The history of book binding is filled with a rich collection of materials, styles, patterns and more. As an art form, book binding has gone through many evolutions through the years, from the earliest volumes off the printing press to modern printing techniques that allow for a precise and exact degree of control over the process with the benefit of digital technology. But we wouldn’t be where we are today without the efforts of book binders throughout the centuries, experimenting with binding techniques and handcrafting works of art that gave a prestige to books as a physical art form that they continue to have today.
Many of these examples of early book binding have been lost to the ages, but some remain, preserved in museums, libraries, and private collections. At Michigan State University’s library, a beautifully preserved special collection of books dating back to the 15th century offers a wonderful visual guide to the history and evolution of book binding up to the present day. Photos of a select number of books from the collection are available on the library’s website, along with descriptions of the materials and styles found in each binding, and how practices changed as the years went on. The website also notes the difficulty of dating some bindings, which may use techniques that were common in different centuries, or may have been rebound at some point in time. “Whatever the case, these books will show how the bindings of books have changed over time and offer an appreciation and celebration of the book as physical object.”
Advantage Book Binding has been in the book binding business since 1985, when we were founded on the principle “we do a quality book on time.” Since then we’ve seen plenty of changes both in and out of the industry. While some have sounded the death knell for books and other physical media, we believe that the fact that we continue to be an industry leader into the 21st century is a testament not only to our longevity as a company but to that of our craft. We think it’s important to keep books and physical media on the shelves, which is why we dedicate ourselves to providing you with the highest quality book binding and post press services available.