Behind-The-Scenes at Kater-Crafts Bookbinders - Atlas Obscura
Join us on an Atlas Obscura Trip in 2019 »

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 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.

On March 8, join Field Agent Benjamin Harmon on a guided tour of Kater-Crafts. In addition to our special factory tour,  we'll have a viewing of the mini museum assembled by Mel Kavin from his personal collection of literary-themed artifacts, and afterwards, we'll enjoy a pizza lunch with the staff—where we can pick their brains about all things literary.


  • This event occurs on a weekday morning—specifically on a Wednesday.
  • This event is family friendly, ages 12+.
  • 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 and dated Liability Waiver is required from all attendees of this tour. The Liability Waiver will be collected at the start of the tour.
  • Photography is allowed, but if you take photos of the workers, please ask for permission first.
  • Pizza will be served at the end of the tour! The pizza will have gluten but if you have other dietary restrictions, please let us know in advance and we will try and order a pizza that you can consume.

Questions? Email

Stay connected! Subscribe to the LA Obscura Society newsletter and like our Facebook page for a first glimpse at upcoming events.

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