Paperback books can be tricky to repair because they do not have the reinforcing structure possessed by hardcover books. This repair is ideal for paperback books where the covers have become very loose or detached from the text block. This guide will explain how to reinforce the book covers.


Things You Will Need:

  • Bone Folder
  • Exacto Knife or scalpel
  • Ruler
  • Paint Brush
  • Wheat Starch Glue (click here for instructions)
  • Cutting Mat
  • Folder Stock
  • Scrap paper




1. Preparation:

Gently remove any tape or loose bits from the covers. If pieces are falling off of the spine remove those also. If possible, save the labeling on the spine to be glued on later. Separate the covers from the text block. (Photos 1, 2, and 3).

Remove Tape

1. Remove Tape

Separate Covers from Text Block

2. Separate Covers from Text Block









2. Sizing the Folder Stock:

Place a section of folder stock on the cutting mat and then put the front cover of your book on top of the folder stock. Using a pencil and ruler, mark off the size of the cover onto the folder stock. Remove the cover and using an Exacto knife and ruler trim the folder stock to size. Repeat this step for the back cover. (Photo 4).

*For books with text on the back cover follow instructions in Notes.*


Measure Folder Stock

3. Measure Folder Stock









3. Attaching the Folder Stock:

Put a sheet of scrap paper down on the table and place the sized folder stock on top of it. Apply wheat starch glue to the folder stock (Do not use PVA glue when attaching thin paper covers to folder stock as it will make everything lumpy). You do not need a large amount of glue for this process. Gluing along the edges should be sufficient. Repeat for the other cover. (Photo 5). **See Notes for instructions on how to attach a cover with a flap.**

Glue Cover to Folder Stock

4. Glue Cover to Folder Stock









4. Setting the Covers:

Smooth the newly reinforced covers with your bone folder. You may wish to put the covers into the book press for a few minutes. Once the covers are dry, you should be ready to proceed to the next step of your repair.


Notes: Reinforcing a Cover with Writing on the Back Cover

If your book has text on the outside face of the back cover, like in the example, you can create a flap that will add stability to the spine, while also allowing the text to be seen. For books with text on the back cover follow these instructions in lieu of steps 2 and 3.









Sizing the Folder Stock Note: 

Measure and cut the folder stock to size as normal. Next, measure the distance between the edge of the text and the edge of the book. Remember that measurement and  Mark it off on the folder stock. (Photo 5).

Once you have marked this area, make a crease in the folder stock along that line. Use the bone folder to make the crease crisp. You may wish to use the edge of the table as a method to easily make the crease (Photo 8). Once you have made a sufficient fold proceed to the next step.

Measure Available Space on Back Cover

5. Measure Available Space on Back Cover

6. Measure and Fold Folder Stock

6. Measure and Fold Folder Stock









Setting the Covers Note:

When attaching a cover with a flap, simply spread glue along the folded section of the folder stock. Line up the creased section with the blank space on the right hand edge of the cover. You want the folder stock to cover the back cover, but turn like a page in a book. Glue the flap in place and smooth it with the bone folder.

7. Use Table to Sharpen the Crease

7. Fold the Paper Over the Table and Sharpen the Crease With A Bone Folder