I am often asked for book recommendations when people are trying to decide which bookbinding book to buy. Almost surprisingly, there are a lot of books available for, what many might think to be, a small field of interest. The following list are books that I have used and found helpful at different times and for different reasons. I have annotated the list to provide some, hopefully, helpful guidance.
Books that are suitable for beginners or anyone who is even just casually interested in making a book or two:
- Creating Handmade Books by Alisa Golden
This is one of the first bookbinding books that I ever purchased and I found it very useful when I was first trying to make books at home. The projects are not difficult and there are lots of pictures and project ideas.
- Playing With Paper by Helen Hiebert
This book is fun and includes more than just book projects. Her instructions are very well done and there are lots of photos, project ideas, and galleries full of inspiration.
- More Making Books by Hand by Peter and Donna Thomas
The projects in this book are all designed for making miniature books but they can be scaled to larger projects. This book is especially great if you are making books with content as they include a lot of helpful information about working with text and images.
- Eco Books by Terry Taylor
The projects in this book are good for beginners. This book focuses on green projects, upcycling and recycling materials to make books. Since I wrote a couple of the chapters in here, it seems only right to include it in my list of recommendations!
- Re-Bound by Jeannine Stein
Another book full of projects that upcycle and recycle materials. Lots of project ideas, clear instructions and inspiration for using unexpected materials. Jeannine included a photo of one of my books in her gallery so I like to make sure people know about this one!
These are more intermediate level books if you already know the basics or want to get a little more serious:
- Japanese Bookbinding by Kojiro Ikegami
This is the main English-language resource for Japanese binding methods and so it is a valuable resource. Although there are some Japanese binding techniques that are suitable for beginners, if you study Ikegami's book, you will find that other structures and techniques are more advanced and deserve a more detailed examination.
- Non-Adhesive Binding by Keith Smith
This is Vol 1 in his series of books about Books Without Paste or Glue. He includes enough information that I considered listing his titles in the 'beginner' section above; however, these books are probably more useful if you have a little bookbinding experience under your belt. If you are thinking about getting one of Smith's books, then Vol 1, is a good place to start... of course.
- 1- 2- & 3-Section Sewings by Keith Smith
This particular book, which is Vol 3, is very good if you like doing bindings with visible stitching that is sewn through the cover material.
- Sewing Single Sheets by Keith Smith
It seems that there always come a time when a bookbinder needs to bind some stack of single sheets and sometimes the way ahead can be unclear when we focus so much on folded sheets. This book, which is Vol 4, offers several effective options for these kinds of projects.
More advanced bookbinding books:
- The Penland Book of Handmade Books
This is not structly an instructional book; but, it does include several step-by-step projects. The content and the photos are super and the projects are really well prepared. It is written with experience in mind, though, and will be hard to follow if you are a beginner.
- The Archaeology of Medieval Bookbinding by J. A. Szirmai
This book is not an instructional book. It is a historical analysis and it is unparalleled in its awesomeness. If you are already an advanced bookbinder, you can extrapolate enough information to make some of the structures that he examines. Actually, if you are an advanced bookbinder, then I don't need to tell you this!
- Headbands: How to Work Them by Jane Greenfield
If you have reached a place in your bookbinding life where you want to explore a variety of headbands, then this is the book you need.
Non-instructional books about bookbinding that have so many pretty pictures:
- 500 Handmade Books Vol 1 and Vol 2
- The Book Art of Richard Minsky
A disclaimer, of sorts. Yes, I have linked the titles to Better World Books. It is a website that I support and that is where I shop for books online and have become an affiliate supporter. They support literacy programs and libraries and they promote eco-friendly book recycling and reuse. It is worthy of your patronage, particularly if you are looking for an alternative to the big A network. It doesn't matter if you use my links, but any time you purchase from them, it will support literacy programs worldwide. It's always free shipping and they have great deals.