The moment you’ve been waiting for is finally here. After putting so much care into writing, you are now ready to put the finishing touch on your creation and send it out into the world. There’s only one more decision to make: what type of book binding should you use?
For authors, marketers, and publishers, choosing the right type of binding is crucial. Depending on which type of book you want to publish, there are multiple methods available to choose from. To help you find the ideal option for your project, we have detailed the six major types of book binding below, along with their advantages and disadvantages. After going through these methods, you will have a comprehensive understanding of which one suits you the best.
1. Case Binding for hardcover books
Case binding, used for hardcover books, is one of the most popular types of book binding, as it ensures durability and an attractive presentation. Thanks to the cardboard covers attached to it, books finished with case binding can easily lay flat on any surface.
In this method, the signature of the book, which is a cluster of pages half-folded, is arranged in the proper order and then sewn together. The binder board is wrapped with buckram, leather, vinyl, or another type of protective material to give off a polished look, and is glued to the endpapers of the book.
When Do You Use Case Binding?
Case binding is used for hardcover books, most often used for larger books of 200 pages or more, or to create a premium edition of a book. Most dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc. are case-bound.
Why Choose Case Binding?
Case binding renders a timeless appeal to printed books.
Hardcover books have a high selling value in the market.
These books are more presentable and aesthetically pleasing.
The process is time-consuming.
It is more expensive to create case-bound books.
These books are heavyweight.
They have a high shipping cost.
2. Perfect Binding for softcover books
If you’re looking for a cost-effective method of book binding, perfect binding is a good option. In today’s day and age, a large number of printed books come with softcover binding, thanks to its ease of production and affordability.
In this method, the cover of the book is made out of cardstock materials which are glued to the pages of the book. The sides of the finished product are neatly trimmed to achieve a ‘perfect’ look. Traditionally, EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) adhesive was used in the binding process. But in recent times, PUR (polyurethane reactive) adhesive has replaced it, owing to its strength of binding and durable nature.
Unlike hardcover books, softcover ones cannot lay flat on a table or other surface. The reader has to handle perfect-bound books with greater care, as they are less resistant to wear and tear. This type of binding is very popular in the publishing industry for creating economical versions of a particular book, without compromising on presentability.
When Do You Use Perfect Binding?
Perfect binding is mostly used for making paperback books and marketing materials like sales catalogs.
Why Choose Perfect Binding?
Perfect binding is economical.
The books retain their aesthetic value, despite having a low cost of production.
Books with perfect binding have a decent selling value in the market.
Softcover books are not heavyweight, hence they are easy to carry.
The binding process is quick.
Perfect-bound books do not have as long a shelf life as hardcover books.
They need to be handled carefully.
Softcover books do not have the ability to lay flat on surfaces.
3. Spiral Binding, coil binding, wire binding
For times when you want to turn the pages of your book a complete 360°, spiral binding, also known as coil binding, is a technique you might consider. In this method, plastic coils are inserted into holes punched in pages and the covers. A wire-bound or spiral-bound book opens up easily, allowing the reader a great deal of convenience. Depending on the size of the coils, these books have the capacity to hold together several hundred pages.
They lay flat on any surface with ease, but storing a heap of spiral-bound books one upon another can be difficult to manage. This method is suitable for documents or booklets that are frequently in use.
When Do You Use Spiral Binding?
This method is appropriate for making booklets, sales brochures, calendars, workbooks, manuals, etc.
Why Choose Spiral Binding?
You can turn the pages 360°.
They are convenient for folding.
It is possible to include a large number of pages.
Spiral-bound books tend to be long-lasting.
Their production is economical.
There can be a large gap between the pages of a spiral-bound book when open.
They are difficult to stack up.
Spiral-binding is not widely accepted as a standard method of bookbinding.
4. Saddle Stitch Binding
In this technique, folded pages are stacked together and turned into a booklet with the help of metal staples. If there are fewer pages in your book, saddle stitching is a viable choice. These books are easy to lay flat on a table. In a typical saddle-stitched book, the number of pages has to be a multiple of four.
Saddle-stitched books have a low cost of production, and since there is no gluing and drying involved, the process is extremely fast. They are lightweight, ensuring low shipping costs.
When Do You Use Saddle Stitch Binding?
This type of binding is used for magazines, comic books, pamphlets, maps, etc.
Why Use Saddle Stitch Binding?
They lend themselves to speedy production.
It is more economical than most other book binding methods.
There is no glue required.
Shipping is easy and typically inexpensive.
Saddle-stitched books can lay flat on a surface.
These books have a lower shelf life than those bound with more durable processes.
Saddle-stitched books cannot accommodate a large number of pages.
5. Section-Sewn Binding, Smyth sewn binding
Section-sewn binding is a time-consuming technique for sure, but the outcome can be very impressive. First, each signature of the book is sewn with a thread. These signatures are then carefully glued to the spine to form the final product.
This process, much like case binding, has been around for a long time. The process is long and requires meticulous work, but it allows you to create a polished book that not only looks neat but is also sturdy. Since each section is carefully sewn together, these books have a long shelf life.
When Do You Use Section-Sewn Binding?
Section-sewn binding allows you to add as many pages as you want. This technique is suitable for both small and large volume projects.
Why Use Section-Sewn Binding?
Section-sewn books can lay flat on a table or other surface.
This type of binding ensures durability.
Books that use section-sewn binding are very polished in appearance.
The process is time-consuming.
The project has to be handled with care.
6. Thermal Binding
For projects that require fast binding with a professional look, consider thermal binding. In this method, the spine of the book is heated up, and the pages are attached to it with the help of glue. This process allows flexibility, as you can bind multiple pages at a time. Adding and removing pages is easy in thermal binding.
To carry out the entire process, you will need a thermal binding machine. With the refined appearance of the finished product, readers will never guess that the book was produced so quickly!
When Do You Use Thermal Binding?
Thermal book binding is used for making professional-looking photo albums, anthologies, reports, etc.
Why Use Thermal Binding?
Thermal binding uses a strong adhesive that is long-lasting.
This method makes it easy to add or remove pages.
The process is fast.
Thermal binding allows for a low cost of production.
Thermal binding is more suitable for short documents.
Its limitations mean that it cannot altogether replace standard methods of book binding.
Besides these primary techniques, there are a few other types of book binding, such as wire binding, comb binding, Japanese book binding, and so on. Wire binding is done with the help of a metal wire, whereas in comb binding, the pages are held together by a plastic spine with ‘teeth’. These techniques are mostly used for presenting important documents professionally. If you’re fond of creating customized notebooks, the ancient technique of Japanese binding can be an ideal way to explore your creativity.
When you’re about to send your book for printing, it’s important to have a fair idea of the various binding types available to you. From there, you can weigh your project needs against your budget, keeping in mind that personal preference and the printing company will play a pivotal role in finalizing the decision.