While subject matter may vary, everyone does in fact have a story to tell. Be it Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry, Prose or maybe just the simple adventures of a family vacation. Possibly yours is a collection of paintings, illustration, sculpture or photography.
For every style of book, we have the proper type of hardcover binding to go along with it. From thin cased side sewn for children’s books and photobooks, to Smyth sewn binding for art and coffee table editions, Ultra Bind (Double Fan Adhesive Binding) for genealogy and short run works of fiction to PUR adhesive case binding for textbooks and many other styles of digitally produced books we have it all! If you are a printer with customers asking for hardcover binding, you need to call us!
As I have spoken to many printers throughout the midwest and beyond, it is evident that many are not fully aware of all the methods of binding available, especially for digitally printed books. Perhaps the most well known form of hardcover binding is Smyth sewn binding. Smyth sewn binding is a great option, however for the digital printer- not practical. I will explain why below.
The next thing printers want to know is how the book will “lay” when it’s open. Will it lay flat, or will it stay tightly shut?
I have taken a few photos of a few of the main book binding methods used at Houchen Bindery Ltd. With some explanation of each. I hope you find this information helpful.
Reinforced side sewn binding is a very permanent solution for book blocks both of coated or uncoated papers. The thread sews through the “side” of a book block, taking away 1/4″ of the gutter margin. Our limitation for thickness on this method of binding is about 3/8″. As you can see in the photo to the left, the side sewn binding will not lay flat, but will be held together very securely. This is also an approved Library Binding Institute method. We use this for children’s books, photobooks, year books and many other editions which are less than 3/8″ thickness.
A newer method of binding showing lot’s of promise is what we call PUR adhesive, or PUR Case Perfect Binding. As you can see, the pages will lay flat fairly nice. With pressure applied, each spread will
open nicely. There is no fear of pages falling out. PUR Adhesive is supposed to be the strongest adhesive on the market currrently. Although it is not yet an approved Library Binding Institute method for libraries, there is rumour it will soon be approved. It is now in wide use for commercial applications with printers and publishers. PUR adhesive works well on all types of paper, even aqueous coated stocks or with heavy ink coverage or uncoated papers.
Smyth sewn binding is a well established standard for artbooks, coffee table books, etc. The issue for digital printing is that Smyth sewing requires us to use a 16 page signature. Most short run digital print runs are not using that large of a parent sheet and consequently, “nesting” 4 page signatures into a 16 page signature become cumbersome and impractical. Smyth sewn works well for coated or uncoated papers, and as you can see, will have nice openability. With pressure applied, each spread of this book opens very nicely.
“Ultra Bind” is the brand name of a machine used at Houchen Bindery for a method of binding called double fan adhesive binding. This method notches the spine edge and applies a microscopic bead of PVA (polyvinyl acetate) glue on either side of the sheet in the spine edge. This as you can see, makes for the easiest, most flexible openability and “lay flat” quality. The restriction here is that PVA glue works well with uncoated paper stocks, but I do not recommend it on coated papers.
There’s a fairly new method of binding out there on the radar screen now and it’s offered through companies such as Mohawk Fine Papers and it’s creator Convertible Solutions. For the ultimate in “Lay Flat” and zero gutter loss, check it out. I see it’s usage growing in the area of photo and wedding books. We are not currently producing these style books, but are working with these 2 companies to provide pre-made hardcover cases for them. We have setup a special wholesale trade portal for this at Bindsource.com
For further information on these services, please contact Martin Pugh at Houchen Bindery Ltd.
email@example.com or 1-800-869-0420.
Copyright 2011 Martin Pugh All Rights Reserved.
Are you an author, self publisher, artist, or photographer producing
your first book? Here’s a few tips to help obtain a desirable result.
1. Consult your bindery contact person early in the process.
You may have spent years writing, drawing, painting or taking pictures.
Don’t wait until the very end to find out how your book will be finished.
If the process allows for it, have a bound proof sample sent before producing
the entire job. This helps avoid any surprises.
2. Discuss what requirements will be needed for gutter margins.
Different methods of binding will have different margin requirements.
Smyth sewn books allow for more openability vs a perfect bound or side sewn book.
Make sure the supplied page size you are sending will work for the bindery.
3. Consider the paper choice carefully. Coated papers come in gloss or matte
(also sometimes referred to as dull or silk). Each paper will reproduce photos
differently and may have implications on how they will be bound. Glossy paper
will bulk differently than matte or uncoated papers.
4. Grain direction of the paper should always run parallel to the spine edge. Make sure
your printer plans this accordingly.
5. If you are providing the bindery with collated book blocks, make sure there is a
brightlly colored slip sheet divider between each set of books. A plain white
divider, or no divider at all really makes the bindery’s job more confusing than
it should be.
6. Establish a reasonable schedule. Book signings, trade shows, Open House events, etc.
should all be planned to happen AFTER you recieve the books. Asking a bindery to
rush a job can lead to possible problems.
7. Consider special features for your book such as cover cloth choices, Head and Tail Bands,
rounding and backing, foil stamping, or a dust jacket. Make sure the artwork you supply
for a stamping die is in the proper format your bindery needs.
8. If you are producing a soft cover book, determine if you should have the cover laminated.
If you are selling the book, you should have the cover laminated. Houchen Bindery offers
film lamination in gloss, matte and also a linen finish.
9. What about packaging options? Such as individual shrinkwrapping or interior slip sheeting,
(any book that has foil stamping should either have a jacket around it or be slip sheeted
so that the foil stamping will not rub off onto the other books during shipping). How about
individual mailing boxes?
10. Call me at Houchen Bindery Ltd! 1-800-869-0420. We produce a wide array of editons in short run lengths
and utilize many methods of binding including Smyth Sewn, Side Sewn, Perfect Bound, Double
Fan adhesive bound, Oversewn, PUR adhesive perfect binding and more. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org