Author Topic: A question of reading vs saving  (Read 1835 times)

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Offline Toonces

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A question of reading vs saving
« on: January 06, 2019, 06:54:23 PM »
'sup Grogheads family.

Here's the deal.  About 6 months ago I finally acquired my deceased father's book collection from my mom's house and brought them with me to my latest house.  I have them unpacked and in a temporary bookcase pending final disposition of the man cave.

They're in 3 sets; about 25 Harvard Classics, 10-15 International Collections Library, and 10 of some library I can't determine.  The first two, Harvard Classics and International Collections are bound in a hardback "paper" binding, while the unknown is some sort of linen or fabric binding.

The problem is this: the Harvard and International bindings physically break if I open the books.  The bindings appear to be paper-based and are so old and dried out that the binding will crack completely where the covers meet the back spine.  The unknown fabric collection doesn't seem to suffer from this.  I've previously, over the years, opened about 1/5 of the books before I stopped when I realized they were breaking and I might not want to destroy them all.

My options, as best I can tell are as follows:  I can use some packing tape or other clear tape, and both mend the bindings that are broken and proactively protect those that are unbroken.  Then I can read these classic books as intended, and I do want to read them.

Or, I could repair the broken ones, and then treat the remainder as "bookshelf books" to be admired as a beautiful collection, but not to be read because to open them is to break them.

I saw a handful of similar books, but sized slightly differently, at $7.95 apiece at a local used bookstore, so we're not talking a lot of money.  Rather, it's the sentimental value of the books themselves. 

Part of me thinks, books are meant to be read.  Another part thinks, as one of the few remaining items of my dad's that I have, I should simply preserve them in as nice condition as possible, and get the books on Kindle or such since most are free as public domain anyway at this point.

Just curious where you guys stand...tape and read, or nostalgic shelf collection?  If they were you're books, what would you want your son to do?
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Offline JasonPratt

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Re: A question of reading vs saving
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2019, 07:11:16 PM »
If you can read them for cheap or free anyway, by other methods, then their physical value must be as momentos or decoration.

Alternately, you can ship them off to a rebinder, who can restore or recreate the binding. Recreating the binding will reduce its collector's value of course, and cost significantly more than buying readable copies for practical usage. But it would make the legacy books themselves readable in a way that preserves their inherent visual style; and you might decide this honors your father's memory more directly.

I wish I could tell you the name of the rebinder I myself used in Oklahoma (OKCity itself if I recall correctly). They did a wonderful job recreating the binding style on a disbound set of quires I had bought, of a book published in Britain just before the American Revolution and evidently read by someone who fought during that time since there appear to be bloodstains on the pages! (The book's original authorship dates back to the late Cromwell period, so this is a 3rd or maybe 4th edition reprint.)
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Offline airboy

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Re: A question of reading vs saving
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2019, 07:38:25 PM »
I bought the entire Harvard Classics on sale on Kindle for less than $8. 

My parents had the entire collection but I passed on them due to allergies more than a decade ago.

I realize this is not what you are looking for, but if you wish to read them you can easily do so electronically.

Offline Toonces

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Re: A question of reading vs saving
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2019, 06:34:20 PM »
I didn't know you can get books rebound.  I'll have to look into that; I would like the books to last another lifetime.

Thanks for the heads up, Airboy.  I searched and found the complete 51 volume set of the Harvard Classics, plus the Fiction bookshelf for a mere $0.49 on Amazon!  That's a LOT of reading!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075GWV4W3/ref=oh_aui_d_detailpage_o00_?ie=UTF8&psc=1
"If you had a chance, right now, to go back in time and stop Hitler, wouldn't you do it?  I mean, I personally wouldn't stop him because I think he's awesome." - Eric Cartman

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Offline Gusington

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Re: A question of reading vs saving
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2019, 06:41:54 PM »
Nerd!
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Offline ArizonaTank

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Re: A question of reading vs saving
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2019, 10:23:31 AM »
Alternately, you can ship them off to a rebinder, who can restore or recreate the binding. Recreating the binding will reduce its collector's value of course, and cost significantly more than buying readable copies for practical usage. But it would make the legacy books themselves readable in a way that preserves their inherent visual style; and you might decide this honors your father's memory more directly.


+1, I have seen some really wonderful rebinds. 
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Offline Toonces

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Re: A question of reading vs saving
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2019, 07:08:40 PM »
Hey fellas.  I'm bumping this thread because I have a few additional questions.

I did get the books unpacked and into a bookshelf, and they look pretty fantastic in my office now. 

However, it is absolutely killing me having them sitting on the shelf without the ability to open them up and browse through them, so I really would like to get them in readable shape.

I considered rebinding them, but I don't think the cost is worth it.  Unfortunately these books just aren't worth much money, they're a pretty cheap series of books from what I've read online.  It's purely the sentimental value of them at this point. 

I found book binding tape online and I think I'd like to try it.  Question:  the book bindings are forest green (half) and burgundy (other half).  Would you guys use colored tape or clear tape?  My intent would be to tape along the crease of the covers and the spine, not cover the entire spine obviously.  I feel like the green would look sharper, but since I've never done it I'm not sure which would be more aesthetically pleasing.

I pulled these pictures from the internet, but they are the exact books I have.



"If you had a chance, right now, to go back in time and stop Hitler, wouldn't you do it?  I mean, I personally wouldn't stop him because I think he's awesome." - Eric Cartman

"Does a watch list mean you are being watched or is it a come on to Toonces?" - Biggs

Offline Toonces

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Re: A question of reading vs saving
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2019, 07:13:19 PM »
To put some numbers to this, I am finding some used collections online, a set of 23 for $125, so like $5 apiece. 
"If you had a chance, right now, to go back in time and stop Hitler, wouldn't you do it?  I mean, I personally wouldn't stop him because I think he's awesome." - Eric Cartman

"Does a watch list mean you are being watched or is it a come on to Toonces?" - Biggs

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: A question of reading vs saving
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2019, 05:35:46 AM »
I'd look into finding free pdfs or whatever online, at Guttenberg or CCEL or something like that.

Then your books can look sharp on the desk, while you're able to read their material without risk of damaging them.


I did this kind of in reverse, once: reading a pdf scan of a book originally written in the latter days of Cromwell, I realized one chapter was missing from the scan, and all available scans seemed to be missing the same chapter. I found a hardcopy of the pages from a printing during the Revolutionary War period, bought those (after making sure they had the missing chapter!), but then needed to bind them; contacted a classic bookbinder in Oklahoma who does work for collections all over the world, got the thing rebound in a style similar to its 1774 printing. So it sits in my collection, but only to look awesome -- because shortly after all this, I found an online scan with the missing chapter after all!  :hide: #:-)

On the other hand, now I can brag about having a book written originally by one of Cromwell's personal chaplains, reprinted in Britain just before the American Revolution, and found here in America with many of the pages stained a rather suspiciously rusty color.  :o There's a decent chance that those are bloodstains from someone on one or the other side who was carrying the book with him when he got shot.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.