Book Breaker

An informal name for a dealer who makes a practice of dismantling a book in order to sell individual leaves (typically plates or maps). The practice is controversial in cases where the book that is being pieced-out was complete and whole, but in cases of heavily damaged or incomplete books, it can be seen as a method of preserving what is otherwise beyond repair. While some bookssellers disagree with any practice that is not conserving and preserving rare books, the economics of book breaking make it a fairly common practice. A bookseller may buy an older atlas of moderate value, for example, and sell the individual maps from that atlas for a significant a combined amount significantly more than the book's retail value as a whole.