That's my girl, that is :)
I've been asked to restore an - quote - "An original Wainwright'" That's a linky you can click on, but in essence, Alfred Wainwright, (1907-1991) lived, loved and walked the Lakeland Fells and produced walking guides to the area. You haven't walked that area unless you've done it with a Wainwright guide in your pocket.
He preferred his own company, a gentle, solitary and funny man, who I was lucky enough to interview in the late 80's. His gentle humour and illustrations come across in his seven books. It's like being there.
The first thing I have to do is find out is whether the book is original. A book may be old and well loved, and look and smell old, and it might even have a date of publication and revision dates. That doesn't make it genuine. If it's not what it seems to be, it doesn't mean it's not worth restoring. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder after all. But if it's going to be sold on after restoration, I need, like an art expert, need to protect myself by proving provenance.
My personal view is - just don't. Leave it alone. An old and tatty book is a loved book, and there's nothing wrong with a well used book. It may not look good, it may be torn, tatty and stained (I once found a bacon rasher as a bookmark) but it has feel, it has history, it has a unique smell, but most of all, it's been read, again, again and again. There's no greater pleasure.
Ask yourself this. In a hundred years time, what's going to survive? Today's digital electronic media? The messy competing standards and DRM - Digital Rights Media? Squabbles between competing publishers, and the machines needed to read them?
Or good honest handwritten or printed books, the carved in stone of antiquity? Did the ancient Brits or Egyptians create digital books? You think that's silly? I wonder what linear archaeologists will learn about our Digital civilisations in a few hundred years. They won't. Because digital is intransigent.