BOOKBINDERS operate and maintain the machines that combine printed sheets into finished products such as books, magazines, and catalogs. Bookbinders assemble books and magazines from large, flat, printed sheets of paper. They operate machines that fold sheets into order, insert illustrations, and sew, stitch, or glue them together. Bookbinders then shape the book bodies and create covers. Books then undergo a variety of finishing operations, often including wrapping in paper jackets. A small number of bookbinders work in hand binderies. These highly skilled workers design original or special bindings for limited editions, or restore and rebind old and/or rare books.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $33,000 average per year ($15.75 per hour)
- A medium occupation (54,200 workers in 2010)
- Expected to decline (1.9% per year)
Most BOOKBINDERS learn the craft through on-the-job training. It can take up to one year to become familiar with complex equipment, such as computerized binding machines. Computer skills and a mechanical aptitude are helpful. Apprenticeships provide programs that allow workers to acquire the high levels of specialization and skill needed for some bindery jobs. A four-year apprenticeship is usually necessary to teach workers how to restore rare books. Training in graphic arts can also be an asset. No special licensing or certification is required for bookbinders.