Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Reader's Question

"I have a bit of a strange question that I wondered if you or your readers might have an answer for. Does anyone have any good ideas on how to reinforce a paperback Bible? Originally I was trying to make due with my Lighthouse App with the Ignatius Study Bible add on, and my Ignatius Study Bible NT, since for various reasons I never recieved my paperback bible during RCIA last year, but I mostly was figuring I only had to make due until October when the Didache Study Bible was supposed to be out. Well of course I found out it was postponed thanks to your blog, and I've also in the meantime finally recieved said paperback Bible through a retreat at church. I have always been scared to death to try to use paperback Bibles because they tear up and get bent so easily (I still can see one from a youth convention in 1996 in my mind all torn up from attempting to use it as my school Bible) - but I didn't know if anyone had any ideas that would at least make it usable at home? And prevent it from needing to go in the recycling bin?"

Any thoughts?


Eric Barczak said...

Good contact (laminating) paper should help. If you've never used it before you might want to either get assistance from someone who has, or practice on a few junk paperback books (you can get them cheap at Goodwill).

Jonny said...

Contact paper does work well, and will peel back off if you mess it up. The main thing is to not get air bubbles and it will end up looking very nice.

You will want to leave a flap to fold over around every side of the book. Cut your oversized piece and fold it in half, but make one half exactly the width of the spine longer. Peel back the longer side only and set the spine directly on the fold. Next you have to very slowly and carefully pull the backing off while pressing it onto the back cover, ensuring there are no air bubbles. Cut the excess out of the corners so it can be folded down to wrap each edge of the cover.

Next, flip the book over and repeat for the front cover. When both front and back are covered, simply slice the excess off the top and bottom of the spine with scissors. Like I said, the end result is very nice. I have well used books that have been covered this way for years and the contact paper stays put. Eric is right about the practice run, I recommend using a similar sized book for that.

Anonymous said...

Custom leather book cover.

Eric Barczak said...

Hmm... the custom leather covers look interesting. I think I would go with the heavier leather because of it being a paperback (vs. the thinner leather for a hardback) to provide extra support and stiffness to the cover.

Anonymous said...

I have a leather case/cover for my Ignatius RSV-CE (Blue paper) I had to tape it anyway as the paper just can't take it over a period of years. The "St Joseph NAB" versions in the salmon colored cardboard come apart if you look at them funny. I'd invest a few dinero in a hardback or the faux leather that Catholic book publishers universally call "leather" which it ain't, but it's better than paper and lighter than hardback.

Anonymous said...

I have several custom leather book covers from Renaissance Art. I have them on hardbacks, softbacks, the faux leather cover from Catholic Book Publishing (Christian Prayer), and the "flex" cover from the American Bible Society (Good News Translation).

I have a leather cover on the Good News Translation flex cover compact version. It lives in my computer/stuff bag so it gets abused regularly. After several years, it's still in great shape.

I use contact paper on most of my softbacks as well. Contact paper combined with a custom leather book cover would give you even more protection.

Gaylord library supply sells 15-mil polyester paperback book protectors. They are heavy duty and supposed to provide "hardback protection" for softbacks. You can get a pack of 25 in the small size for $30.

Gaylord has a lot of different preservation supplies for hardbacks, softbacks, newspapers, magazines, periodicals, etc.

Anonymous said...

This video shows how to apply the Gaylord polyester covers. The last part of the video shows how to reinforce the binding using clear packing tape.

Anonymous said...


Perhaps you could purchase a roll of the adhesive plastic covering material used by public libraries to protect the covers of their paperbacks. In Australia, it's marketed under the Raeco brand. Get hold of Staples and ask them for advice (Raeco is a subsidiary of Staples.) I use it on my paperbacks.


Geoff Vincent (Melbourne)

Anonymous said...

I'm a teacher so I reinforce lots of books! I use clear contact paper (watch a video on youtube for the correct way to apply it.
Then I use patterned duct tape (stripes, etc, not the silver kind) to reinforce spine and edges. I put this on over the contact paper for a little extra support, but because the contact paper can be peeled off, so can the tape.