Our Story

The National Library Bindery is a hidden historical gem right here in Indy. Originally established in 1873 to convey the written word to the early settlers and pioneers of the Midwest, the bindery now faithfully preserves those traditional bookmaking techniques developed during the turn of the century. Our team of binders specialize in producing high-end, deluxe edition books, archival quality preservation of publications, and restoration of antiquated books. 


Our History
1873 | 
German immigrant Christopher A. Schnabel established the Schnabel Bookbinding Company in downtown Indianapolis, a rapidly growing railroad city with a dynamic publishing industry aimed at providing printed materials for the American Midwest.
1890 – 1919 |
Christopher was joined by his sons, most notably Oscar, who took over the company in 1919. Under the direction of Oscar, Schnabel Bookbinding Company began expanding to become a prominent bindery in the Midwest known for its high quality craftsmanship.
1920 | Ohio Library Bindery Company and the New England and Empire companies merged to form National Library Bindery Company.
1925 | Schnabel Bookbinding Company became part of the National Library Bindery Company.
early-tag-sm1927 – 1933 | Oscar Schnabel joined the Board of Directors and served as its President. At its peak, the National Library Bindery Company operated six binderies throughout the East and Midwest. The untimely death of Gerard Van Deene, the driving force behind this alliance of companies, led to disassociation of the National Library Bindery companies and each branch once again became an independent entity.The Indiana branch was incorporated under the name National Library Bindery Company of Indiana, Inc. and continued servicing public and private libraries with Oscar Schnabel at the helm. Oscar’s son, Ralph Schnabel, assumed an active role in operating the company.
1987 – present | Ralph Schnabel retired and sold the company to Joseph Cox, the current owner. Today, National Library Bindery Company of Indiana continues to offer traditional binding and book restoration and has recently expanded its services to meet the needs of a changing market. What hasn’t changed is the company’s dedication to the high quality craftsmanship that has been our main focus for over 140 years.

Our Philosophy
For 140 years building relationships with our customers through our commitment to quality has been the cornerstone of our business philosophy. We believe it is important to first understand the needs of each customer and to then explain the process and options that we feel best meet those expectations. We believe in the traditional craftsmanship of bookbinding and employ tried and true methods from the turn of the century to fulfill those expectations.