economics of dos-à-dos book binding

example of dos-à-dos book binding

A dos-à-dos binding has two books sharing a back cover.  A dos-à-dos binding thus requires less binding material than two regular bindings.  Book bindings have been historically highly differentiated.  Book bindings have ranged in cost from cheap to very expensive.  Dos-à-dos binding doesn’t add much value as a means for cost economizing or book price differentiation.

Dos-à-dos binding is better understood in terms of symbolic value than through cost economics.  A dos-à-dos binding expresses physically the close relation of two books.  Among books bound dos-à-dos, a frequent couple was the Psalter and the New Testament.  A dos-à-dos binding accentuates physically the connection between the Psalter and the New Testament (some verses of the New Testament quote psalms).  In addition, two books bound dos-à-dos look distinctively different from a regular book.  Means of distinction have value to humans in social life.

Just as for words and books, binding digital works to distinctive physical artifacts creates additional value.

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the book shown above: The New Testament (London: Robert Barker, 1630) bound with a text entitled The third part of the Bible.  It consisted of Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Solomon, and Sternhold and Hopkins’ metrical Psalms (online here). The above book has the book owner’s initials “M G” on the front and back boards.  The book is in the collection of the Folger Library, Washington, DC.

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