Bookbinding 'bible' is sellout

Witney Gazette: Tony Clark Tony Clark

FAME came late,and in a faraway country to pensioner Tony Clark.

An Indian publisher decided to produce his book, first published in Britain 14 years ago, in India — and queues of people clamouring for copies stretched around the hall at a publishers’ fair in Delhi.

Mr Clark, 76, from Milton-under-Wychwood, a bookbinding expert, said: “Over the years I made notes of the problems faced by bookbinders. These turned into a book, Book Binding With Adhesives. It was first published by McGraw Hill and ran to three editions. Then 14 years ago it went out of print but the publishers gave me the copyright.”

The book has since become a bookbinders’ bible in India, where a huge proportion of the world’s books, including many from Oxford University Press — which until the 1980s had a book bindery in Walton Street, Oxford — are now produced.

He added: “I had written a few articles for the Indian publisher Wellbound Worldwide and they asked if they could republish the book. I said yes — and the demand was overwhelming.”

Mr Clark, a former president of the Institute of Bookbinding, will not become rich as a result.

He said: “I just told them: ‘Give me some books and I’ll be happy’. Mainly they have been either given to customers of Wellbound or sold to experts and professionals in India.”

Mr Clark still receives income from his patented machine, the Page-Pull Tester, for testing the strength of book bindings, which he invented in 1999.

He said one user was Argos, which produced about 15 milion catalogues a year and insisted on good strength.

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