Although I didn't originally buy it for this purpose my comb binding machine has proven itself a worthwhile investment. I can use it to bind printouts for our homeschool or paperwork I acquire, but it saves us the cost of replacing children's books as well.
Most of our children's books were mine as a child. Most of the rest were bought used (some were quite well loved). Small children are hard on books, and some of my old favorites, marked with my "artwork," are now my sons' favorites. Eventually, the volumes begin to give out, especially the covers.
But a book without a cover or with pages falling out is not a lost cause. The pages can be saved an rebound inexpensively and at home.
1. Remove any remaining binding (pieces of the cover, glue, string, etc.).
2. Use a paper cutter to cut all the pages to the same size and to create a clean margin edge. Cut the smallest amount possible. Most books have generous margins, but you don't want to lose more than your have to or interrupt illustrations.
4. Use an appropriately sized comb and your comb binder to rebind your book.
--> 5. Save the paper pieces from the hole punch to use as confetti at a birthday party.
This post has been linked to WFMW, The Mommy Club, and Hip Homeschool Hop.