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.


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. :)