The Hang Fire Books Blog

The rantings of a bookdealer in Brooklyn, New York.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Paperback Restoration Service

In the course of adding to my vintage paperback inventory, I often come upon books that can be greatly improved through some moderate fixing-up. After handling thousands of these books, I've developed some gentle and effective restoration techniques that can turn G-VG books into gems and Poor-Fair books into serviceable reading-copies.

Here are some before and after images of my recent restoration of a rare 1st of Black Wings Has My Angel, a PBO by Elliott Chaze.

As I received it:

Text block slanted and cracked into several pieces, peeling/splitting to spine and some deep creasing to the corners that were threatening to break away.

Using professional techniques and archival bookbinding materials I turned this into a square/solid, fair-good copy.

More pics from the restoration: 1, 2, 3, 4

These are repairs I regularly perform:
  • tipping in loose pages
  • fixing cracked bindings
  • reinforcing heavy creases
  • re-squaring spines
  • removing/minimizing spots and stains
  • closing page tears
  • restoring cover gloss
and more.

I have this down to a one man assembly line procedure and can get through large stacks of books quickly.

I don't believe in--nor am I capable of--erasing all signs of age and character, but I do believe in preserving the book in a solid (and potentially readable) state and slowing or halting deterioration.

Since I'm doing so many of these for myself I thought I would extend the service to other collectors. Simple book repairs can be done for $4-15 per book. More complex and time-consuming repairs and can be costed out ahead of time.

Do you have vintage PBs that need some TLC? Contact me and we'll work out the terms.

2 comments:

jgodsey said...

now that's impressive.

Reinaldo Fuentes said...

Yay! I am not alone! :) I also gently bring paperbacks to the best condition that I can without taking away the spirit of their age and history. Mostly old Ace tête-bêche books from the late 50's and early 60's. Long ago I worked as a schlep-hand and later in more delicate work at an antiques auction house in central Florida where I learned many of the techniques for this kind of work. The books I "refresh" are also intended for my own enjoyment and were I to ever sell them in I would be honest about the care I had given them. I do not seek any services; just wanted to tip a hat to a fellow aficionado and lover of things from the past. Keep up the good work. :)