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The Nation's Leader in Quality Book Binding
& Post Press Services Since 1985

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The holiday season is coming up, which means it’s time to find the perfect gift for the book lover in your family. If you’ve been wondering what to get them this year, consider one of these great gift book ideas! They might have every book under the sun, but a custom book gift is sure to become one of their favorites in their collection.

Great Gift Book Ideas

Custom Book Boxes

Book boxes are perfect as a home for a favorite book. Book boxes can be designed to fit any book’s dimensions and can be customized outside and in to match the character of the book. This is a great way to add a personal touch to someone’s favorite book without altering the book itself. Book boxes also offer great protection for books from damage.

Family Tree Books

For the family historian, a family tree book makes a great gift. Bring together all those old photographs, documents, and other written personal effects in one place to create a comprehensive book of your family’s history all in one place. This is a great sentimental gift that will be treasured forever by the recipient.

Custom Journals

Know someone who still loves to do their writing with pen and paper? Get them a custom journal! The writer in your family or circle of friends will love this gift.

Custom Photo Albums

These days most of us have all of our photos on our computers. Why not get them off the hard drive and onto the page with a hardback binding? A custom photo album is a great way to bring those digital photos to life, and makes a great gift for any family member.


We also do shadowboxes to commemorate and protect sentimental possessions. This is a great way to recognize military service.

Graduation Gifts

Is your son or daughter graduating after this semester? Custom books also make great graduation gifts!

Gift Certificates

If you can’t decide, don’t worry, we offer gift certificates as well.

gift book

This holiday season, give your family and friends a gift that is meant to last. To learn more about our gift books, contact us today!

Looking to give your next book binding project an edge? A professional book binder can give your book binding project a creative edge. From a subtle touch like a die cut window to a full on custom binding with custom handwork, a professional book binding can take your next book binding project from good to great. Learn how to add value to your project with these creative book binding techniques!

How to Enhance Your Book Binding Project

Die Cutting

Die cutting is a technique that involves cutting windows in the dust jacket and/or in the pages of the book themselves. Many books use dust jacket die cutting as a way to expose some of the binding while still using a dust jacket. Less book projects have a need for die cutting of the actual pages, though more artistic projects, especially those involving photography or artwork, can make use of some creative designs to really take advantage of this book binding technique.

Dust Jackets

It’s rare that a hardbound book come without a dust jacket these days, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of opportunities to be creative with one. In addition to their form, dust jackets perform the vital function of protecting a book’s binding, which is especially important if you have custom work done. A reinforced French-fold dust jacket can even protect the edges of your book from fraying.

Custom Handwork

Custom handwork distinguishes your book in a way that nothing else can match. Custom handwork gives a book a distinctly personal feel that makes it highly desirable. Consider a limited edition run of your next book with custom handwork.

Foil Stamping

Foil stamping is a technique that uses a heat transfer to emboss a foil stamp onto a book’s binding. The stamp is elevated slightly off the surface of the binding, and definitely brings a classy look to your book.

Custom Cases

For those special editions, custom cases are a necessity. Custom cases offer a completely new medium to work with and complement a custom bound book.

book binding project

Advantage Book Binding can help you take your book binding project to a new level, taking into consideration budget requirements to provide you with the most cost-effective and project-specific solution for you. Please contact us today for more information, and keep up with us on FacebookGoogle +Twitter, and LinkedIn.

If there’s one smell that readers love, it’s the smell of old books. Few can resist the smell of a secondhand bookstore, or opening up a book that hasn’t seen the light of day for a long time and letting the small wash over you. But where does this smell come from? It’s based on the composition of the book, and the smell actually changes over time! Read on to learn more.

Where does the smell of old books come from?

There are a number of organic compounds found in old books that were used to make bindings, glue and paper. These include rosin, bleached pulp, groundweed, milk protein, animal fiber, and rag fiber. Many of these compounds are no longer used in book binding and printing. Rosin, for example, has been out of use for several decades because of environmental concerns over its use.

Over the years, the materials used to make these books break down into what are known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). These are released slowly into the air. So when you’re smelling an old book, you’re smelling the result of the degradation of the organic materials used to make the book so many years ago.

In a study done a few years ago at University College London, scientists determined there are 15 VOCs that are consistently present when a book is degrading. They also discovered that the amount of compounds found in a sample from a book can tell you how far along a book is in the process of degradation. They gathered this information in the hopes of using it to learn how to better preserve old books and archives.

