laminated book covers

The Benefits of Laminated Book Covers

Ann O'Brien

July 4, 2022

Self-published authors have a lot of decisions to make when preparing their manuscripts for printing. Choosing the format for the text or graphic elements in the book, selecting the best binding option for the book, and solidifying the cover design are all critical decisions when an author is getting their work ready for publication. Along with these important decisions, authors can choose to have the cover of their perfect bound, plastic coil or wire-o books laminated. But are there benefits to having laminated book covers? Let’s take a look at everything lamination can (and can’t) do for your book and what goes into the lamination process.

What Is Lamination?

Lamination refers to the procedure that bonds a layer of plastic coating with heat to the cover of a book. This coating can be on both sides of the page for complete coverage as well as only on one side in some situations. The plastic coating can be thick or thin and comes in different sheens like matte Soft Touch and shiny Gloss. This heat-bound plastic coating is versatile and has many benefits to the projects it is used in. It is frequently requested for self-published book covers as well as on other high-touch projects like children’s books, cookbooks, and workbooks.

Types of Lamination

  • Soft-Touch Lamination This type of heat-sealed coating is thinner than gloss and as a result, is more flexible. In addition, Soft Touch also has a more matte and less reflective finish than Gloss laminations. The smooth, velvety feel of Soft Touch makes it a popular lamination choice for book covers, since it provides a protective covering while still retaining a professional appearance.
  • Gloss Lamination The thicker, shinier lamination is called Gloss. This style of protective coating has a highly reflective property that gives the surface a glossy, lustrous appearance. Gloss lamination is thicker than Soft Touch, which makes it less flexible. This rigidity provides a more sturdy appearance to the materials it covers along with giving long-lasting durability to the covered page as well.

Benefits of Laminated Book Covers

Other than making a book look more professional, there are many definable benefits to using laminated book covers. From the way it protects the book cover to the way it makes the cover appear, many authors choose to add a laminated surface to the covers of their books. When a coating of lamination is applied to the cover of a book, authors will notice five significant and distinct benefits to their publication. Most are realized immediately, but over time, authors that choose this type of protective coating will notice all five benefits have increased the value and overall appearance of their books.

So, Why Should You Laminate Your Book Cover?

1. Lamination Is Protective

One of the most obvious but beneficial properties of adding a laminate layer to a book cover is that it adds a layer of protection to the surface. Whether a thin layer of Soft Touch laminate is used or even a thicker Gloss lamination product is applied, book covers that have been laminated will be protected against spills, dirt, grime, scrapes, and scratches. Paper covers are vulnerable to all kinds of damage, but laminated book covers are much more protected and will as a result last longer.

2. Lamination Enhances Color

Adding a layer of clear lamination has an unexpected benefit to the cover of books: lamination sharpens and boosts the look of colors underneath. Many authors choose to use full-color photography or graphics on their book covers and the addition of laminate helps to make the colors pop and appear more vivid, enhancing the look of the cover greatly.

One of the effects of adding this layer of clear laminate to a cover is the colors under the coating have an increased depth and vibrancy. Photos appear crisper while the look of graphics and text is improved, especially when using a thicker laminate like Gloss. This brightening effect is lasting, too, since lamination extends the life of the cover by protecting the artwork from scuffs or damage that diminish the colors and look of the cover art over time naturally.

3. Laminated Book Covers Look Polished

Adding a laminate coating to a book cover also helps the book to appear more refined and elegant. Self-published authors often want their book to look just as professionally bound and published as books printed by one of the large publishing houses. When books are completed with a large array of services and finish-outs from traditional publishing companies, lamination is often used to make the cover stand out, enhance the cover artwork, and provide a clean, durable finish to the book’s exterior.

Choosing a laminated book cover when self-publishing your work can also provide a beautifully finished look to any author’s work and will result in a final product that looks polished and expertly bound in addition to being protected from normal wear and tear that often occurs with book covers.

4. Lamination Creates a Strong Cover

When a laminate layer is heat-sealed to the cover of a book, it creates a layer of protection that makes the cover extremely strong. The paper used for book covers is typically a heavier weight than the paper used for the interior pages of a book. But even this thicker, heavier paper is prone to tears and breakage when it is unprotected. Using heat to seal the plastic laminate to this heavier stock adds weight and rigidity to the cover itself. The laminate is securely bonded to the cover and so this new thicker cover is stronger, more rigid. and sturdier than an unlaminated cover. The added thickness of the lamination keeps the cover from tearing easily, and it is less likely to crease or fold, as well. Even the thinnest lamination, Soft Touch, increases the strength of the book’s cover and will extend the life and condition of the book’s cover.

5. Lamination Is Cost-Effective

Authors who are self-publishing their own work do not get an advance from a publishing company, but instead rely on their own budget to fund the printing of their book. So authors often decide to go with perfect bound books over hardback binding since it is a much more affordable option. Adding a laminated book cover to a book bound with a soft cover is a good value for authors. The protective cover will not only make the book look great but will protect it at the same time. The additional rigidity that laminated covers have also help to create a professional look similar to hardback-bound books, often out of the financial reach of authors who choose to self-publish their work.

Choosing the Right Lamination for Your Project

Authors who are considering a laminated book cover often don’t know where to begin when opting for this type of protective coating. But opting for lamination is simple with a printer like Publishing Xpress. Authors determine the size and shape of their book based on standard options or choose a customized size that works for them. Deciding on a binding option can be an early decision as well to help authors save time and effort in the formatting of their work into a publishable book file that is ready for printing.

The decision to laminate the cover of their book often comes along with working with a cover design expert who can help bring the author’s vision to life with cover art that represents the project perfectly with the colors, pictures, graphics, and text that will help readers understand the genre, topic, or contents of the book simply by the cover’s accurate representation. Authors often find that layering lamination on the cover is a great way to enhance the look and feel of their outstanding cover. It also helps the book stand out from other publications without the laminate coating. The expert printers at Publishing Xpress can help you with questions about which laminate coating is right for your project so that you can select the best look and feel to show off your work with a gorgeous, durable book cover.

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