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[BKARTS] Endpapers--Why are they used?

I've been following the thread "Endpaper Goof". This leads me to the bigger
question. Why are endpapers used in books? I've been reading many books on
bookbinding, and still haven't seen the "real" reason. The usual reasons
listed are:

   1. The basic purpose of the endpapers is to take up the strain of opening
the covers of the book
   2. The endpapers perform the crucial function of holding the text block
in its covers

I would be interested in hearing comments about who started using endpapers.
Did some bookbinders oppose using them and what alternate solutions did they
find. I also seem to remember reading that older books with tight backs did
not really require endpapers.

There is an extensive article and illustrations on endpapers at
http://palimpsest.stanford.edu/don/dt/dt1192.html which I checked out.

Commercial paperback books rarely use endpapers, however adhesive case bound
books mostly use endpapers. Sewn bindings almost always have endpapers. The
endpapers are almost always a single folded paper tipped in by pasting the
flyleaf to the first and last text pages, 1/8" along the fold. Betty Storz
mentioned that "almost all books that come to me with broken hinges have the
first page of the text block torn away with the flyleaf because of the
"drag" on the sheet every time the book is opened". I would expand on this
and say that this happens with both sewn and adhesive bound books.
Unfortunately almost all books with endpapers are bound this way.

I have analyzed the construction of thousands of different books in several
libraries. I have seen some cloth softcover as well as case bound sewn books
that did not use endpapers at all. They simply glued the outer page of the
first and last signatures to the cover. The outer folded page in a sewn book
has a much more gradual bend in it than an endpaper and so is not as prone
to tearing. The mull is now glued to this gradual outer curvature of the
last folded sheet of the signature. Often tightly woven mull or cloth is
used which extends to the edge of the book block to reinforce the thin outer
page. The cover of the book is now anchored deep within the book block. All
the books I have seen so far that are made this way are still in good
condition. So what's wrong with this method and why is it hardly ever used?

Ben Wiens...applied energy scientist
Ben Wiens Energy Science Inc.
8-1200 Brunette Ave. Coquitlam BC V3K1G3 Canada
E-mail: ben@xxxxxxxxxxxx
Energy Website: http://www.benwiens.com
Read my popular web-booklet "Websearching"

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