book printing and the bindery types available from your book printing company

There are many styles of binding to choose from when you are printing a book. The question to be asked is which style serves you best as well as what that style may allow for. When considering book printing and binding, the issues are one of cost as well as potential use. Some libraries will only stock a case bound book and some users, such as text books would benefit from a book that will lay flat or relatively so when reading on a table top. Let’s take a look at some of your choices for printing books and how they bind.


Perfect Bind

Perfect bound books are most typified by the soft cover pocket book.  They can be bound from either folded signatures or from individual collated sheets if the book is printed digitally. The digitally printed books can be if necessary reinforced with top stitching but usually this is not required.

Adhesive Case Bind

This is a library edition hard covered book where the pages, either from printed and folded signatures or digitally produced during the book printing are bound together by the use of glue. In most cases the glue is PUR glue which is very strong. Adhesive bound books have an identifiable look with a rounded spine.

Top Stitched

This is a stitching along the binding edge on the horizontal and is sometimes used by the book printer to secure the pages together prior to using an adhesive for the bindery.

Smythe Sewn

Smythe sewing is the traditional way utilized to sew signatures into place at the spine further reinforced with a backer and adhesive. It is exceptionally strong and allows the book to lay reasonably flat.

Lay Flat Bind

Lay flat book binding allows a space where the signatures are sewn into the spine backing allowing the spine to rise as the book is laid flat. You will notice a hollow space between the pages and the exterior edge of the spine. This is ideal for text books or for those who prefer to read a book on a table top.

Wire-O Bind

Wire-O binding for books is a wire visually looks like the wire was inserted in rows of two. Like spiral binding for books, it is a continuous wire that feeds at the top in rows of two and hooks into the hole to meet itself on the bottom. It tends to lay a bit flatter than spiral, is more durable as it is made of metal and as spiral, come in many colors. In my own estimation it tends to look more up-market than spiral does.

Spiral Bind

Spiral book binding is generally made of plastic and simply threads into the wholes, winding from one into the next in a continuous fashion. Spiral bound books also lay flat and come in many colors.

Comb Bind

Comb binding in book printing is the “ugly duckling” of all the book binding types. Therefore it is not used in book printing for its attractiveness and is generally used for low end production of manuals at copy shops. There is however one reason why a book printer would utilize comb binding and that is when the user requires the book to lay relatively flat and be able to have a printed spine, something that only case or perfect binding allows for. It is a one piece plastic mechanism with hooks thread through pre punched holes at the spine and folds into a bottom curled section of the comb. The one downfall of comb binding is that usage sometimes allows for it to come apart.

Hidden Wire-O

Book printing companies also refer to this as concealed Wire-O and it is accomplished with a slightly wider cover printed, scored and folded back prior to inserting the wire so that after insertion and the cover, with spine folding forward, the front cover and spine have the appearance of a perfect bound book, allowing for writing on the spine with the wire only visible from the rear. This process can also be adjusted to have the wires show only on the front cover for effect as well. It is one of my favorite looks for an “imitation perfect bound book” that will also lay very flat as well as have a visible spine when displayed on the book shelf.

Choose the binding type that serves your interests best as well as the page count and design of your book printing project. We look forward to hearing from you regarding the printing and binding of your book in order to discuss with you which book binding type suits your requirements best.


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