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Re: [BKARTS] Cloth or Paper Covers

I've examined thousands of production books of all types in libraries and
museums to get a feel for what lasts. Here is what I found:

   1. Hard cover books have a tendency to wear through the corners whether
bound with cloth, plain paper, or plastic lamination thus exposing the ugly
paperboard underneath.
   2. Cloth, plain paper, or plastic lamination tears in the hinge and spine
area as well due to the suspended book block forces.
   3. Plastic laminated paper covers do seem to wear almost as well as
cloth, but older plain paper coverings wear and tear faster than cloth.
   4. On large books the open spine results in people tearing the loose
spine cover quite easily. Plain paper covers tear far too easily here.
   5. Leather is a composite that wears much better than most cloths. Even
vinyl wears better than cloth. When cloth coverings have exposed threads,
they shred easily.

   6. Often paperback books wear better than hard cover books if handled
with care. This is because the books are tight back and flush trimmed
thereby causing little stress of the book block in the cover when placed on
the shelf. The greatest cause of a paperback failure is delamination of the
paper both in the spine area and at the corners. Plastic laminated paper
also has a tendency to delaminate due to the weak delamination strength of
the paper.

   7. Cloth softcover books with sewn bindings had the least cover wear or
tearing of all when properly glued. This is because the books are tight
back, flush trimmed, and because the cloth resists delamination. Sometimes
the cloth softcover books used cloth that was really too thin.

   8. Plastic laminated paper is not an ideal thing for paperback books, but
in the hardcover book the paper is rolled around the boards thereby avoiding
the delamination. It is a way of having a highly colorful cover with
reasonable wear approaching cheaper cloth I believe. The university or
library binding with beveled edges does appear to last longer. I have not
tried this, but I imagine that using the softest plastic lamination such as
vinyl or soft polypropylene would result in the best wear and less cracking
at the hinges. I make this comment because most of my vinyl impregnated
cloth bound hardcovers seem to have lasted the longest of cloth bound books.
Vinyl does get less flexible with age but samples I have are 40 years old
and in good condition. Of course leather has a longer life. The quarter
bound cloth/paper books look quite pleasing but this means a separate
printing processes for both the cover and spine. Spines should have printing
on them in my opinion.

Any comments or even harsh criticism of these ideas is appreciated provided
they have either logical or emotional basis (depends on whether information
is factual or preferential).

Ben Wiens...applied energy scientist
Ben Wiens Energy Science Inc.
8-1200 Brunette Ave. Coquitlam BC V3K1G3 Canada
Energy Website: http://www.benwiens.com
Read my popular web-booklet "Energy Science Made Simple"

-----Original Message-----
Someone noted in a recent email that they cover books almost exclusively
with paper, except for an occasional spine in cloth.  I've been using mostly
bookcloth, because I thought that was more durable.  I'd like to use paper,
because of the array of beautiful papers available and it's easy to work
with.  I give away about everything I make, and I'm concerned about the
person who comes along with dirty hands and picks the book up or moisture.
(I will not use leather.)

So, are paper and bookcloth equally durable or are there instances where one
is better than the other?

Kathy Wolford, Mineral Springs, Pa., kathleenwolford@xxxxxxxxx

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