Q: Who can rebind my mother’s ancient copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales without charging a Rumplestiltskin-size pile of gold?
A: Rebinding rare books (defined by most libraries as pre-1850) can be difficult and very expensive, but if your favorite falling-apart volume has great sentimental (or monetary) value, you may want to call Jeff Peachey, a Columbia-trained master restorer who makes his own tools when not repairing limited-edition Tiffany volumes for various museums. Peachey usually recommends enclosing fragile books in a protective box, either a simple folding-board one (which he’ll custom-make for $35) or a more elegant leather version ($600). “That way you’re not interfering with the artifact in any way while still mitigating any damage caused by the environment,” he says. If you insist on a proper rebinding, he can do that, too ($100 per hour; 212-387-7860). Another option, says Mindell Dubansky, a 21-year veteran of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s book-conservation department, is to make a full-color “preservation photocopy.” That’s basically a high-quality replica that you can handle without damaging the original ($75 to $100 per hour; 212-348-1674).