Bookbinders turn printed paper into books and catalogues by hand or using machines.Job Category:
What you will do:
- set up and feed paper into machines
- glue and stitch using hand operated machines
- cut paper to size using hand and machine cutting tools
- check the quality of work and meet production deadlines
- identify issues and report machine breakdowns
- take away and stack finished products
If you’re a craft or hand bookbinder, you might:
- use hand tools to make bindings for books and to sew pages
- use traditional materials to add decoration and clean discoloured pages
- produce specialist books like family histories or books for libraries and museums
- repair antique books
- knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
As well as:
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
- observation and recording skills
- the ability to work well with your hands
- concentration skills
- the ability to work on your own (drive)
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- to be flexible and open to change (adaptability skills)
To become a Bookbinder, you don’t typically need specific qualifications. However, certain subjects and skills can be helpful in preparing for a career in bookbinding, especially if you plan to pursue formal education or apprenticeships in this field. Here are some subjects that can be beneficial:
- Art and Design: Courses in art and design can help you develop artistic skills, an eye for detail, and an understanding of aesthetics, which are important in bookbinding.
- Craft and Design (Optional): Courses in craft and design can provide hands-on experience with materials and techniques relevant to bookbinding.
- Mathematics (Optional): Basic math skills can be useful for measurements and calculations when working with bookbinding materials.
- English (Optional): Strong written and verbal communication skills can be valuable, especially if you plan to work on bookbinding projects that involve textual content.
- History (Optional): Learning about the history of books and bookbinding can provide context and appreciation for the craft.
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
- applying directly
- specialist training courses
You could do a foundation degree or degree in:
- design crafts
- art conservation and restoration
You’ll need to check that the course covers methods used in bookbinding.
You can do a bookbinder or print operative intermediate apprenticeship or a print technician advanced apprenticeship.
You could start out as a print room or reprographics assistant and work your way up through experience and taking courses.
You could apply directly to become a bookbinder. Employers will expect you to have some printing experience.
You could take short specialist courses in craft binding and finishing.
Working Hours and Environment:
A typical week consists of 41-43 hours of work. You could be required to work evenings/weekends on shifts.
You could work in a factory or in a workshop. Your working environment may be dusty and noisy. You may need to wear protective clothing.
Career Path & Progression:
With experience, you could become a supervisor or work for a specialist print finishing company.
You could also move into other jobs like printing or sales.