A book is a bunch of stuff bound so that it doesn’t fall apart. Therefore, it can still be read in one, five or ten years later 1

Encardenação – Operação de juntar as folhas de um livro, costurando os cadernos e cobrindo ou “vestindo” o corpo do volume com uma capa mais grossa e sólida que a folha vulgar; o termo grego está ligado à palavra vestir e envolver; a encadernação visa dar ao livro uma unidade material que facilite a sua leitura e o preserve da destruição e perda. A encadernação remonta ao aparecimento do códice e o seu aspecto primitivo deve ter sido o de umas tabuinhas de madeira, vulgarmente cedro, com umas bandas de couro a envolver o texto e uma correia com que se apertava o conjunto; começou, portanto, por ser uma simples técnica de protecção tendo acabado por evoluir gradualmente para a confecção de verdadeiras obras de arte executadas com uma técnica apurada, em que eram usadas matérias-primas de qualidade(…)2.

Online the book becomes part of a vast, interactive network of footnotes, endnotes, hyperlinks, social tags, geo-location search capabilities, animations, video and sound. It becomes an occasion for social annotations and collaborative communities of readers and authors’(…) What seems to be described here is the web rather than the book.* If this would be a book, an e-book for example, you would likely not be able to read it five years later. Links would have broken, social tags been spammed, the geo-location programming interface would have changed, the codecs for the video and sound would have become obsolete, and it wouldn’t work on the screen of your 2021 electronic device anyway 1

*For general purposes, Ebooks are simple websites, contained inside of a predictable folder. This folder is composed mostly of the content of the ebook itself which is the form xhtml and css. The other files (…) declare (…) what contents are in the ebook folder. Each xhtml (…) is listed in one of these files so the folder understands what it is composed of…3

The designer’s development of, and the experience use of the web site is more fragmented than its printed counterpart: the sense of the whole (the outside) is less stable. (…) For print version of a publication, the reader encounters the whole conceptual via the cover. On its inside, this conceptual entrance characterizes every story, every image, each piece of type, and the text. On the web site, while is more likely to be built from the encounter of the individual parts. The designers of an undifferentiated plan do not account for this experience for interaction. The outside, in fact, is an unknown quality in web site design4.

Perhaps we should give electronic communication, hypertext, and CD-ROMs an opportunity to achieve their space in human culture. Meanwhile, bookbinding has its own peculiar future. Maybe bookbinding is the only activity in the universe that cannot be transformed by digital communication. Exchanging ideas is not the point. The challenge is to exchange ideas in a graceful structure (…)5.

The binding process is composed of numerous steps, or things that have to be done, and these can be shifted arround at will…6
We have to trim a pair of pages down to the print area and then glue them into a dummy volume of the finished book.7
And you can cover it with a wide choice of materials: paper, cloth, buckram, artificial leather, canvas, leather… 6
Gathering sewing, building text, lacing the boards, covering and finishing. Opening the book, fingering the pages, shelving and unshelving, searching through a book bound by someone in a different time. Returning to the illustration, entering and withdrawing from a familiar or new thought, finding the story, manipulating ideas. Hands and words.
Bookbinding is the pageant of the invention of the book 5


1 Cramer, Florian. (2010). What Binds a Book

2 Faria, Maria Isabel, e Pericão, Maria da Graça. (2008). Dicionário do Livro: da escrita ao livro electrónico. Coimbra: Almedina. ISBN 9789724034997

3 Mawell. (2014). How is an E-book done?. Disponivel em:

4 Heller, Steve. (2001). The education of an e-designer. Allworth Press.

5 Frost, Gary. (1995). Million years of Bookbinding. Bookways, nº15 e 16, p.34-36. (isto e uma revista)

6 Bannister, Manly. (1975). The Craft of Bookbinding. Sterling Publishing Co, Inc.

7 Tschichold, Jan. (1991). The Form of the Book: Essays on the Morality of Good Design. Vancouver: Hartley & Marks. Original edition, 1975.