I best treat the leather bindings in my personal library ? But this is only one of the thousands of questions to which this dictionary provides the ready answers. The text speaks accurately and helpfully to all those who will seek it out and profit from the immense amount of information it presents in a lucid and comprehensible form.
FREDERICK R. GOFF Honorary Consultant in Early Printed Books Library of Congress

Courtesy of ElizaD at Wordorigins.


  1. For decades I’ve thought it would be very easy to pre-groove the spines of paperback books so as to make them much harder to damage with cracking.
    I’m baffled no publisher does this.

  2. Rennee, are you reading this?

  3. When I was in library school I kept a list of new terminology I encountered in lectures and assigned readings. The only one I still remember is “anthropodermic bibliopegy.”

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