Modern centrally heated homes and/or years of direct exposure to sunlight can cause the leather coverings of bookbindings to dry out, discolour and start to flake and crumble. Years of being pulled off and being pushed back on to bookshelves can result in fraying to the top and bottom of spines and rubbing or fraying to the edges of covers. A lifetime of rough handling can result in frayed, rubbed, bumped or 'spongey' corners. If unattended to, any of the above will hasten a cover or spine becoming detached or a corner becoming so worn that it no longer protects the book within it. The worse the damage or loss becomes, the more likely that eventually the binding will become beyond repair and the book require rebinding, with the loss of the original covering materials.
For books that are not yet damaged to the degree that they require repair, it is possible to stay this process by refurbishing the binding. The process includes reconsolidating worn and frayed edges and corners to a tough finish, re-attaching any loose patches of covering material and detached spine labels, applying a paste-wash to leather bindings to reconsolidate the covering material and for leather bindings, applying a leather dressing that will replace natural oils to the binding, lost over years spent in a dry atmosphere.
I offer an economically-priced refurbishment service, mainly appropriate for leather bindings, but also applicable to cloth bound books, that will bring the binding back into it's best possible aesthetic and physical condition and literally add years to its serviceable life.
NB This process is really only applicable to books where the covers are still firmly attached and there are no major areas of loss or damage to the binding. It is not advisable as a cheap method of 'patching-up' an otherwise seriously damaged binding as it will not stop an almost detached cover from detaching or a disintegrating or an almost detached spine from further loss.
These examples show 'before' and 'after' images of the process outlined above. The images can be clicked to show larger versions.