When Is Big Too Big?

Today I received another big book in the Preservation Lab for repair that has split apart in the back, so that the case is detaching from the textblock.  Its treatment will be a recase, with textile hinges to reinforce the case-to-textblock attachment.  I see this kind of damage all too often in large books.  Publishers put everything they can into one large book instead of breaking the content down into two books of a more manageable size.  Thin, cheap, or slick paper, bulky size, too much weight, and too many pages all add to the structure of the book failing.

Hinge splitting at the back of the book.
Hinge splitting at the back of the book.

Next is a post-bound book that one of our student workers, Hannah Isabell, is going to be working on.  She will dismantle it and put sections into custom portfolios for easier use and shelving.  As you can see, this book measures a whopping 8.25”!

Post-bound book too large to use safely or easily.
Post-bound book too large to use safely or easily.

Our next example is Veterinary Medicine: A Textbook of the Diseases of Cattle, Horses, Sheep, Pigs, and Goats by Radostits, Gay, Hinchcliff, and Constable.

TooBig-04

This book measures 3.5” thick and suffers from a typical split in the back of the book and wrinkled pages in both the front and back.

TooBig-05
Veterinary Medicine: A Textbook of the Diseases of Cattle, Horses, Sheep, Pigs, and Goats by Radostits, Gay, Hinchcliff, and Constable.

Over 2100 pages of excellent veterinary information drew my eye and my hands to repair this book.  This book is so big that it must be sitting on my desk and not in my hands to look at, and would be much easier to use had it been made into two volumes.  The content could have been split up by species, such as cattle and horses in volume one, and sheep, pigs, and goats in volume two.

Veterinary Medicine: A Textbook of the Diseases of Cattle, Horses, Sheep, Pigs, and Goats by Radostits, Gay, Hinchcliff, and Constable.
Veterinary Medicine: A Textbook of the Diseases of Cattle, Horses, Sheep, Pigs, and Goats by Radostits, Gay, Hinchcliff, and Constable.

While we understand that publishers are trying to save on costs by cramming all of the information into a single volume, it actually ends up costing us more, because we have to spend time and resources repairing these volumes after they have circulated just once, if they even make it that far.

2 Comments

  1. One of our institutional client sends us their law books that were bound in leather (now rotting)to be rebound and the spines sometimes measure up to six inches! They have to be split into two or three volumes for handleability since they are records that are still in use. We often would marvel at how out of proportion they were since they averaged about 8 1/2″ head to tail and 6″ spine to fore edge. They look like bricks before being disbound.

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