Score with Rebounds


Basketball is on the mind of every true Hoosier at this time of year, so I’d like to suggest that you grab a few “rebounds” and see what they add to your book selling game.

Of course, I’m referring to books rather than balls. Books which have had their original covers removed and the text block bound into new covers are “rebound”.

This is distinct from “library binding”, which you will sometimes see used in descriptions. Those are books given especially sturdy binding for Library use, often children’s and reference titles. Paperbacks can have their original covers and spines strengthened in another form of “library binding”.

Confusingly, the term is also used for books which have had their original covers changed rather than reinforced. For a description of the techniques used in creating library bindings and to rebind books in library materials, click here.

With the exception of an author’s signature, any alteration in original condition lowers a book’s value. Replacing the cover is a huge alteration and reduces the already lower value of the ex-library copy by another thirty per cent, as a good rule of thumb. Clearly, most rebound books don’t merit another look. But some do. Some titles are so scarce and costly that even a shabby library rebind will find a buyer who is interested only in the content, not it’s “collectable” quality.


Be particularly thorough when examining the copy. The original covers and endpapers are not the only parts of the book which may be missing. Should there by maps or plates? Count them to see if any have been lost; folding maps are often lost with usage or in the rebinding process. Pages/plates can get loose over time, too, and vanish before rebinding. If the binding job looks good, it can be hard to tell if the volume is complete without the tedious task of collating the illustrations.

Pages are trimmed for the binding process, including the inner margins. This can create two problems. Can the book be opened fully for comfortable reading or is the binding so close and tight that it’s difficult to read the words at the center?


The other problem is found in books of art and photography. Did the whole image survive the trimming/binding or does that inner edge disappear into the spine?
The dust jacket, if there was one, is often lost or discarded by the time a book is in need of rebinding. If the jacket is still presentable, it might be laminated to the new covers.


None of those flaws will necessarily put the book “out of bounds”. With a thorough description and a bargain price, that beat-up old library book can be a winner!

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