Bindery workers are responsible for fastening — or binding — together stacks of paper, and different types of documents result in different bindery jobs. Regular document binding is one of the easier bindery jobs, because it just involves stacking and punching the paper. Bookbinding is slightly more skilled, because the workers need more technical knowledge to organize the pages. Repair binding involves fixing worn bindings, usually on rare books or similar documents. Hand binding is done with no machines used, and this tends to be the most skilled job.
In many print houses, reports and other printed documents are bound. This is one of the bindery jobs that require little technical knowledge, and the machines used usually are relatively simple. In this job, a bindery worker has to ensure the pages are organized, though the printer commonly will do this as it outputs the document. After the edge of the paper is punched through, plastic or metal bindings then will be pushed through the holes to ensure the document stays together during use.
Above regular binding in terms of technical knowledge are book bindery jobs. The binding itself often is about as simple as with regular bookbinding, though the machines may be slightly harder to use. The real difficulty comes with organizing the sheets, because the worker often has to take one large sheet with all the pages and fold or cut it in a certain way to ensure the book pages go in proper numerical order.
The only bindery job that deals exclusively with previously bound documents is repair bindery. In this line of work, a bindery worker fixes worn binding, possibly completely replacing it. The specialization and cost of performing this type of binding means this often is only done for rare documents that have inherent value. Binding machines usually are used to make binding easier for the worker.
At the highest range of technical knowledge and specialization is hand binding. No machines are used in this bindery job, and workers must be knowledgeable about book stitching and other complex binding techniques. This type of binding is very expensive, and rare books and very important documents may be bound using this technique. The worker performing this sometimes also will repair worn bindings, but the main difference between this and ordinary repair binding is that only manual techniques are used in hand binding.