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Bookbinder Print finisher

Bookbinders produce books and catalogues using mechanised processes or traditional methods and materials.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £14,000 to £25,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

Some employers may expect you to have GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent, in English and maths. 

To bind books by hand (craft bookbinder), you'll need a qualification in bookbinding.

The Society of Bookbinders (SoB) and the Designer Bookbinders (DB) have information about courses.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • practical skills to work machinery
  • maths skills to measure and count accurately
  • business skills

3. What you'll do

You could work in a print shop on the high street, in the print department of a local council or university, or at a specialist company that does finishing and binding.

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • setting up machinery
  • feeding paper into machinery
  • reporting machine breakdowns
  • taking away and stacking finished products
  • cutting paper to the correct size
  • folding paper and glueing or stapling sections together

If you're a craft or hand bookbinder, your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • using hand tools to make bindings for books and to sew pages
  • using traditional materials to add decoration and clean discoloured pages
  • producing specialist books like family histories or books for libraries and museums
  • repairing antique books

4. Salary

Starter: £14,000 to £17,000

Experienced: £18,000 to £25,000

If you're self-employed, your income will depend on the amount of work you do.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll work 35 to 40 hours a week. You may work shifts.

You'll work in a factory or workshop. Machinery can be noisy so you'll use ear protectors.

If you're self-employed, you'll work from home. You may travel to meet clients.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a supervisor, or work for a specialist print finishing company.

You could also move into other jobs like printing or sales.

As a craft bookbinder, you could improve your job prospects by joining the Society of Bookbinders or Designer Bookbinders.

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Last updated: 18 August 2017