ABC of Bookbinding

by Jane Greenfield

Plough Press, 2002
Published in the US by Oak Knoll Press

readability rating
4 star readability rating Eminently readable, but occasionally too brief, descriptions.
content rating
4 star content rating Tries a bit too hard to be all things to all people.

I bought this at the Society of Bookbinders' biennial conference in 2003, on recommendation from a binding instructor I met there. According to the cover blurb, over 1,000 binding-related words are defined within it. It is a valuable reference when attempting to fathom the descriptions of bindings in other books.

It has sections on:

The Good Stuff
The terms are defined in layman's vocabulary for the most part, and illustrated with clear, straightforward line drawings.
Could Do Better
Perhaps because there is such a small market for such a book, this tries too hard to serve too many interests. For instance, a bibliophile will be interested in the Binder's Identification section to track down the works of a particular binder, but may not find it comprehensive enough. Likewise, a bookbinder may find it too sketchy on the technical side, and librarians may not find all the innformation they would like for their work.
Best Bit
Like many glossary and dictionary-type books, this lists alternate terms in many of its definitions, terms which do not have their own entries in the text. Unlike most of these books, however, ABC of Bookbinding has three pages that it calls an Index of Alternate Terms, which tell the reader on what page the alternate term was referenced. A "see instead" list might be better, but this at least gives one a fighting chance with obscure terminology.