During the incunabula period (that is, the second half of the fifteenth century), books were seldom bound at the printer's shop. Instead the printed sheets were bundled and shipped to buyers at various destinations. A book's first, temporary binding was likely to be ordered or created by or for a bookseller; it was intended to be removed by the purchaser, who would have the book more personally and permanently bound. The ends of the sewing supports and endband cores could easily be pulled out of the slits in the interim case and reused to attach permanent wooden boards or pasteboards. Features such as untrimmed textblock edges, or the lack of endbands may be indications of a temporary binding. Many of these interim bindings of the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries were made with real sophistication, and show skillful sewing, well-made endbands, and thoughtfully fashioned paper or parchment cases. Some could very well have been meant to be permanent, intended for the buyer who did not want the expense of a new binding. Indeed, even though many of these bindings were certainly intended to be temporary, they have survived in remarkably good condition for 500 years, a testament to the quality of the materials and the durable flexibility of their structure.
Tacketing is a method of attaching a case to a sewn textblock without using the sewing supports for lacing. Instead the case is attached with tackets, such as strips of parchment or leather thongs.
German, sixteenth century
Tacketed binding.
Author: Agrippa von Nettesheim, Heinrich Cornelius, 1486?-1535
Title: Orationes X.
Published: Cologne: Johann Soter, 1535.
Location: Rare Books (Ex)
Call number: 6155.115.325 1544
Spine height: 15 cm

Italian, sixteenth century
Tacketed binding.
Author: Lascaris, Constantine, 1434-1501?
Title: [Selections. 1515].
Published: Florence: Filippo Giunta, 1515.
Location: Rare Books (Ex)
Call number: 2512.564
Spine height: 22 cm

Swiss, sixteenth century
Simple laced parchment wrapper
Author: Birck, Sixt, 1500-1554
Title: In M. T. Ciceronis libros III.
Published: Basel: Johann Oporinus, 1550.
Location: Rare Books (Ex)
Call number: PA6296.D4 B57 1550
Spine height: 18 cm

Dutch, sixteenth century
More sophisticated laced parchment cases, with turn-ins and fore-edge ties.
Author: Plutarch
Title: Opuscula moralia.
Published: Lyons: Sebastianus Gryphius, 1542.
Location: Rare Books (Ex)
Call number: 2742.311.542 v. 3
Spine height: 18 cm

Italian, eighteenth century
Laced paper case. This type of inexpensive binding remained popular in Italy from the fifteenth through the eighteenth centuries.
Author: Maffei, Scipione, marchese, 1675-1755
Title: Opere del Maffei.
Published: Venice: Presso Antonio Curti Q. Giacomo, 1790.
Location: Rare Books (Ex)
Call number: 3131.54.1790 v. 10

French, eighteenth century
A simple decorated paper wrapper.
Author: Latude, Henri Masers de, 1725-1805
Title: Le despotisme devoilé, ou, Mémoires de Henri Masers de Latude.
Published: Paris: [Printed for the author], 1792.
Location: Rare Books (Ex)
Call number: 1509.171.566 1792
Spine height: 15 cm

British, nineteenth century
Blue paper publisher's binding.
Author: Styles, John, 1782-1849
Title: An essay on the character, immoral, and antichristian tendency of the stage.

London: Williams and Smith, 1806.

Location: Rare Books (Ex)
Call number: PN2049 .S75 1806
Spine height: 20 cm