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There are a few different kinds of printed books available for readers and one is the casebound book. What exactly is involved in the making of a casebound book and is there any benefit to it? Read through this post and find out.

1. What are casebound books?

Casebound, often referred to as hardcover, is a very common format for a book to be made in. How to identify a casebound book is by its cover, which will be hard and sturdy. This differs from the other common format, paperback (or softcover), as they have soft and flexible covers.

Some casebound books also come with dust jackets, which are made from a higher GSM paper than the interior pages and feature the same cover design as its paperback version. In instances like this, the casebound cover would have a more simplified design or be left almost blank and only have detail on the spine.

In traditional publishing, books are often first released in a casebound version before they transition over to paperback.

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2. How are casebound books made?

Firstly, the book blocks are created. This begins with printing, then moves to guillotining, and then binding. The binding style can differ but is usually limited to one of the standard processes: section sewn or glued. Once bound, cloth spines are added and the book blocks are complete.

Next, the cases are made. The process depends on the style of case (paper- or material-covered), as they require different steps and machines to complete. For paper-covered casebound books, the covers are first printed and cut to shape, then glued to and folded around the three pieces of board (front, spine, and back), before the book blocks are glued in place. For material-covered casebound books, a dedicated machine is used to attach and wrap cloth/imitation cloth around the three pieces of board (front, spine, and back) before they are glued to the book blocks.

Casebound books (either material- or paper-covered) can include the following extras:

  • Endpapers
  • Ribbon
  • Head- and tailbands
  • Dust jacket

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3. What are the benefits?

There are pros and cons to any book format. Casebound books have some great benefits over the other formats you could print your book in:

  • Strength and durability: Casebound books are capable of withstanding more rough-handling and lasting a lot longer than their paperback counterparts. This means that they are great for archives and for collectors who are wanting their books to last many years.
  • Professional-looking product: Having your book casebound brings an element of sophistication, gravitas, and importance. It makes your book like a higher quality than other binding types, especially if it has some print finishes like foiling, em- and debossing, etc.
  • Stands out to readers: Casebound books have an eye-drawing presence on bookshelves that draw a reader’s eye. This is especially the case as they usually incorporate print finishes (like previously mentioned).
  • Set RRP higher: Because casebound books have a status of being a higher quality book than other formats with more processes put into their production, they retail for a higher price. If you print savvy, this can mean authors turning a better profit from their sales.

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4. What are the downfalls?

As with any book, casebound books do have their issues for readers and authors alike. It’s up to you to decide if the pros outweigh the cons:

  • Heavier and bulkier: On average, a casebound version of a book will be weightier and larger than its paperback counterpart. This can effect a couple of different things. The first is that it will bump up the shipping prices during the print phase, in turn effecting the RRP and an author’s profit margin. The second is that some readers—especially the older among us—have trouble holding the book for a long period of time, effecting the reading experience for some. Another is that it makes it harder to travel with a book.
  • More expensive: While a high RRP might be useful for authors, it can be a deterrent for readers who can’t afford to spend $30 – $60 on each of their books. The print cost of casebound books is also higher as the production process is more complicated—especially for books with numerous print finishes.

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5. What kind of books should be casebound?

Having a casebound version of a book is especially useful for publications that need to last a long time or have a high capacity for durability, but really any book can be casebound. It is very common for most genres of fiction and non-fiction to have a casebound version as traditional publishers release a casebound version of their books first to help maximise their profits.

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6. Is case binding viable for my book?

If you are publishing your book traditionally, it’s likely that your book will have a casebound version as it is a standard procedure for these publishers. On the other hand, self-publishing authors need to be aware of the costs of printing casebound books and decided whether it is worth the cost (discussed a little later).

Otherwise, as a general rule, a book can be casebound if it has more than 30-80 pages. If your book doesn’t fit these specifications, check with your publisher or printer to see if your book is able to be casebound or have a think about other strategies, like making your book size smaller or adding more content.

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7. Do casebound books do well in the book market?

As a general rule, paperback books sell more copies than casebound books. Paperback books are almost always cheaper for customers than their casebound counterpart and many readers prefer their lightweight nature. Casebound books, on the other hand, generally do not sell in as large of quantities, but they do generate higher returns on sale. This means that you don’t have to sell as many books to be profitable compared to paperback.

Many readers have their preferences for the kind of book format they like, and there are certainly a lot of them who will opt for a casebound book when given the decision.

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8. How much do casebound books cost to print?

The cost of any printing venture is highly personal and varies from project to project. This is because the cost of printing a book depends on many different variables, such as the quality of the print, the size of the book, and even the printer itself.

8.1 Specialty print finishes

This includes embossing/debossing, foiling, spot-gloss, printed ends, and more. Applying one or more print finish will increase the cost of your book as it adds extra material and processes.

High-end Print finish holographic foil   High-end print finish foiling and debossing   

8.2 Binding

Certain types of binding are cheaper than others. Casebound books are more expensive than other binding types because the materials used in the production costs more to source. There are also additional processes undertaken by printers create casebound books.

8.3 Paper type

The quality of the paper will dictate both how much the paper costs (higher quality = higher cost and vice versa), but it can also have an impact on freight costs as higher GSM paper is thicker and therefore weighs more.

8.4 Page count

Books with a smaller page count require less paper and are lighter, meaning they cost less both in the printing process and when it comes to freight.

Difference in page count between casebound books

8.5 Individual printers

No two printers will give you identical quotes for a print run. This is because printers differ in factory (capacity) size, stock type and availability, and profit margins.

8.6 Printer location

The location of a printer factors into the cost of printing for a few different reasons. Often, printing in countries like China will mean a cheaper price, but you’ll have to print in bulk and then pay for freight, which can also be quote costly. For our Australian authors, printing locally in Australia can cost more per book, but freight is often more affordable, and smaller print runs are available from most printers.

8.7 Number of books printed

Organising a large (or bulk) print run will make the cost of printing a book cheaper per unit than they would be on a small print run. Choosing to print in bulk, however, means committing to a greater up-front cost.

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