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Self-Publishing: An Overview Of Bookbinding Options

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When you decide to self-publish a book, you'll have sole responsibility for the printing decisions. There are a number of factors to take into consideration when contracting with a printer including cost, paper type, printing method and cover type, but one of the key decisions you'll have to make is how your book will be bound. The type of bookbinding you choose can affect the first impression your book gives to potential readers, so what are your choices and what are the differences between binding styles? Here's an overview of three popular bookbinding options for self-publishing authors:

Perfect Binding

Perfect binding is commonly used for paperbacks and manuals. Pages are folded into sections with each section having no more than a dozen pages, and this creates lots of booklet-sized sections that are then glued together at the fold before being glued into a soft cover, which creates a square spine. Paperback books with this type of binding won't open flat or stay open by themselves, but there is an option to reinforce the binding at the page folds with stitching, which does allow the book to open flat. Whether you opt for stitching or not, perfect binding gives you a strong, high-quality finished product.

Case Binding

Case binding has some similarities to perfect binding, but this method is used for hardcover books. The pages are folded in small sections and the sections are then sewn together before being glued into a case, which is made up of three pieces of greyboard to form the spine, front cover and back cover. Case binding allows the book to be opened flat, and the strong stitches used ensure the book stays together regardless of how many pages it consists of.

Spiral Binding

Spiral binding is a budget-friendly option that's ideal for manuals and cookbooks, but it can be used for any style of book. Once the pages are assembled, holes are punched along the spine edge of the book and a plastic or wire spiral is passed through each of the holes to create a finished product that can be opened flat. If you want to make a spiral-bound book appear more professional, you can add a hard cover to the front and back of the book. Alternatively, you can have it cased-in, which simply means the front and back of the book are glued to a greyboard case that's similar to those used for hardbacks and you'd only see the spirals once you opened the book.

If you're unsure of the best binding option for your book, discuss your requirements with your chosen printing company before making your final decision.