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Book Binding

A Staple, Thread or Glue? What is the Difference?

Perfect Bound vs Saddle Stitching

Saddle Stitching refers to a very popular book binding method in which folded sheets are gathered, one inside the other and then stapled through the fold line with wire staples.

A Perfect Bound book is when book pages are glued together at the spine. The cover is usually made from a thicker cardstock and laminated or coated to protect the book. These can be supplied as a soft cover or hard cover.

The name “perfect” binding comes from the cut of the pages. All pages, including the cover, are cut to be the same size and therefore line-up “perfectly”.

Perfect Bound vs. Saddle Stitch

Staples vs. Glue. Staple-bound books tend not to be as durable as perfect bound books.

Presentation. While a saddle stitch booklet is a more appropriate binding method for certain projects, a perfect bound book is an overall more professional presentation.

Page Count. Binding also determines page count. While perfect bound books allow for about 40 to 400 pages, saddle stitch booklets only allow for about 5 to 80.

Printing on the Spine. While you can add text and design to the spine of a perfect bound book, you cannot do so with a saddle stitch booklet.

Opening Ability. A saddle stitch booklet can lie fairly flat when you open it, however, a perfect bound book does not have this capability. For this reason, saddle stitch is preferable for books in which hands-free reading is important like cookbooks or instructions.

Page Creep. When a saddle stitch booklet is folded the innermost pages will stitch out further than the outermost pages. When the pages are trimmed the innermost pages will become shorter than the outermost pages. This is something to be aware of during the saddle stitch booklet design process. Perfect binding won’t have this issue.

Spiral / Coil Binding

Another common binding method is Spiral Binding, also known as Coil Binding. The binding is formed by a metal or plastic coil.  These are unique benefits to coil binding that other binding types do not have.

Perfect Bound vs Spiral Bound

Wire Spiral vs. Glue. Both binding methods are fairly durable in their own right. The only thing to be aware of with coil binding is wear.
Presentation. While a spiral is a more appropriate binding method for certain projects, a perfect bound book is an overall more professional presentation.
Page Count. Binding also determines page count. While perfect bound books allow for about 40 to 400 pages, spiral bind books only allow for about 10 to 400.
Printing on the Spine. While you can add text and design to the spine of a perfect bound book, you cannot do so with a spiral bound book.
Opening Ability. A spiral bound booklet can lie completely flat when you open it and can even open 360 degrees. A perfect bound book does not have this capability. For this reason, spiral bound books are preferable for books in which hands-free reading is important like cookbooks or instructions.

What is the difference between Perfect Bound and Hardcover Binding?

Hardcover binding has a rigid protective cover making it the most durable and long-lasting type of binding. Typical cover materials are binder’s board, leather, or heavy paperboard covered with buckram. The inside pages are typically sewn together in sections, then glued to paper which is in turn glued to the cover spine. 
Perfect binding is also referred to as a paperback, which is not as durable as a hardcover. 

Perfect Bound vs Hardcover Bound

Paperback. Hardcover is encased in a board casing while perfect bound has cover made of thicker card stock.
Presentation. Hardcover presents a durable and long-lasting binding. You can add matte or gloss lamination to the cover for a professional look. Perfect bound shows wear much more than hardcover.
Cost. Perfect bound books are the more inexpensive option when it comes to hardcover vs. perfect bound.

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