What do the four titles Marketing Research; Drinking Water; Herbs, Health and Cookery; and Tigers in the Emerald Forest all have in common? These are four newly-purchased books coming to the Preservation Department this week for repair. Two need minor mending repairs and the other two books will need to be recased entirely, as they have major damage. The worst is Marketing Research — apparently there was no quality control at the publisher’s! The last four pages had significant damage. The picture below speaks for itself.
It is often too costly for the Library to send books back to the publisher for replacement, so instead they are sent to the Preservation Department for repair. This used to be a rare occurrence but is now a much more common happening each month. It is disheartening to see a new book damaged before a student has a chance to crack it open for the first time. Many bindings such as Herbs, Health, and Cookery fail because of cheap glue and poor construction, which does not hold up to the processing of the book when received at the Library. All I can say is that when I repair Herbs, Health, and Cookery, it won’t be falling apart later!
We’ve been seeing an uptick in the number of items that arrive brand-new and damaged, too. Just as you said, the damage is occurring because of crummy construction, sometimes to the point where critical parts of book anatomy are completely left out. I really try to encourage my library to send them back with a statement that the method of binding is purely unacceptable. Why aren’t the publishers responsible for the back and forth shipping costs of shoddy products? I think we as institutions have to be more vocal so that the quality of our investments does not continue to decline.