Alternative titles for this job include Print finisher

Bookbinders turn printed paper into books and catalogues by hand or using machines.

Average salary (a year)

£18,000 Starter


£30,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

41 to 43 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends on shifts

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Bookbinder

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly
  • specialist training courses


You could do a foundation degree or degree in:

  • design crafts
  • printmaking
  • art conservation and restoration

You'll need to check that the course covers methods used in bookbinding.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • at least 1 A level, or equivalent, for a foundation degree
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

More Information


You can do a bookbinder or print operative intermediate apprenticeship or a print technician advanced apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More Information


You could start out as a print room or reprographics assistant and work your way up through experience and taking courses.

Direct Application

You could apply directly to become a bookbinder. Employers will expect you to have some printing experience.

You may find it useful to have GCSEs or equivalent at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C).

Other Routes

You could take short specialist courses in craft binding and finishing. You can take these courses with organisations like the Society of Bookbinders.

More Information

Further information

You can find out more about working in bookbinding and printing from the British Printing Industries Federation and the Heritage Crafts Association.

You can also find out more about working in creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • observation and recording skills
  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • concentration skills
  • the ability to work on your own
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

You could:

  • set up and feed paper into machines
  • glue and stitch using hand operated machines
  • cut paper to size using hand and machine cutting tools
  • check the quality of work and meet production deadlines
  • identify issues and report machine breakdowns
  • take away and stack finished products

If you're a craft or hand bookbinder, you might:

  • use hand tools to make bindings for books and to sew pages
  • use traditional materials to add decoration and clean discoloured pages
  • produce specialist books like family histories or books for libraries and museums
  • repair antique books

Working environment

You could work in a factory or in a workshop.

Your working environment may be dusty and noisy.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a supervisor or work for a specialist print finishing company.

You could also move into other jobs like printing or sales.

As a craft bookbinder, you could improve your job opportunities by joining the Society of Bookbinders or Designer Bookbinders.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Apprentice Digital Printer

  • Wage: £15,392 a year Annually
  • Location: Hampton Lovett Industrial Estate, Lovett Road, Droitwich Spa

Print Operative Apprentice

  • Wage: £16,993.60 a year Annually
  • Location: 2 Chester Road, Colmworth Business Park, Eaton Socon, St. Neots

Courses In England

Start bookbinding

  • Start date: 26 April 2025
  • Location: London

Bookbinding - Taster

  • Start date: 04 July 2024
  • Location: Tunbridge Wells

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