Behind The Scenes at Kater-Crafts Bookbinders - Atlas Obscura

Pico Rivera, California

Behind The Scenes at Kater-Crafts Bookbinders

The age-old craft of bookbinding survives in the era of e-books.

Calling all bibliophiles! Join us for an exploration of modern-day bookbinding, literary artifacts, and crafts.

Whether or not you're afflicted with bibliomania, the family-run business of Kater-Crafts Bookbinders will indulge your love of all things books. For over six decades, Kater-Crafts has been designing and making covers for special edition prints and very old books that need a second lease on life.

Opened in 1948 by family patriarch Mel Kavin, Kater-Crafts began as a library bindery. As the original business model gradually became unprofitable, the company shifted its focus to specialty bookbinding. The company once employed over a hundred employees, but is now down to a dozen and is run by Kavin's three adult children. Now, in the age of e-books, Kater-Crafts has managed to find its niche: part printing business and part garment manufacturing, with the bookbinding craft a hybrid between the two.

Join Field Agent Benjamin Harmon on an extensive, guided factory tour and viewing of the mini museum assembled by Mel Kavin from his personal collection of literary-themed artifacts. Each attendee will receive an Atlas Obscura linotype set to take home with them. Afterwards, we'll enjoy a pizza lunch with the staff, where we can pick their brains about all things binding. 


  • This event occurs on a weekday morning—specifically on a Thursday.
  • This event is family friendly, ages 12+. All minors must be ticketed and accompanied by an adult.
  • Because we will be touring a manufacturing facility, please dress in pants and wear closed-toe shoes. No high heels, sandals, or flip flops are allowed.
  • A signed liability waiver is required from all attendees of this tour. 
  • Photography is allowed, but please ask permission to take photos of any of the workers. Tag @atlasobscura #atlasobscura 
  • Pizza will be served at the end of the tour (included in the ticket price)! Please let us know in advance if you have any dietary restrictions and we will try our best to accommodate your needs. 



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Advance Tickets Only. All Sales Final. No Refunds or Exchanges.