06.04.2021 / Frank Baier

Let's Take a Look at the Reference Book

There is (almost) no more new technical literature on bookbinding and paper processing. Instead, new publications tend to focus on the increasing "do-it-yourself" trend.
Knowledge is obviously power – but what good is this saying? On the one hand, industrial and craft bookbinders are the smallest professional group within the graphic arts industry. On the other hand, it is precisely in this small sector that there are the most and most varied technologies in terms of numbers. Powerless feels today in any case the one who is in the technical literature research. Nevertheless, on the "information tour", it is necessary to differentiate: there is (almost) no new technical literature on industrial paper processing – but there are new publications about the bookbinding trade from time to time.
Technical books of past decades
Textbooks and reference books on the subject are available from the Beruf + Schule publishing house in Itzehoe. This is a collection of over a dozen titles from the past 40 (!) years. The latest updated and edited editions date from the beginning of the 2010s – including the almost 800-page heavyweight "Industrielle Buchbinderei" (Dieter Liebau/Inés Heinze) in its 3rd edition of 2010, which for many experts is the "bookbinder's bible of serial production".
The publishing house will continue to work on the titles and new publications on the subject. This attempt has so far failed due to a lack of professional authors.
Standard work on printing technology
In case of doubt, specialists of any department in companies of the graphic arts industry look into the "Teschner". His reference book "Druck- und Medientechnik" from the Christiani publishing house in Constance is often regarded as a standard work. The information that Helmut Teschner, who was Director of Studies at vocational schools in the print industry for more than 35 years, has collected, summarized and written down cannot be found in this form on the Internet.
Now, since 2017, the 14th, carefully revised and significantly expanded edition with around 1000 pages is available, in which digital printing, flexo printing and screen printing take up more space as well as the corresponding postpress.
Orientation for print buying decision makers
A technical book about bookbinding, "Vom Blatt zum Blättern", which was published in 2016 by Hermann Schmidt in Mainz and is available in a 2nd edition with 426 pages, stands out for its holistic knowledge transfer and image-dominant design. Employees in graphic design and typography, advertising/marketing and production are not sufficiently familiar with the interrelationships of print production and paper processing. The edition, written by graphic designers Franziska Morlok and Miriam Waszelewski from the agency scene, aims to convey this know-how for print buying.
Certainly, an advantage and a profit for readers, since today's generation often likes drawings, graphic symbols and pictograms – that is, schematic and pictorial. The authors pave the way for improved communication between print buying decision-makers, designers, manufacturers and bookbinders with this specialist publication.
"Design" is the program today
For some years now, many new publications on the subjects of bookbinding and paper art have been following the increasing "do-it-yourself" trend. More and more people are becoming interested in artistic craftsmanship and the use of natural materials, want to try out their own skills and discover their own creativity. The family-run Haupt Verlag from Berne, which has been in existence for more than 110 years, with hobby books as well as non-fiction and specialist books, has played its part in this.
After all, editions for the bookbinding trade have been published there since the 1960s – one of the bestsellers is "Schachtel, Mappe, Bucheinband" by Franz Zeier, and other titles are published regularly (mostly by hobby authors). Within the main-focus "Design – Print / Paper" (from non-fiction publications to artistic printing and bookbinding techniques to inventive and imaginative paper-upcycling instructions), there are now more than 60 available titles in the program.
Practical handicraft reference books
No other bookbindery is known in the German-speaking countries, which offers its own technical literature about forms, production techniques and products around the bookbinding trade. With his workshop in Landau, which has been in existence for over 40 years, Klaus Müller is one of those master bookbinders for whom not only innovative, experimental one-off and special production, but also historical production techniques play a major role.
Within the publishing house, Klaus Müller and his wife Hedwig Müller have written more than 30 specialist books on the subjects of "bookbinding techniques" and "historical book forms". He is also impressed by "pouch books" from the Middle Ages, which he produces as individual guest books at the customer's request. Both the various specialist books and a range of mini(atur) books are available in the online store.
Frank Baier,
Chief editor "Bindereport