1. Karen Dugan September 14, 2016 @ 9:07 am

    Hi Angie,
    Working on the children’s floors, the cardboard spine headers in our picture books can be totally destroyed- what would you suggest would be a good fix?

    Thank you!

    • John Ison John Ison September 28, 2016 @ 3:13 pm

      Hi Karen,

      Angie asked me to respond to your question as I conducted book repair workshops for Demco for many years.

      The spines on children’s books are especially susceptible to damage as the printed paper covers provide little strength to keep the spines from tearing loose when people remove the books from the shelves by pulling on the head cap. Leaving books loosely shelved so patrons can grasp them by the sides — or at least not have to pull so firmly on the head caps — can help slow down the damage.

      If only the top of the head cap is torn loose, you can often use some Norbond Adhesive to glue the several layers of cardboard back together and then use a Repair Wing to reattach that to the book to reinforce it.

      If the spine is extensively damaged, try using the procedure described in the The Book Doctor is In: Repairing Damaged Covers blog for reattaching loose spines. For children’s books, instead of applying paper or light cardboard to the center of the repair tape, cut a heavier piece of cardboard to fit and follow the steps outlined in this post.

      Hope this helps.

  2. Jan Humphreys February 17, 2017 @ 3:08 pm

    About 40 years ago I attended a book repair workshop conducted by Demco. What I learned has probably saved my school districts’ thousands of dollars in replacement costs for both library and textbooks. It really should be a course in universities.

  3. John Ison John Ison February 21, 2017 @ 6:18 am


    I’m gratified to learn that you found the workshop valuable to you and the school district. I agree that the book repair and protection techniques from the workshops would be a valuable addition to the curriculum in library schools. We did teach classes annually at three universities in the midwest for several years but ended that when the company decided to discontinue the “live” workshops. The DVDs that we make available instead provide good information and serve as a resource for anyone who is interested in book repair.

    Thanks for your comments,


  4. Melinda Maciel Peterson September 21, 2017 @ 9:12 pm

    Hello, I just happen to come across this link. I’m really hoping you might be able to assist me. My puppy got sick and used my School Books to potty on. How can I remove diarrhea from the book pages as they are stuck together? These are college books.

    Thank you for your assistance

    • John Ison John Ison September 25, 2017 @ 11:24 am


      If the residue is only on the covers of any books you can probably remove it with some detergent and water–but wet the covers as little as possible. Since dog feces can carry a huge number of pathogens and parasites be sure to use protective gloves and to disinfect the book with rubbing alcohol after it’s clean. Please be aware that both the cleaning and disinfecting process have a strong possibility of damaging any print on the covers.

      As for the pages that are stuck together, if the residue is only along the edges of the pages you MAY be able to use the same process to separate, clean, and disinfect them. If the residue is actually between the pages I don’t think there is any way to soak it out without seriously damaging the book–and spreading any pathogens through it. In this case I think your only option–despite the cost involved–is to throw the book away and replace it.

      If you decide to attempt any cleaning please be very careful to protect yourself and your work area from contacting the residue.

      I hope your puppy is better,


  5. Barb Decker October 13, 2017 @ 11:25 am

    How can I dry books that have been damaged by water or other liquids?

  6. Christy Roberts February 24, 2018 @ 7:19 pm

    I appreciate your time and remarkable ability to teach others about book repair. I have found your information to be an invaluable resource. Just as the techniques used can save money, in turn it can also make money. I have been a used textbook vendor for some time and my business relies heavily on 1 kids 2 teenagers 3 college students 4 thrift stores 5 other used bookstores . Any one of these would be not so big of a challenge, but there are easily 2 or more factors in play. I have successfully used each of your techniques that can be applied to textbooks. You absolutely rock and I can n truly express the extent of my gratitude. Thank you once again.
    Christy Roberts

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