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Our Player's Handbook is quite literally falling apart. We've had it for about a year, but many pages simply aren't sticking to the binding. We take good care of it, we aren't throwing it around, we're just using it. Dozens of pages fall out at a time and it's not only frustrating to use, but disappointing to see.

I had heard that this was a common occurrence with the first printings for DnD 5e. Is that true? If so, what can I do about it as far as replacing or repairing it?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Mine fell apart after 2384 hours of use. \$\endgroup\$ – gburton Nov 25 '17 at 22:37
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Yes, they had a problem with the glue they used for the first printing, is my understanding. Our first PHB was falling apart within weeks. We called WotC and they sent a Fedex call tag to pick it up, and replaced it for free, but it took 3 weeks, door to door. It wasn't the whole first printing that had problems. The replacement that we received was also content-wise the first printing (un-errata'd) but had an obviously more flexible glue used for the binding.

Our FLGS owner had originally been told that Wizards would only deal directly with customers, and not with him, regarding the defective books, which is why we went through Wizards directly. But when I told him that I'd read online that other gaming stores were able to replace the book for their customers, they called and asked again and were told that they could indeed replace defective books and would be compensated for them.

So, in the interest of not being without your book for 3 weeks, if you bought it locally, I'd suggest bringing it back. If they still copies in stock, you should be able to exchange it right in store.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I would just like to point out that I had the same problem a year ago when I bought my copy of the Player's Handbook from my FLGS, and not only did they already know about the problem they exchanged it for me right there in the store. Didn't even need ask for my receipt (though that may be a product of their familiarity with me as a customer). \$\endgroup\$ – Dyndrilliac Sep 13 '15 at 0:24
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My copy of the 1st printing of the 5th edition Player's Handbook certainly started falling apart after light use. Basically folio-like "chunks" of about 15 or 20 pages of the book separated cleanly from what looks like some kind of heat-set plastic binding glue. This happened to me twice in two different parts of my book, and the first time the separation only happened toward the top, but the "chunk" remained attached at the bottom. The second time, the "chunk" was almost entirely unattached, top to bottom.

Fortunately, if you are in a similar scenario it is not too difficult to repair your copy of the PHB, as the pages come out so monolithically en masse. To repair:

  1. Get some Gorilla Glue, a pin or needle, a piece of cardboard or paper to serve as a place to hold glue while you work, and have about 20 minutes;
  2. dollop the glue onto the cardboard;
  3. open the book wide, and with the pin scoop a small drop of glue from the dollop, and with the pin smooth a very thin layer back and forth across the width exposed binding glue in small swatches, patiently working your way the entire length of the seam (the narrow size of the exposed original binding glue and the thick consistency of the Gorilla Glue prohibited doing this with a brush);
  4. push and massage the neatly stacked pages into place until they are flush top, bottom and outer margins; and
  5. close the book and place it under weights—say, a pile of 1st-4th edition D&D books ;)—as it dries. Gorilla Glue, once activated by the water in the air, takes about 4 hours to cure, so I would just leave the book pressed under weight overnight and you are all set.

I did this repair months ago, and have been using my 1st printing of the 5th ed PHB pretty heavily since, and it is working very nicely. So nicely, in fact, that you cannot tell that there was ever a problem with the binding. Again: go very thin with this glue, as it will expand and foam if you go at all thick, and do not get it on anything but the old binding glue.

Caveat for the book binding nerds: Yes, I know Gorilla Glue is not a good book-binding glue in general, and when I perform a new bind I do not use it. But this is a very specific repair—some sections falling out, and not even entirely out—on specific materials. :)

Update 5-5-16: For those wondering about how this repair holds up under heavy use: the PHB has held up beautifully with the repair job I described in this answer to date.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ In our book, the first part to come out was the part with the beast stats -- our druid called it "the pamphlet" as it if was supposed to be a separable entity ;-) and would ask people to pass him the pamphlet (rather than passing him the PHB) \$\endgroup\$ – PurpleVermont Sep 13 '15 at 2:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Am I right in assuming the cardboard is your new cover? \$\endgroup\$ – Premier Bromanov Sep 13 '15 at 14:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PurpleVermont our spells are almost entirely separated now, save a few pages. We had the thought of perhaps just buying a new book and keeping a pamphlet of the spells handy lol \$\endgroup\$ – Premier Bromanov Sep 13 '15 at 14:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @TomSterkenburg No, I'm pretty sure the cardboard is just a palette for holding a glob of glue to carefully apply where needed with the pin. \$\endgroup\$ – PurpleVermont Sep 13 '15 at 16:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ @TomSterkenburg PurpleVermont is correct: the cardboard or paper is just a place to situate the glue you are going to work with. My answer assumes that you have all of the PHB's constituent parts. Just a repair, not a new binding. (Although I have formally bound my house rules... but that's a significantly more complicated process. :) \$\endgroup\$ – Lexible Sep 13 '15 at 16:41
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Threads at wizards.com, ENWorld, and Giant in the Playground discuss this. The general takeaway seems to be that your store should be able to replace yours, and they then work with the distributor to rectify their accounts.

As for how common it is, I can't find anything definitive (like a statement from WotC saying "sorry, print run 37-C had a clogged nozzle, so we expect those two thousand to be poorly glued..."). Your guess is as good as mine.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ How can you determine the run? Is that printed somewhere on the books? \$\endgroup\$ – Alexis Wilke Sep 12 '15 at 21:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AlexisWilke That's the same question I had a while back--the link has excellent answers attached. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Sep 12 '15 at 22:39
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Yes. It is not restricted to the PHB either, the whole initial release has binding problems.

My local library's copy of the MM had pages coming loose, a month or two after purchase.

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