Of the 84 publishers fingered on the site, none appear to be feeling the heat. They're ignoring librarians' complaints, and only occasionally replacing defective titles.
A STICKY PROBLEM
Librarians blame the glues. They say books of recent vintage seem to be manufactured with cheap adhesives that don't maintain a grip.
"We've taken apart some books and looked at the text block itself," says McManus of the Millinocket Memorial Library. "Sometimes it's one solid impenetrable mass of glue that dries like glass, and you can see that it's not even attached to the paper. So the glue is horrible. It may hold the text block together, but it certainly won't hold it to the spine."
Glue manufacturers and binding experts agree. They point to recession-era market pressures driving publishers to cut costs, and cut corners. Manufacturers are substituting low-grade glues, papers, and inks for the good stuff of years past.
Making matters worse, some makers are ignoring the art of binding, failing to properly match adhesives with materials.
"You have to think about the whole process, and the preparation of the book block," says Xavier Ardanaz, marketing manager for book binding adhesives at the National Adhesives division of National Starch and Chemical Co., in Bridgewater, N.J. "It depends on the glue, the paper, and preparation-like rocking or sanding or notching or burst binding methods-so you expose fiber for adhesives to grab onto."
Ardanaz says different papers require different adhesives and preparation methods. Newsprint or bleached should be handled differently than coated. Likewise, there are special adhesives and prep methods for light- and heavily-coated stocks.
Solvents and inks should also be considered when devising the manufacturing process, Ardanaz says. "If you're using solvents and inks, then you require a whole different set of adhesives," he says. "So the preparation, and the marriage between the adhesive, substrate, and the machine you're using are critical."