The Society of Bookbinders is dedicated to preserving the traditional skills of craft bookbinding as well as promoting contemporary book arts

Following discussions in 1974, Terry Walker, John Coleman and a small group of colleagues formed The Society of Bookbinders in Manchester, England, the following year. They were concerned at the closing of National Bookbinding Apprenticeship schemes and recognized the need for a society devoted to the appropriate training and education required to fill this void. They also saw the organisation as representing the interests of bookbinders, conservators, librarians and book collectors, and acting as a forum for the exchange of information.

A further aim was the promotion of the highest standards of bookbinding, preservation and conservation of our written and printed heritage. From its inception, the Society has successfully striven to ensure these aims are met. From those early beginnings, the Society has grown both in numbers and in influence. It now has members in all parts of the world and includes amongst that membership some of the most highly regarded names in the profession. It became The Society of Bookbinders and Restorers circa 1980 but reverted to its original name in 1990.

In 1987, the first edition of the Society’s annual journal, ‘BOOKBINDER’ was published. A copy is sent to all members, as is a National Newsletter which is published three times a year. The history of the Society is described in an article by Frank Hippman (late editor of the National Newsletter) in Vol. 9 of BOOKBINDER (1995). Another, more personal account of our history, by Mike Duckworth, appears in Vol. 13 (1999). The latter may be viewed or downloaded here (PDF – 500k)

Experienced tutors lead regional workshops throughout the UK at all levels, from beginners to advanced

Members can:


Workshops and demonstrations introduce participants to traditional and new methods of binding and conservation techniques.


Visits to libraries and private collections, such as in cathedrals and stately homes, enable valuable old books to be examined.


Beginners will find help and encouragement when they meet other regional members at workshops.
Many regions arrange social events where materials and equipment can be bought or exchanged and ideas discussed.

Develop your skills, whether craftsman or artist

Why are there so many different  types of binding?  From the Victorian school prize binding in half-bound leather with marbled edges  to the tiny Yapp-bound prayer book, the outsize stub-bound atlas or the simple single-section pamphlet, each has a history and a particular function.

Join us to find out the why and the how. Your region will be your first point of contact, where more experienced members will be delighted to help you with advice and support. Many members are professional book binders or conservators but most are amateurs keen to learn and improve what they do.

A biennial national Conference, alternating with a training Seminar, showcases the work of internationally-recognised bookbinders who you can meet and talk to during the Conference.