Repair - horses for courses.

I am often asked about book repair and if you have to go 'all the way' with every book.  The short answer is, in my view, no you don't.
There are various options for book repair. Making a booking at the bindery, bringing your book, and discussing the possibilities are the first steps. 
In the meantime, here is an overview:
It is worthwhile thinking about your plans for the book and how you intend it to be kept, handled and used in the future.  Each stage increases the level of INTERVENTION, and hence INVASIVENESS of the treatment, and consequently the time, and cost of having the work done. Not every treatment is necessary or appropriate to every book.

·     PRESERVATION(Prioritizing stability and value)
Cleaning the book, stabilizing and consolidating it's materials and structure, and providing the means for best handling and storage, to slow further decay. This is often part of an overall plan for a collection, and also looks at the books' environment. 
In the bindery, I call this the Archival CCB option - Clean, Consolidate and Box.
·     LIGHT REPAIR(Prioritizing practicality)
Conservative and targeted; keeping original materials and focusing on minimal intervention. This is best for books which are not read often.
·     FULL REPAIR(Prioritizing function).
Practical repairs and replacements to maximise usability for a book well used and loved, which may include major structural refurbishment.
·     RESTORATION(Prioritizing aesthetic)
Often drastic changes to restore the book to a newer appearance. This is a big call for a book, and requires much thought.

My advice is, whenever in doubt, always have the first step of preservation completed on an old book, so that the current aging, damage and environment of the book can be stabilized. This is also the least expensive option, will slow the rate of decay, and buy you time to consider how much further you wish to go. It is a great option for a collection of books which may be kept to pass on to someone, and the only choice for a book of significant value (especially first editions).

There are from time to time, books and works on paper whose condition, value or required treatment warrant closer attention in a conservators lab, rather than a bookbindery. In this case,  I won't hesitate to refer work which requires the skills of a specialist - the 'Above-my-pay-grade Category'  ;)

BEFORE full restoration
BEFORE full restoration
ta-daa~   all lovely again.
BEFORE full repair treatment
Ready to be read, and read, and read...all over again
BEFORE preservation measures.
Cleaned, Recovered,Protected.