The last bookbinder in Ho Chi Minh City

(VOVWORLD) - Bookbinding has become a lifetime career of Vo Van Rang in Ho Chi Minh City. All the old and torn books are given a new appearance with Rang’s skillful hands. Over the years, thousands of books have been restored with his dedication. 
The last bookbinder in Ho Chi Minh City - ảnh 1Vo Van Rang (Photo: Thanh Vien/ 

In Rang’s house at the end of a small lane on Ly Chinh Thang street several customers are holding their thick old books, waiting for their turns to have their books rebound. Nguyen Manh Tuan is a regular customer: “I come here to rebind some of my favorite books. This has become a familiar address to me”.

Mr. Rang is well-known on book forums. He is the only one in Ho Chi Minh who can restore old books. Though many books are too old and the printing has faded, Rang still manages to rebind them, trying to keep the soul of the original ones. Le Anh Dung is another regular customer: “I have many old books that cannot be found at bookstore now. I have to find Rang, the only bookbinder in Ho Chi Minh City”.

Rang’s legs were paralyzed after a fever when he was a child. He decided to earn his living from bookbinding in 1978 and still pursues the career until now. Piles of books are found in every corner of Rang’s house. Most of the steps of bookbinding are made by hand. Mr. Rang said: “First, I have to check the physical quality of the book. Then, I unbind the book, rearrange each page, and rebind them. This is a sophisticated and meticulous process”.

The last bookbinder in Ho Chi Minh City - ảnh 2Vo Van Rang is dedicated to his job (Photo: 

Rang also has foreign customers. He said restoring foreign books takes more time and effort as he has to check every single page in English to rebind it in the correct order: “I have great passion for the work. I have an opportunity to learn from old books”.

It takes Rang several days to a week to rebind a book. The average fee is around 1 or 2 USD each.

Over the past 40 years, with some simple tools, Rang has helped restore and preserve thousands of precious books.