Perfect Binding: A Guide

Perfect-BindingDepending on your budget, there are many options when it comes to self-publishing. One of the major decisions you will make is what type of binding you would like your book to have. Though there are many different options, perfect bound book binding is a very professional looking binding and is the style chosen for most soft cover books you see on shelves today. Perfect binding is also known as adhesive binding. Publications bound by perfect binding include paperback books, telephone books, catalogs, and magazines. About 40% of national magazines are perfect bound.

With perfect bound book binding, the process involves the gluing together of the book’s pages and cover at the spine with a strong and flexible thermal glue. When choosing perfect bound book binding, it is important to take in to consideration your cover design. All cover artwork should be designed flat. In order to determine your spine size, consider your page count and paper thickness (also known as caliper).

The first step in perfect bound book binding is the stacking of your interior pages. They must be stacked in a way to form a crisp block. The next step involves roughing up the spine edge of the pages to expose paper fibers and increase the area for the glue to bond to. A hot glue is then applied along the uneven, roughed up edges of the book’s interior page block. Lastly, the cover of the book is then wrapped around the unset glued spine where it then will adhere. After the glue has set and dried, the three open edges of the book are then trimmed down, leaving clean edges.

Perfect bound books are a great way to go because they look professional, which is good for visual shelf appeal, are less expensive to make than hardcover books, and are easily stacked. Another benefit is that the spine allows for the title to be printed on it, where saddle stitch and spiral binding styles do not. Perfect bound books can be run on demand or in very limited quantities, which is ideal for a first go-around or self-publishing author. Unlike saddle stitch binding, perfect bound books can exceed 80 pages in length.  Also different from saddle stitching, pages are stacked on top of one another to form the finished product allowing you to print consecutive pages more economically.

The only disadvantage to perfect binding is that the use of inflexible adhesives can result in books not lying flat, and as a result, book spines can become distorted after use. Besides that, perfect bound book binding is an excellent option and is something that is affordably priced. Once you have the feel of your very first perfect bound book in your hand, you’ll realize just how far you’ve come with your self-publishing efforts. For more information on the perfect binding services offered at Publishing Xpress, check out our perfect bound page.