Binding your self-published printed book in Australia

Binding is a very important decision for any author wanting to self-publish their book in Australia.

The binding type will impact the final price of the book. Perfect binding is cheap even if an author uses the expensive version of Perfect PUR binding. Sewn binding will give your book a premium feel – but it costs!  Saddle stitching is a time-honoured favourite – it is great for the budget production of childrens books.

1. Perfect Binding

Perfect binding book self-published book Australia

Perfect book binding

Perfect binding is a book binding method where the pages of a book are glued together at the spine, as opposed to being sewn or stapled. This method is commonly used for paperbacks, hardcover novels, and annual reports. In perfect binding, the pages are cut to size, glued together at the spine, and then attached to a cover. The cover is usually made of thicker paper or cardboard and is glued to the spine of the book. Perfect binding is a cost-effective and efficient way to bind books, making it a popular choice for book printing in Australia and other countries.

 

2. Sewn Book Binding

Sewn binding, also known as case binding, is a traditional bookbinding method used in book publishing. In this method, the pages of the book are sewn together with thread, creating a strong, and durable binding. This method is commonly used for hardcover books and is considered to be one of the most durable forms of bookbinding.

Sewn binding is deployed for high quality, long lasting books that will be handled regularly. These sorts of books include textbooks or artbooks. While a novel will only be read just once, a coffee table book – an artbook – might be picked up 250 times over a ten years. Textbooks might be read by thousands of students borrowing from a university library (and quite badly treated). It is considered a premium binding option and is more expensive than other binding methods like perfect binding.

For the self-published author the decision to use section sewing is largely determined by the expected sales price of the book but also importantly the impression the book is intended to make on readers. Section sewing screams quality!

In the sewn binding process, the pages of the book are first gathered together and collated in the correct order. Next, a strip of fabric or paper called a “binding strip” is sewn through the pages, attaching them together. The spine of the book is then glued to a stiff cover board, which is then covered in cloth or paper. The book’s title and other information are printed on the spine and front cover of the book.

For books produced in sections (and sewn together), it is necessary to have the page count to be a multiple of four. For example a 155 page book will not work as a section sewn book i.e. 155/4=38.75 (a fraction). A 156 page book is divisible by 4 i.e. 156/4=39. Thirty-nine is an integer – a number that is not a fraction.

This is easier to understand with an image. The sections (sometimes referred to as signatures) contain sections as all multiples of four e.g. 40 pages in a section, sewn together and bound into a book.

Book printing and binding - sections

Sections/signatures sewn together and glued to the spine.

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3. Spiral, wiro, and plastic comb binding

Spiral binding, also known as coil binding, is a bookbinding method that involves attaching a plastic or metal coil to the book’s pages. This method is commonly used for creating technical documents, workbooks, and other types of bound documents that need to be opened flat and lay flat. It’s a good method for cookbooks.

Some people think its a bit ugly – OK for training manuals and workbooks but a little odd for a cookbook especially if its a lifestyle type cookbook where its important that the production of the book impresses.

In the spiral binding process, holes are punched along the edge of the book’s pages. Then, a plastic or metal coil is inserted through the holes and the ends are crimped together to hold the pages in place. The coils come in various colours, thicknesses, and lengths, allowing for a range of customisation.

Spiral binding is a popular choice for documents that need to be frequently written on such as journals, workbooks, and notebooks. It allows the book to lay flat and pages can be easily turned, making it easy to use. Spiral binding is also relatively inexpensive and can be done quickly compared to other binding methods.

Many book printers and publishers in the country use this method for producing bound documents that need to be written on.

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4. Hardback (cased) binding

Hardback case binding, also known as case binding or edition binding, is a bookbinding method that involves attaching a hard cover to the book’s pages. This method is commonly used for hardcover books and is considered to be one of the most durable forms of bookbinding.

In the hardback case binding process, the pages of the book are first gathered together and collated in the correct order. Next, a strip of fabric or paper called a “binding strip” is sewn through the pages, attaching them together. The spine of the book is then glued to a stiff cover board, which is then covered in cloth or paper. The book’s title and other information are printed on the spine and front cover of the book.

After that, the cover board is covered with paper or cloth which is glued to the cover board. This cover is then glued to the book block. The spine is then glued and the cover and spine are trimmed to size.

Hardback case binding is often used for high-quality, long-lasting books such as art books, cookbooks, and reference books. It is considered a premium binding option and is more expensive than other binding methods like perfect binding.

Many book printers and publishers in the country use this method for producing high-quality and long-lasting books.

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5. Saddle stitching

Book saddle stitch binding

Saddle stitch book binding

Saddle stitching is a book binding method where the pages of a book are folded in half and then stapled together at the spine. This method is commonly used for small to medium-sized books, such as brochures, catalogs, and magazines. It’s proven to be a great option for self published childrens books and even self-published cookbooks.

The pages are printed on large sheets of paper, which are then folded in half and cut to the finished size of the book. The folded pages are then stapled together at the fold, or “saddle,” creating the spine of the book.

Saddle stitching is an economical and efficient way to bind books, making it a popular choice for book publishing and print on demand services.

Often authors of children’s books will say, ‘I don’t want the book to be stapled. Children will cut their fingers on the stapes.’
This is (with due respect) a ridiculous statement. We do not know of a child who has been cut, hospitalised, or died from reading a saddle stitched book.

saddle stitched book

Saddle stitched bound books sit flat

Saddle stitching remains a great way of binding a self published book. The only limitation is that your page number needs to be a multiple of four.

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