I recently received a large hardback book I ordered online, only to find it was damaged during the mail process. There's a tear in the cover just on the back edge of the spine. It's not a huge tear, but it's unsightly and definitely has the potential to worsen and further damage the book. enter image description here I'm wondering if anybody would have suggestions on how to best repair this damage and/or protect the rest of the book. I'd just tape it up, but I know that adhesives can have adverse affects on paper via aging, acids, etc.

A search online for a solution to this problem only seems to throw up tutorials on completely replacing a book spine, reattaching a separated cover, etc - but I imagine there has to be some knowledge out there about a common, relatively small problem like this. Any thoughts or advice? Is there somewhere else I should be asking? Complete book repair newbie here.

  • Have you looked into "book repair tape" like this?
    – agarza
    Feb 6, 2021 at 3:13
  • I didn't even know it existed! That's great, I'll investigate. Any other ideas or techniques? Feb 6, 2021 at 3:36
  • This is another option if you want to still be able to see the spine itself.
    – agarza
    Feb 6, 2021 at 3:51

1 Answer 1


There are several ways to repair, one of the easiest would be to use book repair tape. There are several different ones available through Dick Blick.

Two that I have used in the past and have worked well are Lineco Spine Repair Tape and 3M Scotch #845 Book Tape. The first is basically a cloth tape available in both black and white. The 3M tape is a thick, clear tape if you want still want to be able to see the spine.

I prefer the 3M tape (mainly for being able to see the spine). My recommendation is to cover the entire spine of the book and to extend the tape at least 1" from the top and bottom. Then fold the tape down in between the cover and the book pages. Trim the foldover into a trapezoid shape for ease of insertion. Once you have taped the spine, leave the book closed for a day or longer so the adhesive in the tape can bond securely to the cover.

  • 1
    I'm not sure if that site'll ship to my location, but at least I know what kind of tape I'm looking for (the 3M!). To rephrase your instruction in order to make sure I know what you're saying, you're suggesting to fold the extra tape at the top and bottom of the spine so that the tabs fold over the edge of the spine and adhere to the inside of the spine that projects above/below the pages (thus adding additional adhesive surface, protecting the ends of the spine and providing an attractive termination to the tape). Feb 6, 2021 at 5:06
  • Correct, the additional foldover will also protect those parts of the spine which, in the case of the bottom portion, will wear down over time being slid in and out of a shelf.
    – agarza
    Feb 6, 2021 at 14:11

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