If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, we may receive an affiliate commission.
A broken spine, loose covers, and ripped pages are unwelcome sights in anyone’s library. Thankfully, a simple roll of tape can assist with repairs. While it might be tempting to reach for whatever masking tape or cellophane tape you have on hand, you’ll achieve much better results if you purchase specialty repair tape that is stronger and stretchier to provide better protection over both level and rounded surfaces. These tapes also tend to be acid free, especially important if you’re fixing valuable volumes. Find the best tape for your needs—whether you’re patching up slim zines, heavy monographs, or beloved art history texts—in our roundup of favorites below.
1. Lineco Book Repair Tape
This high-quality tape for book bindings is discreet, dependable, and acid free. Made of cloth with a high tensile strength, it can stretch to neatly cover curved surfaces like spines and corners—and stay in place. The adhesive backing holds tight without rippling and doesn’t leave behind sticky residue if you need to unpeel a strip. We also like that this tape is dyed a matte, opaque black that harmonizes with any book color. It’s also tough, resisting abrasion should your book encounter future knocks.
2. BookGuard Premium Cloth Bookbinding Repair Tape
If you’re seeking a tape that matches or complements the palette of a colorful book, or a tape that simply makes a statement, browse the offerings from BookGuard. The specialist tape company sells tapes in a good variety of matte colors, including forest green, burgundy, orange, and navy blue. As for the tape’s performance, expect excellent adhesive power from this cotton cloth, which is vinyl coated for additional thickness and strength. We find that it cuts easily, fits smoothly around angles, and doesn’t peel around the edges.
3. Scotch Book Tape
Prefer your tape to be nearly invisible? Consider Scotch’s transparent, 2-inch tape. Made of acrylic, it is a notch thicker than your standard packing tape, and it’s stronger, too. It also has a little stretchiness to ease coverage over uneven surfaces. While you won’t have to worry about this tape becoming brittle and splitting over time, it’s not technically acid free, so we wouldn’t recommend using it on your most precious tomes.
4. Lineco Gummed Book Repair Tape
Unlike other tapes on this list, this tape is gummed, which means you have to wet the adhesive to make it sticky. The backing bonds instantly to any surface it touches—therefore requiring a degree of finesse and accuracy—and creates a virtually permanent seal removable only with mineral spirits. Acid free and pH neutral, this is a smart and strong option for conservation needs. Because the tape is scored down the middle, it’s ideal for reattaching covers, since you can fold it neatly and concisely, but this tape is also gentle enough to secure loose pages. It is quite pricey, however, sold in 3-foot rolls that cost about the same as a typical 15-yard roll.
5. Gaffer Power Book Binding Tape
Finding a good white tape is surprisingly challenging. Some are actually more of a cream or off-white shade, and others tend to pick up—and show off—dirt. This 2-inch-wide option not only is a solid, bright white but is also made of a smooth, coated cloth that doesn’t quickly attract grime. It’s also a great pick if you want a tape that allows for error, as it is sticky yet easy to unpeel and adjust as needed.