Last year the Scottsdale Public Library system got rid of thousands and thousands of books by selling them off at 10¢ each. That's 100 books for $10. Many of these books were in excellent condition. Some had been donated, but most were discards from the stacks. I did my part and rescued armloads of these, some in great shape, some falling apart, some to read, some with only a few but precious salvagable pages, some with rotting book blocks but fabulous boards, some for their spines, some for their covers, some for their blocks, some for their size, etc. I stayed miles away from book mold, and was surprised to find that the librarians didn't know what it was and how invasive it could be. But I did pick up some dirty-but-cleanable books, especially those with uber-sturdy library bindings.
I've done a lot with lots of them already. The book I'm showing today was one of four, all of them falling apart, glue rotting at the spine with blocks only partially connected to the endpapers. I thought I'd farm these four for images and text and discard the covers, but then came Kelly Kilmer's newest workshop, "The Journey Within". Any book can be used for this workshop, but the bookbinding she features uses covers + spine of a book minus the block. It can be falling apart because it will be restored, spine reinforced with tape, and given new life as a completely new book. Clear and precise directions along with one-on-one email support are part of the workshop, so if you're interested, you can do this too. Here are pics of my restoration:
This pic is really blurry, but so was I by the time I shot it. It isn't the book I restored, but it's just like it. One of the other three that I picked up in this series. I forgot to take a before pic, so this will give you an idea of what it looked like prior to gutting and covering. Hang with me. The pics improve.
Here's a peek at the inside cover. Again, it isn't the exact book I restored. Mine had a navy blue block which had come almost completely unattached to the endpapers and was literally falling out of the cover. But it is an accurate representation since it's from the same series.
This is the actual block from the book I restored. I didn't even have to tug. It fell into my hands the minute I cracked the spine. Lots of potential inside, too.
Here's my restoration. Paper from the Paper Studio. The upholstery fabric I used for the spine was a gift from someone who saves nice tidbits for me and passes them along every once in awhile.
New inside cover. More Paper Studio paper, and as you can see, I carried the covered spine all the way through, wrapping it entirely around before stitching in the new sets of signatures.
Here's a close-up of the new spine. Unfortunately, you really can't see the stitching because I used black bookbinding thread that lost itself inside the texture of the upholstery fabric. But it looks great in real life. Subtle, but good.
Keep in mind that inside and out, the cover will change dramatically as the book is worked from the inside-out. I usually complete the cover after working most of the inside since the cover will take a beating traveling with me and being repeatedly opened and closed. It's nice and simple as is, but just wait till it becomes art!