The study found that the two worst compounds for a book were lignin and rosin. Lignin is found in wood fiber, which was used before rag paper replaced it in 1850. Lignin yellows over time. Rosin as added to paper to make it better for writing, but it breaks down into acidic byproducts that corrode the paper itself.

And what did the researchers think of the smell of old books? They likened it to, “A combination of grassy notes with a tang of acid and hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness.” Mmmm. Smells good doesn’t it?

old book smell




Ever wondered who the big names in book binding’s history are? Johannes Gutenberg is widely known as the inventor of the first movable type printing press which revolutionized the written word as we know it. But who else contributed to the craft of book binding in its post-Gutenberg history. The International League of Antiquarian Booksellers recently did a roundup of a few of book binding’s historical figures which shines the spotlight on these lesser known craftsman.

Famous Book Binders

William Caxton

Englishman William Caxton brought the printing press to England in 1476 and is credit as the first person to publish a book in English. It is disputed whether this book was Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales or Le Recueil des histoires de Troye. Because distinct printing professions hadn’t been created yet, Caxton essentially did it all, from printing and binding to marketing and selling.

Jean Grolier

Frenchman Jean Grolier was well-known among the French noble community, and in 1534 he moved to Rome to negotiate with the Vatican. It was in Rome that he put together a library full of elaborately bound volumes, which he also often lent out to friends. Grolier was a lover of both literature and the book as an artistic medium, and it was at his library that the practice of shelving books with the binding facing out began (so as to better see the craftsmanship). Previously, bindings faced inwards, and the title was written on the foreedges of the book.

Samuel Mearne

Englishman Samuel Mearne is known as the inventor of the cottage style of binding in the 17th century, a style that remained almost unchanged until the 19th century. Mearne apprenticed twice as a bookbinder before working as a publisher, binder, and seller. He later became the official Stationer and Bookseller to King Charles II.

Roger Payne

Another Englishman, Roger Payne became widely-known during the 18th century as a master bookbinder. His binding style took cues from Samuel Mearne, and was exceptionally artistic and well-executed. Though he never signed his work, he often included a written explanation with the book of why he decided to design a binding in a certain way.

William Morris

Englishman William Morris is best known as an instrumental figure in the private press movement. By Morris’ time, the Industrial Revolution was in full-swing, but Morris and some contemporaries felt that it was reducing creativity in book binding. Together they founded the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, after which Morris founded Kelmscott Press. He extensively studied 15th century book-binding methods, which informed his binding style and approach to the craft. The first book published by Kelmscott Press was soon republished in America as photographic facsimile, and demand for his binding style led Morris to print American versions of Kelmscott Press, driving the popularity of private press in America.
custom book binding


Despite the increase in popularity of ebooks in recent years, print books still enjoy the upper hand in terms of volume of sales. And in fact, they do so by a pretty wide margin, according to a recent survey by Nielsen Books & Consumer.

The survey, which looked at sales of print and ebooks over the first 6 months of 2014, found that sales of paperback and hardback books combined to make up 67% of the market, while ebooks made up only 23%. Not only that, but individually, hardback sales and paperback sales both outsold ebooks, at 25% and 42% respectively.

These numbers suggest that the book market may be stabilizing after ebooks took off in the late 2000s. After several years of double and triple digit growth in sales, ebook sales in 2013 slowed to single digits.

Why the shift? Several theories have been proposed. Industry experts note that diversity in medium and format is good for the market as a whole. Plus, books have a longstanding history and cultural significance that makes them hard to replace. Furthermore, readers who adopted ebooks early on are finding that there are some negatives aspects of the format. Evidence has suggested that reading physical books promotes a better understanding and memory of the text and an overall ability to read and focus more deeply on the text.

Another interesting fact of note is the way book buyers find the books they purchase. Nielsen’s survey reported that the most common method of finding a book to buy was by perusing in-store displays at bookstores. 12% of book buyers reported using this method to find books. The second most common method? Hearing about a good read from a friend or family member, which 10% of book buyers reported doing.

ereader vs book


Advantage Book Binding has been in the book binding business since 1985, when we were founded on the principle “we do a quality book on time.” Since then we’ve seen plenty of changes both in and out of the industry. While some have sounded the death knell for books and other physical media, we believe that the fact that we continue to be an industry leader into the 21st century is a testament not only to our longevity as a company but to that of our craft. We think it’s important to keep books and physical media on the shelves, which is why we dedicate ourselves to providing you with the highest quality book binding and post press services available.


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Author Stephen King might be best known for the scary things he has to say in books. But fortunately, the things he has to say about books are much less scary. In fact, King said recently in an interview with the Huffington Post that he thinks printed books are here to stay for a “long, long time.”

