Thursday, September 16, 2010

Review: CoLibri Pocket Auto Covering Machine

So much for good intentions! The start of the year is just crazy, and my resolution to blog once a week didn't even last through Labor Day. But -- I'm back!
Today it's a review of the CoLibiri Pocket Auto Covering Machine.

We're always hunting for cost efficient methods for covering books. We buy lots of graphic novels, paperbacks, and hardcovers with dust jackets. Two years ago, the PTA purchased the CoLibiri machine for us. We've used it regularly, and I've got a few thoughts on it. At Right: The Colibri Pocket machine we own. Image from

How the machine works: Covers are available in three different sizes: mini, standard, and big. The covers are plastic, or more specifically - clear polyethylene. Basically, you pick the cover that's the closest size to the book you're working with. You slip on the cover, and then use the CoLibiri machine to seal/cut the cover to the exact size of the book. It's EASY. Last year, our library volunteers mastered the machine in just one training session, and did most of the covering for us. The machine makes it easy to create precise, even edges. At Left: The biggest size cover. I've got my hand in one of the cover's two "pockets."

CoLibri Positives:
  • Initially, the covers look great.
  • The machine is VERY easy to use
  • The machine can be used for MORE than just book covers. You can use the plastic to cover bookmarks, make pouches and bags, and even wrap presents.

CoLibri Negatives:

  • The covers aren't cheap - it works out to about $1.00 per book, regardless of size. The covers come in cases of 250 for mini and standard, and 150 for the big ones.
  • We had issues with our machine - a bar inside was bent, creating jagged edges on the plastic covers, and the machine needs to be oiled REGULARLY - otherwise it squeaks like crazy. Oiling it isn't difficult, but still a pain.
  • We weren't 100% satisfied with the customer service. When we had issues with our machine, it was a pain to get our salesman to come fix it. Though, that's probably just an issue with this one individual, and not the company as a whole. They do promise "100% customer satisfaction."
  • Finally, the biggest issue: The covers don't hold up under heavy use. Below are some images I took of a book we covered about a year ago. Obviously, this title got a lot of use -- maybe 15 or 20 checkouts over the course of a year. You can see the issues we're having. The plastic can rip, and kids love to scratch through it. It also gets cloudy as the books are circulated.

So, for now, we're not using CoLibri covers. To be honest, we've stopped covering our books altogether. I might regret this in a few years . . . but we'll deal with that then.
Any recommendations for covers you LOVE?