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FW: How does rebinding affect value of books?



I'm not a book collector in the obsessive sense: I don't really care if it's
a first edition or not. As a matter of fact, if a latter edition is more
accurate or complete, I'd rather have that. I do, however, read obsessively
and have many thousands of books around the house. I do admire books that
are beautifully made, first edition or not.

Recently I have become smitten with bookbinding and have started work on
several projects.  One of them is to rebind a copy of Finnegans Wake in full
leather. I purchased a Viking edition from 1958 which is in good shape.  Why
do I want to go to this trouble for a book that is not at all valuable?
Well, it is to me. I love that book, and I got annoyed that I couldn't buy
it new as a hardcover to replace my tattered paperback. Plus, the quality of
publisher edition books is such that hardcover isn't much of an improvement
at all over paperback.

Also, I've also come to read some novels that revolve around book collectors
and that whole world.

So, I became curious. Just how much of an effect does rebinding have on the
value of books to collectors? Let's say I had a first edition of Finnegans
Wake that I was rebinding. Let's also assume that I did a very good job. Did
I destroy its value to a collector, diminish it, or what? What if it was a
much older volume that was more reasonably in need of repair or rebinding?

Just curious, as I have no intention of going around rebinding valuable
books. Well, maybe the ones that are valuable to me.

David Goen
St. Louis

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