Not all book bindings are created equal. When considering a print project, it is important to be knowledgeable about the available options. There are three basic type of bindings utilized in book manufacturing - case, paper, and mechanical. The decision on what type of binding to use should be determined prior to a job being printed so that layout and design staff can make the proper accommodations.
To guide in choosing a binding, the following factors should be taken into account:
- The type (format) of book being bound: novel; reference book; training manual; presentations
- Total number of pages
- Type of paper stock (weight)
- Book Dimensions (determines page count)
Trade and mass market paperback books (novels) generally use perfect binding, also referred to as adhesive or notch-bound binding. This popular, soft-cover application uses paperboard or thick paper stock and involves gluing or adhering the text to the inside spine. With this type of binding, large quantities of books can be produced quickly, with lower costs, but the book cannot lie perfectly flat when open because the spines and covers are glued together. A perfect-bound book accommodates approximately 1500 pages.
The most expensive (and durable) binding option is case binding. It results in a hard binding or hardcover book made from thick cardboard wrapped in cloth. A trimmed book is bound by rigid boards (binder’s board, chipboard, pasted board) on each side and then glued directly into a spine. A case-bound book is traditionally the most aesthetically-pleasing binding application, often used for coffee-table books, first-edition fiction, or collector’s editions of classics. It accommodates about 1500 pages.
Mechanical Binding uses some type of mechanical device to hold pages together, typically with a type of snap-on mechanism, rod or ring. Examples include:
- Saddle Stitching (Saddle Wiring) is commonly used for smaller documents, such as booklets or catalogs or magazines with no more than 70-90 pages and is stitched together with staples. With this type of binding application, you cannot showcase the book on a shelf because there is no spine.
- Plasticoil Binding or Coil Binding consists of a continuous, spring-shape, crush resistant material that allows a book to lie flat when open. It is appropriate for documents such as technical manuals, notebooks, and calendars. This type of binding is usually available in multiple colors.
- Ring Binders are used for documents that will be assessed, photocopied, and updated frequently, such as a cookbook. Full color spines and covers can be printed for a professional presentation for a business.