Insider Tips for Debinding Your Precious Textbooks

  1. So, I'm not entirely sure where I first read about debinding your books, but for those of you new to the concept, debinding your texts is a dream against lugging all of your bound 5- and 10-pounders to class every day. In other words, if you debind your book, or have it professionally deconstructed, you would only need to take the materials you are studying in class for any given day, by chapter. Kinko's will do this, but you must be prepared for them to be willing to help you. Sad, but true. You can be prepared by removing the hard cover of your text book, as ANY Kinko's representative will tell you that their industrial blade will not be able to cut through it. Further, you should probably even cut it into sections with a straight razor of some sort, such as an exact-o knife. You are doing this more for yourself, because it is likely that if you leave it to the discretion of the other cutter, they may not break it down, and you will end up having a product that is cut with a bias from the book being too thick. The rep. at my Kinko's location was kind enough to explain this to me. In total, it took me roughly 15 minutes to remove my hard covers from two books, and to cut those + another book into sections of three. The big issue here is not the debinding, though. It's learning how to use the book once you have a final deconstructed product. If you have it rebound with a "comb," you will entirely defeat your purpose -- so don't do that. I've read in several threads that you should have it drilled to fit three ring binders, but I would urge you to reconsider. This costs, in some instances, nearly three times the cost of debinding. Furthermore, you should understand that your text book paper is more fragile than generic paper, so it is more prone to tearing at punch holes. After so many pages are ripped or torn at the punch holes, you start to end up with a sloppy mess of a book, and you also risk the possibility of not being able to resell your product at a later time, if that is something you plan on doing. You may prefer to bind your chapters with a suitable "report cover/folder." Doing this will extend the life of your book. I have an expanding file with a flip top, which I use to keep the remainder of the book in while I am not using it. I also have the index in a separate report folder; and the glossary, chapter answers, in a separate report folder; both for quick reference. As I remove certain chapters from the main book component, I place a tabbed page there for an easy return process. Hope this helps anyone considering this process. It may cost a touch more, but if you get your books at a bargain price, consider it a fair trade off for ease of effort in the long run. I would love to hear from anyone else who's had experience with this and can offer little pearls of wisdom that I've missed. Happy New Year, everyone!
    Last edit by TheBlackDogWaits on Jan 2, '13
  2. Visit TheBlackDogWaits profile page

    About TheBlackDogWaits, ASN, RN

    Joined: Sep '12; Posts: 209; Likes: 320
    from US
    Specialty: 2 year(s) of experience


  3. by   mchssrn8813
    I had ever heard of this but it sounds like an awesome idea
  4. by   student forever
    Besides being smaller, lightweight and specific, now you can make copies of pictures more easily and place different sheets side by side for ease of manipulation rather than try to hold 2-3-4 pages open and read simultaneously.
  5. by   NEOLUV
    I have done it since nursing 101 class and i am going into my last semester in two weeks. I love it. I only take out what i need for each exam. I use three ring binders. If you are careful the pages will not rip out. It takes a few hours to debind them... But worth it. Also.. It makes it easy to add powerpoints to your binder.
  6. by   MsNurseMS
    I had my gigantic book divided into neatly organized booklets.
    Just go to Staples or Kinkos and it takes like a day or 2. Best thing I ever did for my back
  7. by   Virgilio
    I did the same thing just last week. We probably read the same article a few weeks ago. The Kinko's that I went to cut my soft bound books but, like you, couldn't cut my hard bound. Luckily they sent me a few miles up the street to the next Kinko's which had a stronger machine, cut right through it. Total cost to have them cut and drilled, $6.50.

    Instead of using expanding files I spent a little more for aluminum screw posts and covers from Amazon.

    Other thoughts for anyone else considering this: I was more than dismayed to find that the three hole punch went through the words of the text a little bit. The trade off of having a lightweight book, and being more organized is worth it. IIRC all of the books in my initial military training were similarly bound and it was not a problem at all. DO NO DO THIS IF IT WILL BOTHER YOU! The trade off will be instead of carrying 30 lbs of books to school every day you can streamline it to a slim book with only the material you will cover, and your notebook or whatever.
    Last edit by Virgilio on Jan 6, '13
  8. by   Stephalump
    Has anyone tried using he special hole punch to turn their books into spiral notebooks vs 3 ing?
  9. by   itsnowornever
    Quote from Stephalump
    Has anyone tried using he special hole punch to turn their books into spiral notebooks vs 3 ing?
    Did thus to all my books I actually used
  10. by   Stephalump
    Quote from itsnowornever

    Did thus to all my books I actually used
    Oooo, now I'm actually intrigued by the idea. The pages in my books are so paper thin, I don't think they could withstand a 3 rung binder, and an open folder system can't withstand my toddler.
  11. by   itsnowornever
    The place I did mine used a thick clear plastic thing on the front and back to make it more "book like" and used the spiral binding. No ill-effects and it was MUCH easier for me to read a book that was more like a spiral note book. When it came to NCLEX time, it was easier for me to separate study books by "question" book and "answer" book so I could check myself easier instead of going back and forth, back and forth.