There are two types of Asian style bindings for paper-based books: the accordion and the side-sewn. These formats require separate handling techniques.
An accordion style book is made of one long continuous length of paper or card folded in alternate directions which stacks up to make a text block.
- Carefully turn the book pages while keeping the text block in alignment to avoid strain on the folded accordion joints. This will prevent twisting the folded joints, which can lead to creasing or tears.
- Use flat supports under the thinner side of the text block when the book is open. Change the height of the supports as the pages are turned. Supports can be multiple sheets of mat board, which can be stacked to give varying thicknesses.
These books typically have soft covers with visible sewing along the spine edge. The text paper fold is at the fore-edge and the cut edges are at the spine. The folded text papers and two covers are stitched together through punched holes
These soft books do not have much to protect them from impact or from the edges being creased or bent. Often many books (fascicles) will be bound together as one title. These should be wrapped in a cloth cover.
- The strength of an individual fascicle is at the side-sewn edge so the book must be supported with both hands while holding or reading it.
- Pick up the fascicle at the sewn edge of the text.
- When pulling the title off the shelf, support the rest of the text with the palm of your other hand, particularly for titles with soft covers.
- 3) If the book has flexible text paper, it will open easily and can be viewed opened out on a table surface. If the paper is not flexible, use a cradle to support the covers.
- The strength of multiple fascicles is in the group as a whole. If a fascicle sticks out from the stack, it will become bent, creased, or torn.
- Make sure multiple fascicles are aligned by replacing each on the stack while supporting the text block with the palm of your hand.
- Realign fascicles by gently nudging into place with the soft sides of your fingers before closing the cloth covered wrapper around the stack.
Use cradles to support this material format while viewing or reading, especially for titles that do not open easily. The cradles support the sides of the books and soft, flexible weights can be used to hold the book open. This prevents creasing or breaking the paper at the point of flexing.
- These book types are designed to be stored horizontally. Titles and numbers are written on the bottom edge to enhance location. Wrappers that hold a group of fascicles should not cover the head or tail leaving the title information exposed.
- For vertical storage, the books will need the support of a box or wrapper. Without this support, the soft books will slump and become misshapen. Repeated insertion and removal of an unboxed soft book in a line of books can easily cause the paper to tear or crease.
- Books in headless wrappers stored vertically are at risk of dust and light damage at the head and should be covered with paper to environmental damage.