Yesterday I spent some time reading an article by Tom Conroy entitled The Movement of the Book Spine. It is an extensive article outlining how linings, sewing supports and joints effect the movement of the book. I admit the article is a little lengthy but it’s FILLED with lots of valuable information.
A book seems like a simple object; pages sewn together into a textblock with a cover slapped on and there you have it, a book. Sadly it’s not so simple. Like any other object with interacting parts, a books ability to work and work well is dependent on lots of things. Too many linings, packed sewing vs unpacked sewing, size of the joint, covering material, hollow/no hollow, the possibilities for problems are endless. However, having read the article it is more clear how all the parts interact with one another. It also helps you to make more informed decisions when taking on structural repairs. All in all I would recommend reading through the article, even if you are well aware of the structural issues in books there’s no harm in having a refresher.