King noted that while ebooks have some bells and whistles that books don’t have, books have an appeal that reaches back for centuries. While many have compared the ebook revolution to the rise of digital music, which has significantly reduced demand for physical music such as CDs, King feels that the long history of the book as a physical medium means it won’t be so easily replaced by its digital cousin, the ebook.

Books have been around for three, four centuries…There’s a deeply implanted desire and understanding and wanting of books that isn’t there with music. It’s a deeper well of human experience.

A deep well indeed, Stephen. On a less deep note, King also pointed out that unlike ebooks, physical books can be salvaged if you drop them in the toilet. Whether you would want to do so is another question, but you can’t argue against the fact that, unlike ebooks, the option is there.

Watch more of Stephen King’s interview on physical books, ebooks, and more here on HuffPost Live.

physical book

Advantage Book Binding can advise you as to what kind of binding style will work best for your specific project, taking into consideration budget requirements to provide you with the most cost-effective and project-specific solution for you. Please contact us today for more information, and keep up with us on FacebookGoogle +Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Advantage Book Binding is looking for skilled machine operators to work at its facility in Glen Burnie, Maryland. If you’re interested in joining our team as a skilled machine operator, please navigate over to our Careers page for more information. Please find the job requirements for skilled machine operators below.

Skilled Machine Operators 

Position Responsibilities and Performance Indicators

“A” Operator:

This position reports directly to the shift Supervisor.


An “A” Operator/Line Leader is a person who has been assigned to run a machine or an assembly line with 1 or more helpers to produce a given product.  Such a person is given the authority by the supervisor to direct the helpers assigned to them and to critique their quality and performance.


  • The “A” Operator/Line Leader must be motivated, self supervised individual.  They must be able to accept the authority given to them taking charge of the line they are overseeing.  They must be able to communicate accurately and respectfully with fellow employees, temporary employees, and the shift supervisors.
  • Knowledge – Demonstrate proficiency and/or familiarity with all equipment assigned to.
  • Experience – No formal experience required although ability to run assigned machine/line is required.
  • Skills/Aptitude – Ability to communicate necessary objectives, instructions to meet production requirements.
  • Level – Works under minimum supervision, exercises moderate degree of discretion and independent judgment.

General Requirements:

Oversees manufacturing processes by directing all activities and crew within that process to achieve desired results consistent with company goals and quality requirements.

Primary Responsibilities and Indicators:

1.     Safety

  • Assures that all crew members are following safety procedures and awareness.
  • Maintains a clean and safe work environment.
  • Promotes a safe and clean work environment.
  • Monitors equipment to assure all safety guards are in place.

2.     Quality

  • Monitors quality and assures work is produced to agreed standards.
  • Performs QC pulls at defined timeframes and signs QC pull with name, quantity QC pulled, and date.
  • Approves other production runs (OKs).

3.     Variance

  • Monitors and recommends staffing needs to optimize production rate.

4.     Production/Scheduling

  • Completes all documentation thoroughly and accurately.
  • Determines the best technique that provides the best quality and best rate through communication with supervision.
  • Reports production schedule variances to Supervisor.
  • Submits production log to Supervisor at completion of operation.

5.     Coaching, Leadership and Community Skills

  • Assists Supervisor in evaluating employee performance.
  • Promotes and is actively involved in continuous improvement.
  • Recommends and manages change with a positive attitude.
  • Fosters a TEAM environment.
  • Trains others to assist in their personal growth.
  • Communicates accurately and respectfully with others.

6.   Other

  • Promotes company policy and procedures.
  • Performs Preventive Maintenance in accordance with PM schedule.
  • Assists maintenance in the inventory of proper parts for equipment.

Direct reports: No formal direct reports.  “A” Operator is responsible for managing their machine/line crew.

skilled machine operator

Often times we think of books more for what’s on the inside than on the outside, but a creative book binding can cause us to stop and take note. A new book binding exhibit on display at Harvard’s Houghton Library intends to do just that.

The exhibit, titled InsideOUT: Contemporary Bindings of Private Press Books, features creative book binding designs from 59 book binders in the United States. For the exhibit, the book binders were asked to choose one of 28 titles to bind. The binders were instructed to interpret the text artistically using the binding as a medium, and the results were unique to say the least:

Contemporary bookbinders find inspiration and materials well beyond the traditional leather, which is evident throughout the exhibition. One volume features Tyvek (an industrial plastic used to wrap scaffolding and make FedEx envelopes) studded with mother of pearl; another takes cues from garments, sporting beaded velvet. Metal, wood, plastic, glass, silk, lace, and leather in many hues come together via inlays, onlays, stamping, tooling, and sewing.

