Rebound Books

We made our first Rebound Book in the summer of 2008 in part due my experience of looking for a source of unwanted books to use the covers and spines to make collages.  We had acquired a whole transit van load donated by Oxfam and St. John’s Hospice. We picked them up from a local warehouse which was completely overflowing with old books – there were too many for charity shops, and thankfully they hadn’t gone to landfill.

Since that visit, acutely aware of the scale of the problem, I searched on the internet for ideas of what you can do with old books, we got hold of a guillotine and a binder, picked up some great quality reclaimed paper from a local scrap store, and we were off.


We made our own little business that supported our family for almost a year.

Selling online meant we could offer books for sale before they were converted into journals or diaries. This saved time, ensured that each book had the option to be custom made and we even occasionally had people buy second hand books (just as they were), which was great, what’s not to like?

Our customised options included diaries with academic option, different page views and even multilingual, as well as features such as elastic closures, bookmark ribbons, bookmarks from the spine and gift wrap. We even offered a refill service.

As well as selling online we travelled to markets, festivals and craft fairs twice a week and added products such as notebooks from cereal packets, chocolate boxes and playing cards. It was an inspiration to realise that a livelihood can be created from waste.

Rebound Books is now run very successfully as a community enterprise by L’Arche Brecon. In 2011 they were recognised for their ‘sustainable solution to climate change’ and won the ‘Hay on Earth’ Green Dragon’s Den a prize of £10,000. Find out more about Rebound Books at L’Arche Brecon.


We went on to train other people how to make and sell Rebound Books for themselves, offering all the tips and tricks we learnt, including a custom website and still offer this as a service. Visit Cresse UK (Creative Recycling Environment Start ups for Social Enterprise) to find out more.

Old books new tricks

Seeing what kinds of reuses there are for old unwanted books.