When it Comes to Binding, What are our Options?

First, a few terms

  • Head – the top of a book

  • Tail (or foot) – the bottom of a book

  • Face – the front of a book/the opposite edge of the spine

  • Spine – the bound edge of a book

  • Leaf – a single sheet of paper in a book (one leaf equals two pages, if perfect bound)

  • Sheet – also known as leaf

  • Page – one side of a sheet or leaf of paper

  • Signature – a single press form folded but not bound or trimmed to final size

  • Bleed – image that runs off the edge of page (1/8-inch is industry standard)

  • Trim marks – indicates the final size


cutter in press room


folder in press room

Saddle Stitch Binding

  • Also called wire stitch binding

  • Two wire staples on spine of booklet

  • Booklet must be in 4-page increments

  • Very efficient method of binding

    • Saddle stitch

    • Loop stitch

    • Side-by-side stitching

wire stitched binding in press room

Perfect Binding

  • Sheets are glued together at the spine

  • Can use single sheets but folded signatures are most common

  • Very efficient binding method

  • Variation of binding style

    • Perfect binding (PUR glue lasts longer)

    • Lay-flat binding

    • Perfect binding with side stitch

perfect binding in press room

Hard Cover

  • Sheets are sewn or glued in hard cover “case” but not attached to the spine

  • Requires four signatures of sufficient bulk

  • Will last for centuries

  • Variation of binding style

    • Smyth sewn with hard cover

    • Notch binding

    • Smyth sewn with soft cover (perfect bind)

Mechanical binding

  • Sheets are held together with a device

  • All sheets do not have to be the same size, color, weight or shape.

  • Lends itself to hand assembly before binding

  • Often best method for low quantities

Types of mechanical binding

  • Wire-O binding

  • Spiral binding

  • Screw Post binding

  • Account Book binding

  • Plastic Comb binding

  • Velobind

  • Ring binding

See also:

Perfect Binding

Saddle Stitching

Spiral Binding

Comb Binding

Case Binding

Wire-o Binding

Binding and Finishing Home Page

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