Many binders chose the same book to interpret, so it’s interesting to see how interpretations varied across the spectrum. Check out a few examples here. The exhibit is on display at Harvard’s Houghton Library through December 13.


Advantage Book Binding can advise you as to what kind of binding style will work best for your specific project, taking into consideration budget requirements to provide you with the most cost-effective and project-specific solution for you. Please contact us today for more information, and keep up with us on FacebookGoogle +Twitter, and LinkedIn.




Menu design is one of the most important aspects of your restaurant’s marketing and branding. No matter how good the food, people eat with their eyes before they eat with their mouths. A well-designed menu entices diners and gets them excited for their meal. It also takes advantage of design features like spacing, font, placement, and others to make sure diners focus on dishes you wish to emphasize or promote. With proper menu design, you can create a good impression and improve sales with strategic positioning. Keep these features of a well-designed menu in mind when designing your restaurant’s new menu.

Important Features of a Well-Designed Menu


Positioning of the pages as well as the items on the page are both important in terms of guiding patrons eyes where you want them to go. If you have a two page menu, people are most likely to look at the top right-hand side first. If you have a tri-fold menu, most people first look at the center panel and continue counterclockwise through the rest of the menu. In terms of item placement, people are more likely to order those items which are first and last in a category.

Font and Formatting

Font and formatting are also important in menu design. Cater to your target diner with a font that matches their tastes or needs. If you’re catering to an older crowd, larger font will help them read the menu more easily, for example.

In terms of formatting, one important concept to remember is white space. Only one third of your menu is actually read, and menus that are too crowded can be frustrating to the reader. Keep descriptions of products on the short side, and make sure there’s enough white space to give the eyes room to breathe.

Boxing items is a great way to draw attention to them, but don’t overdo it. Box one in every 8 to 10 items for the best effect.

Item Descriptions

In addition to keeping item descriptions short, there are a few other good practices to follow. Instead of aligning item prices with the margin, include them in the description. This shifts the focus to the item, not the price. Substitute more creative terms such as “Specialties” for the more generic “Entrees.” Small icons such as stars can also be used as a subtle attention-getter. Use a heart for items that you want to emphasize as healthy or low-calorie, but keep in mind that some may take this to mean the item makes a sacrifice on taste.

Menu Maintenance

Keep your menu fresh by including inserts for limited-time dishes, which gives them an air of exclusivity and keeps guests wondering what will be on the insert the next time they come in. Cleanliness is also important. Throw away dirty or damaged menus to avoid creating a bad impression, or use protective coverings that can be washed.


Advantage Book Binding can advise you as to what kind of binding style will work best for your specific project, taking into consideration budget requirements to provide you with the most cost-effective and project-specific solution for you. Please contact us today for more information, and keep up with us on FacebookGoogle +Twitter, and LinkedIn.




In 2010, archivist and book conservator Julia Miller published Books Will Speak Plain. The 500-page handbook is “aimed at conservators, collectors, librarians, and book lovers, for the identification and description of book structures and styles.” Miller used the notes from her 30 year career to chronicle the huge variety of book designs she had encountered into one cohesive source that could serve as a guide and reference for others.

In the spirit of the book, the Midwest Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers took an idea of its own and brought it to fruition. The group “invited bookbinders from across the country to take the text pages from her 2010 book, Books Will Speak Plain, rebind them, then submit them to a jury of experts.

The experts whittled down the results to 17 designs that showcase the rich history of bookbinding in a modern context. The 17 selected designs are currently touring the midwest as an exhibition called “Plainly Spoken.” The exhibition has already made stops at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library at the University of Kansas, the University of Michigan Libraries, and the Newberry Library in Chicago. Currently, the exhibition is on display at the University of Iowa until the end of November. According to the guild’s blog:

This exhibit includes a range of binding ideas: models that replicate books from an historical period; cut-aways that visually reveal their hidden structure; design bindings that interpret a concept from the text; and artists’ bindings that play with structures and materials to create something new.

The traveling exhibit will conclude its tour of the midwest at the Minnesota Center of Book Arts in Minneapolis, where it will run from February 6, 2015 to April 26, 2015.

book binding exhibit

Advantage Book Binding can advise you as to what kind of binding style will work best for your specific project, taking into consideration budget requirements to provide you with the most cost-effective and project-specific solution for you. Please contact us today for more information, and keep up with us on FacebookGoogle +Twitter, and LinkedIn.