This is not standard work. Every book that a customer brings to me was used, stored, and bound differently. Even if it only looks like a cracked spine, it often indicates the entire structure of the book is gone. I have to take the book apart, clean the spine, create proper hinges, reinforce them, and build the structure again. The real work in book restoration is underneath all the finishes, so it’s very easy to charge cheap prices but to use shortcuts. Just because it looks nice, does not mean the work was done correctly. I often have to reverse damages done by non-professional bookbinders who cut corners.
The standard of a good book conservator is to take detailed photos of the book’s condition before it is taken apart and then document step by step the stages of restoration. I take photos before, during, and after documenting each step in the restoration process so my customers know the work that I charge for has been done and done properly according to conservation standards.
Book restoration is a very time consuming and intricate process that often takes countless hours to complete. It requires removing and cleaning all elements of the original binding, restoring and lubricating the original leather, making sure that all elements of the original binding that can be saved are incorporated into the new binding, resewing, reinforcing structure, constructing new leather or cloth inner and outer hinges, sewing in headbands, etc. A book might look like something small, but when restoring it, I have to work with every single page and that translates to a surface of many, many square meters.
Proper restoration also requires very high-quality and costly materials like vegetable tanned or sulfur-free archival leather, costly acid-free paper, and Japanese handmade conservation quality tissue.