You just finished your book and it is wonderful! It is everything you wanted it to be and now you want to share your book and the story of your life with the rest of the world. The big question arises for you: book printing company explains bindery styles  How the heck do I get this puppy printed and what is the best book printing methodology to meet my demanding requirements?

Well, I will tell you: There are several ways, which can usually be addressed by budget, restrictions of what a seller or library will accept, how you see your story presented, whether in a richly decorated style “that it deserves” or in the most economical fashion. Unfortunately as only you can answer much of that, I will not delve into which would be best for you, but only what is available to you, as that truly is where my book printing expertise extends as a humble book printer.

My intention is to address the finished book as it may be bound and exclude the other processes that lead up to the bindery stage in order to help the reader, when discussing with us or any other book printing company, what bindery style best suits you. Here is a list of the basic bindery styles in book printing that you may have available from Printing by Design or another:

1-Case Bound with Dust Cover (or without): 

Case binding is also referred to as “hard cover binding” by your book printer and can be sewn or glued. There are two types of sewn bindings with one being the “Smythe sewn”, which is done by sewing through the signatures of the book which may be 32, 48 or 64 pages in smaller books or on larger web printing book presses. A second pass is then accomplished by sewing the signatures together and then gluing, usually with PUR, very strong glue, into the spine of the cover. The second style, sometimes used for loose pages that are not printed in signatures as well as those that are is a side stitching along the top near the spine prior to gluing. The cover consists of heavy board material, typical is 88 pt, which can be wrapped in a cloth, vinyl, leather or imitation material and is sealed over on the inside by “end sheets”.

2- Case Bound Text Book or Children’s Book Style:

This is essentially the same as above, but a gloss C1S label sheet is “laminated” (adhered) to the boards, with usually a gloss lamination on top. If a children’s book with a small page count the stitching used will be the top stitching.

3-Perfect Bound:

A/K/A “Pocket book” or “paperback” binding. While this can be top stitched, it is usually not and the signatures, or loose sheets if run on a Docutech digital book printing machine are glued to a “soft cover”, which can be anywhere from 10 to 14 points in thickness. Some Libraries for purposes of wear, will purchase perfect bound books and glue them into hard cover cases. In order to utilize perfect binding your book must have a minimum of a one eight of an inch spine for the glue to adhere without any form of stitching.

4-Notch Binding:

Same as the perfect binding as above with actual notches ground into the spine of the text so that the glue better adheres. Most large book printing companies will have this available, but do not expect this at the smaller digital book printing companies due to the level of bindery equipment they maintain at their book printing company.


Wire-O, also called twin loop book binding is similar to spiral, except that when you look at it, you will see it in a series of two wires. Book printers prefer this as it costs and thus sells for the same as spiral but it is a faster process. The standard material is metal and does come in colors where spiral also comes in plastic.  The spine of the book is punched along the top edge in order to run the wires through. The wires are then “crimped” into place.

5-Hidden Wire-O:

The same process as above, but the covers are first bent backwards and around so that the front cover is now on the underside of the book. This requires a single sheet, as in perfect bound books unlike standard Wire-O where the front and back covers are separate ones. When the front cover is bent around to the back side of the book, the holes are punched and the wires installed and crimped. The front cover is then pulled back around with the net result being that the wires are not showing on the front or the spine, thus giving the spine of your book the look of a perfect bound book printing and also allowing copy on the spine. This process also will require die scoring of the cover along all of the fold areas in order to work properly.


Spiral bound books are the same as Wire-O, except once the holes are drilled the wire circulates from one end of the spine to the other in order to bind the book. In my opinion it is a cheaper and more ordinary look than Wire-O.


This is truly the “800 pound gorilla in the room when it comes to bindery styles in book printing. It is a plastic round coil, with large “combs” at each side, much larger than spiral that fits into the once punched slots of the text. You are then left with a round outer edge of which its sole advantage is to allow for the printing on the spine. This type of binder offers a “lay flat” style, as do Wire-O and Spiral bound books and generally you see this more from copy shop book printing than from mass book printing companies.

8-Saddle Stitch:

This is what you see in your average magazine, where two staples are “stitched through the outside of the spine and secure at the inner centerfold so that the staples are seen on the outer spine edge from the top rather than the closed points. Small booklets can have only one staple, larger can have three, but the usual is two staples.

9-Loop Stitch:

This is a form of Saddle Stitching, except for the top of the staple used to stitch the booklet with being extended so as there is a “loop” or “hook” away from the spine edge. This can be used for a calendar for hanging purposes or for a booklet, using three “loops” to slot into a three ring binder should you not want to drill holes and additionally be able to cleanly remove it from the binder.


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