Bookbinding as a craft has always been a part of Indian culture and heritage. Bookbinding has a variety of styles such as the Coptic Stitch Binding which is believed to have come from Egypt wherein sections of paper are bound together using a chain-like stitch. There are various others such as Saddle Stitch Binding, Simple Stitch Binding, Perfect Binding, Japanese Stab Book Binding and Hard-cover Binding. As part of the contemporary tradition of handcrafted stationery, book binding is sometimes combined with embroidery. Due to the delicate nature of the paper, embroidery can be very challenging but if practised with skill and patience, it results in unique and beautiful products.
Although the designs today are contemporary and with modern colours, Gujarat and Rajasthan are known for their ‘bhai-khata’ books which are typically books used for accounting. They are specifically made to provide ease of use to merchants. The covers of the book are made of fabric with characteristic white thread used to stitch the covers into a pillowcase of sorts, and turning the final product from being a book meant for accounting to a work of art.