Binding options

Perfect binding is the simplest form of binding: the collated book blocks are milled on the binding edge and glued directly to the spine with hot-melt or PUR (Poly Urethane Reactive) glue. This is our standard binding for digitally printed paperback books up to 500 copies and is suitable for books that will be read "in the hand". It should be noted that the pages do not lie flat, however, by gluing the book blocks to the front and back covers and not at the spine a "lay-flat" result can be achieved In this way book blocks can be used to make paperbacks using limp covers or hardbacks using cases or other rigid or semi-rigid materials. The more durable PUR glue is used to bind pages with an all over varnish or full colour bleeds as the hot-melt glue does not fully penetrate varnish or ink.

Burst Binding is used when the pages of the book have been printed as sections. Once folded, notches or perforations are cut into the spine by the machine to allow glue to penetrate into the spine and then the cover is glued on.

Hand-sewn binding is the master binder's preferred binding method; the printed sheets (or signatures: sheets printed with 4, 8, 16 or 24 pages of the book) that form the sections of the book are folded and then sewn through the fold on the binding edge and the separate sections are connected by sewing thread to form the book blocks. The book blocks are further strengthened with flannel and adhesive on the spine. The book blocks are then attached to the cases with endpapers. The cases can be rigid to form hardback books or limp to form paperbacks.

Machine sewing (also called Smythe Sewing) is an automated version of the hand-sewn process described above. In 1868, David McConnell Smyth patented a sewing machine designed specifically for bookbinding and machine sewing through the fold in a signature is generally referred to as "Smyth Sewing". The sewn book blocks are then glued directly to covers to form paperback books or with endpapers to cases to form hardback books. For longer runs of books, machine sewing is the preferred option for both paperback and hardback books as the cost of set-up is more than compensated for by the more durable and open-flat result provided by sewing.

Saddle stitch binding involves the stapling together of the folded sheets and covers through the fold along the spine. It is suitable for both self-covered books (where the cover stock, or paper, is the same as the text), and books with separate covers. Generally the maximum number of pages is 96 (depending on weight and bulk of the paper used, this number may vary).

Spiral binding involves the punching of a series ofsmall holes on the binding edge of the collated book blocks. A coil binding is inserted into the holes from one end of the book to the other. The coil may be made of either plastic or wire and enables the printed document to lie flat and to be folded over. Spiral wire coils range from 1/4 inch to 2 inches in diameter and can accomodate books of up to 24 inches in length. Spiral binding can be carried out manually, or as a semi- or fully automated process depending on the quantity required.

Plastic Comb Binding is similar to spiral binding and is a very economical binding option for short runs or as a prelude to a more professional bind. Book blocks of up to 3 inches can be accomodated and enables the pages to lie flat when open. The process is essentially manual so single copies can be readily produced.

Post Binding involves drilling a number of holes near to the binding edge of the book block and back cover, through which screws or posts are passed and fastened to keep the book together, with the front cover closing over the book to hide the posts from view. A book bound in this way can be disassembled and pages added or replaced.


Covers and cases

Paperbacks covers can be printed digitally or litho, with the variety of materials and finishes that these printing methods provide or covers can be made of any material or card that will absorb glue in order to be attached to the book blocks.

Digitally printed covers can make use of a wide range of papers that are certified for digital use up to a weight of 300gsm. Covers can be finished with a mat or gloss laminated and be hot foil stamped.

Litho covers can be printed on stock weights from 70gsm to 350gsm, in 1-8 colours with matt or gloss laminate, or up to 7 colours with a varnish.

Hardback cases can be covered with a wide variety of material or be covered with pre-printed covers (PPC) from digital or litho presses. If a covering material is used the material can carry a gold, silver or blind embossing. To give a taste of the possibilities: we have bound paperback books with hand-made paper and unique works of art, and hardbacks with cases covered in wallpapers and old newspapers. The following manufacturers have a range of more conventional materials:

Winter and Company | Bamberger Kaliko GmbH | Fiscagomma Spa | Guarro Casas S.A.