Monday, July 16, 2012

How to Select a Binding for a Book

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: 
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. 
This video gives a brief overview of book binding.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Metadata and Book Discoverability

The jury is out on metadata and the book trade with the verdict that more is more:  lots of metadata equals increased book sales

Metadata is a book's DNA-the descriptive characteristics that are specific to each book, such as title, ISBN, formats, publication date, and price.  These core items are the basics for getting a book discovered online, but are no longer sufficient in an increasingly crowded web community.  In order for a book to be found through search engines, which is how most consumers browse for books, it is now recommended that core metadata be enriched or enhanced to include page counts, related editions, awards, prizes, jacket blurbs, series, media mentions, interviews, and reviews.  This shift in thought is precipitated by a move to a more consumer-centric model of book selling; book data that was once reserved for dissemination to the trade (librarians, distributors, and retailers) is now being used to guide everyday readers about what books to buy.  Online consumers are savvy and sophisticated shoppers, and it is crucial to provide them with detailed and accurate information so that a book title can rank high in the search engines, get found, and be purchased. 

It is instructive to view good metadata as part of an overall digital book marketing strategy along with blogs, websites, and social media. The adage "content is king" aptly applies here and a book's metadata descriptors are an important part of that content mix. The more metadata and keyword-rich content an author or publisher can provide about a book title, the better.