HARDBACKS. Case bound with dust jacket or PPC

Paperback books

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Hardback options

With the traditional hardback format the boards constituting the cases are covered in leather, cloth or substitute material and lettering is embossed onto the spine and/or front and back cover. A dust-jacket can accompany this format.

With the more modern format the case boards are covered with a pre-printed cover (PPC) without the need for a dust-jacking. As with paperbacks the internal pages can be printed digital or litho (or a combination of these).

Binding formats

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 attached with endpapers to the 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.

Hand glueing/perfect binding: for books that need to be casebound but which do not justify the cost of hand sewing, book blocks can be formed by hand glueing or by perfect binding, and the book blocks are then attached to the cases with endpapers.