Bookbinding – what method is best?

Do you get confused by the different binding methods? In this blog we are going to explain the difference between the various book binding methods.

The popular binding methods are saddle stitch (also called staple binding), Perfect binding, case binding and thread sewn books.  Clients often ask about PUR binding. We will discuss that under Perfect binding.

Let’s look at the popular methods one by one:

Saddle stitch (staple binding)

Saddle stitch is used to bind thin brochures or books with less than 68 pages (pp).
If the finished size of the brochure, magazine or book is A5 , the brochure or book will be impositioned (laid out correctly) and printed 2 pages on an A4 sheet (see our blog on page sizes). The A4 sheets will then be collated and folded into an A5 document or book, loaded on to a saddle stitch machine where a wire is punched through the book on the spine from the outside and then simultaneously, folded on the inside.
Examples of Saddle stitch

Perfect binding 

Perfect binding is the process where sheets are cut and stacked. Specialized glue is then applied to the spine before the cover is wrapped around the sheets. The three remaining sides are then trimmed to give a neat end result. Perfect binding is used to bind soft cover books.

PUR binding – how is it different from perfect binding?

The short answer is, the type of chemicals used in the glue.  The main disadvantages of PUR is that  it is considerably more expensive and needs time to cure. We found that it takes up to 24 hours after binding before a book can be safely handled and trimmed. This of course adds to the turnaround time. PUR has advantages in very cold climates such as some places in Europe or Canada because extreme cold will not make the glue crack. In South Africa that is not a consideration though.

The glue we use to do Perfect binding gives a better penetration between the sheets or sections, it dries super fast.


How strong is perfect binding?

With advancement in technology, a good quality glue such as the one imported from Germany that we use, even books that are handled very often such as study or reference books, will not fall apart. In short, perfect binding is a cost effective way to give a professional looking finish that will last, to a printing 

Examples of Perfect binding

Case binding or hard covers

Case binding is what is commonly called hard cover books. It is a time consuming process since much of it is done by hand. Therefor it is also the most expensive binding method. However, it is by far the best method that there is.
How do you do case binding?

The printed cover is folded and glued around a  case made of hard board. Cloth is added to the spine before it is glued to the case and end sheets are added to make sure that the book adheres firmly to the case. 


An example of case binding

An example of case binding

A photo album with case binding
A photo album with case binding

 What can be used as cover for case binding?

The hardboard case can be covered with a printed sheet of paper that is laminated, faux leather, real leather, or cloth material. 
Case binding with foiling

Wire-O binding

Wirebinding books

Wire-O binding is often used on notebooks, presentations or other books where you want to be able to turn the pages 360 degrees without damaging the spine.