Can This Book Be Saved?
According to Dunn, finding companies to correct binding problems is becoming increasingly more difficult. "Unless you deal with R.R. Donnelley or Quebecor World, you're not going to find someone. Library binders don't fit the industry. The trade binderies are used to taking in materials from a variety of printers and then reproducing the final product on smaller pieces of equipment," states Dunn. "[This begs the question], how do you repair a spiral book if you don't have a spiral binder? How do you fix a hard cover book if you don't have case binding equipment? Look at what' s happened in the binding industry: Horowitz is gone. World Trade Bindery tried to put a plant in Connecticut and they're gone." Enter the Book Trauma Clinic.
The intrinsic nature of the publishing business dictates that once a book is printed it is committed to the content between its covers. While not so much a problem in genres such as fiction, this does present problems in the area of medical publishing. For example, the Book Trauma Center received an influx of work in the late 1980s. Recalls Dunn, "At that time, if someone had to have a mastectomy, reconstructive surgeons were encouraged to use silicone implants. Well, what happened after it came out that they were not supposed to use silicone? What was the value of all of these medical textbooks advocating use of silicone? They would have been subject to contingent liability." To correct the problem and save nearly 250,000 books, the offending pages were removed and replaced with pages containing legally current copy. "We surgically cut out the old page, leaving a minute, 1/16' stub. Then, we laid a bead of copolymer adhesive in the channel where the page was taken out. The new page was then embedded on the upper side of the stub," says Dunn. "When the glue cures, which happens in a blink of an eye, that new page becomes the strongest in the book and it is virtually impossible to tell where the change was made."