Bad Book Binding

I was reminded by a comment in my previous post by James Spinti of our shared frustration with academic publishers of using print-on-demand for highly specialized and highly priced books. Here’s one of the worst examples I’ve seen from my own library.

Here’s the offender:

P1010710

Here’s its final page count (not including 30 pages of Roman numerals appearing before page 1)

P1010711

Here is the binding:

P1010713

The book is well over 3 inches thick and is essentially abused every time we try to read something from it, simply by virtue of opening it up.

Retail Price: $150

Thankfully, I didn’t pay that much for this garbage binding, but then, the $80 that I did spend was still way, way too much. My wife refers to this book heavily for her thesis and I’m not sure that its going to last through the end. But we’re at the mercy of Oxford.

Sigh…

12 thoughts on “Bad Book Binding

  1. I feel your pain Mike! I’m sure you know the frustration that librarians have with this kind of thing. Multiply the exorbitant cost of each volume by the number of volumes that a library feels obligated to purchase from these ‘high quality in content/poor quality in binding’ publishers and then add to that the cost of having the books rebound after a few years worth of use. Ugh! The worst is when the items are on the reference shelves – then you’re almost guaranteed a broken binding withing a semester’s use.

    1. Oh yeah, I definitely know about that. After having worked at university libraries for 5 years in half a dozen positions, I experienced it first hand. Even a quality sewn binding can be nearly destroyed in short order in the reference section…

    1. Beyond biblical studies software, I’m yet to find other digital books to be particularly useable for my purposes. I have a couple, but most of the time I just don’t see it as worth it.

    1. Well, technically it can, but were that to happen, the binding would be permanently damaged because of the weight and force of the pages on the binding. The problem is that the type of binding used (glue injection) is just about the crappiest way you can keep pages together and the pages, sooner or later, its going to fall apart.

  2. On what Nick said-

    I also have a digital copy of this book (and a lot of linguistics texts that I regularly use as reference material). Like you, I prefer reading on real pages but using digital copies has been faster when I need a reference.

    d

    1. The speed is really the benefit. I can search a digital text much faster than I can a physical text. And physical texts don’t always list everything I’m looking for in the indices. But like you, I use digital texts mainly for reference, I rarely read them straight through.

  3. Mike,

    Unfortunately, this is becoming more and more common. I’m seeing it almost weekly now. I sometimes wonder if they aren’t trying to force us into e-books.

    James

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