Types of Bookbinding

Written by morgan crouch
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Types of Bookbinding
An example of hardcover binding. (book 1 image by DLeonis from Fotolia.com)

There are many different methods of assembling a book, though most are variations of attaching the text-block to a cover. From the hardcover books on your bookshelf to the magazines you find at the doctor's office, each comes from a different path of creation. Bookbinding helps to give the books a longer lifespan and serves a variety of purposes to facilitate reading and organising the material.

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Hardcover Binding

Hardcover bookbinding uses a bind that consists of a hard exterior cover. These hard covers are typically covered with leather, textured paper, cloth, or a similar material. The hard cover can be attached to the text-block through the use of adhesive strips or sewing. A variation of hard binding, known as quarter binding, involves a spine made of different material from the front or back panels of the book.

Tape Binding

Tape binding is a method that uses a thermoplastic strip of glue to bind the pages together. The glue strip is wrapped around one edge of the book block, extending to about a half-inch to an inch on the back and front sheets, and it is then heated with the use of a tape binding machine. The material becomes bound once the glue has cooled.

Perfect Binding

Perfect binding is the fastening of the book block to a cover spine using a flexible glue. The page ends are left rough to better absorb the glue. It is commonly used for soft cover books. Unsewn binding and adhesive binding are also names used in place of perfect binding.

Sewn Binding

Sewn binding involves the sewing of the book block to the cover. Sewn bound books and hardcover books are similarly constructed, but sewn books do not have the hard covers. Sewn binding requires expensive equipment and is a relatively slow process.

Wire Stitching

Wire stitching binding uses wire staples to connect book sheets together. Wire stitching comes in two types: side stitching and saddle stitching. Side stiches tend to be used for thinner books that will eventually be covered in a hard cover. Saddle stitches bind the sheets together through the fold in the middle of numerous pages.

Plastic Comb Binding

Plastic comb binding, also called GBC binding, is a punch-and-bind system utilising a plastic comb. A plastic comb is fed through a series of slits that have been notched through the pages. This method is relatively inexpensive and the pages are easily removable, making it common for office documents. A spiral wire can be used in place of the plastic comb for a similar bind.

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