Although no one is sure, it is believed that bookbinding began in India. Monks traveling to other countries such as Persia and China brought the idea of bookbinding with them. It is hard to imagine books made from leaves and bound together with string, but that is how books were made. As you can imagine, not many of those fragile books survived the rigorous travels of the Monks. From the Fifth Century to present day, Western books were bound between hard covers. Most pages were made from parchment and sewn onto strong cords. These cords were attached to wooden boards and covered with leather. You can imagine how making these early books had no uniformity since everything was done by hand. The shape of the parchment was different, the leather hard covers were cut in different sizes, and the process of putting them together was different.
Today, bookbinding is done by one of two ways. Books are either handmade by individual craftsmen or mass produced using high speed machines. Either way, bookbinding has come a long way since the Fifth Century. Custom designs, personalized books, and handmade books are popular in today’s market. Different types of books are available too such as notebooks, address books, journals, photo albums, and more. The use of standard size paper has been implemented to accommodate the uniformity of books. All these books have one thing in common; they need a binding. For a look at different book styles and their bindings, JenniBick.com and other retailers have a wide selection to browse.
Handmade bookbindings are still available today, just as they were centuries ago. The process has changed a bit and there is some standardization in the bookbinding industry. The spine of books was first introduced as a flat wooden board. This made it difficult to go from page to page. It was not until the Fifteenth Century that a curved spine was introduced. Titles on the spine were brief and handwritten. That practice continues today for the majority of books that are produced. During the Middle Ages the printing press was introduced and increased the availability of books. At this time, bookbinding began to show uniformity and has not changed much today.