Book binding types

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Published 12:00am, 22/05/2019 by BPUK Admin | Advice

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Before we dive into which book binding type is right for you, you need to know your options. If you’re new to printing, you won’t know the jargon, understand the pros and cons of each, or the options available! Book Printing UK is here to help with that and make sure your project is exactly how you want.

What binding types are available?

As mentioned, there is a wide range of binding types available when you come to print your work and while choice is always a good thing, not every binding works with what you have in mind. I mean, when was the last time you saw an A4 Coil bound novel? It safe to say I’ve never seen one. That being said, let’s start with the most popular book binding type around…

Paperback book binding

When you think of books, you're likely picturing a paperback book you read by the fire or on the train. This is the binding type that fills the majority of bookshelves around the world and easily the most recognisable. Characterised by the thick paper cover holding the inside pages together with a glue binding.

Often chosen for a wide range of projects from poetry collections to novels, it’s hard not to enjoy the feel of these books when reading. When printing a book, it is usually a safe bet that paperback will work for you!

Hardback binding

If you’re looking to print the best of the best then hardback book binding is for you! Providing a more luxurious look and feel to any book, this is one to make your work stand out among the pile. These are made by encasing your work in a hardcover cardboard case, providing a more durable end product which catches the eye of every avid book reader.

We recommend this binding type for a number of projects which you can read about further in the blog.

Booklet binding

Booklet binding, often called staple binding involves a staple through the centre of the pages that are clamped closed. The lack of glue helps the book open fully to read double page spreads without loosening the binding. Like many other book binding types, this one has a set of projects that are perfect for it such as magazines or brochures. One thing to note, booklets have their pages in multiples of four.

Coil bound Books

Used for the most functional or frequently opened books, this binding method is popular for business workbooks. This unique book binding type allows the pages to open at 360 degrees and lay the book flat without issue. Made by sandwiching the inside pages between card and proceeding to punch holes along the spine which then have the plastic coil fed through. Now the binding is formed, your book is ready to use daily without the concern of breaking.


Pva Padding

This type of binding is used for very specific products. Desk pads, scribble pads, note pads etc... notice they are all pads. The pva glue is painted along the binding edge to ensure the pad is securely bound but it also allows you to tear one sheet off at a time. 

What about e-books?

While this technically doesn’t count as book binding, it’s still a viable option when it comes to producing your work. This method is becoming more and more popular as time goes on mainly thanks to the Kindle readers getting better and better. This type of ‘binding’ is usually an add-on rather than the main method of releasing a book.

This is all done by converting your work into one of two digital formats (.mobi or .ePub) which make it readable on almost every digital platform.

Which book binding type works for your work?

As we like to say, no print project is the same and we stand by that. But that’s not to say each one fits into a specific category of print. For example, novels are novels, cookbooks are cookbooks and poetry is poetry regardless of who is printing it and each one works best with specific binding.

What works for Novels?

Not every type of book has a specific binding type that needs to be used but there are usually recommendations for you to follow. Not to say you need to follow them but as you read on you will see why each type of book is usually printed and bound in a specific way which is more often than not, to help the book withstand usage.

If you’re a frequent reader of novels, you would have noticed the majority of them are paperback. This is often because books printed in large quantities are cheaper to do so in this format. That being said, it doesn’t take away from the fact that a hardback novel is not unheard of and in fact is often printed as a more expensive and collectable edition.

At the end of the day, when it comes to printing your novel, we recommend you choose the option to best suit your needs. If this is your first print run, then why not have a few copies in hardback binding to keep or give to friends and family?

One final piece of advice for this is to try avoiding A4 for novels. The majority of novels are printed in Slim A5 or Royal but rarely the size of A4. If you’re doing your daily commute and had to haul around a book that size, you’d soon realise why no one prints long stories in that size.

Printing Children’s Books? What binding should you use?

Children’s books are slightly different as they are often a lot shorter in word count, bigger in size and tend to contain a lot of images. This is a time where hardback books, while more durable are usually avoided. It just doesn’t make sense to spend premium prices for a book that will get juice spilt on it, food splattered across the pages and mucky fingerprints all over.

Paperback books tend to be the favourable book binding style as they’re more cost effective for the print requirements. This is also the binding type we would recommend as it lets you print more for your money along with not having to worry about your hardback books getting ruined.

Training manuals and workbooks have options

These books tend to get used regularly if not every day meaning they need to be sturdy. What better way to print a book like this than coil bound or as a booklet! The beauty of coil bound books is the lack of glue bindings that make the pages rigid. This allows the reader to use the book daily without worry of the book falling apart. As mentioned before, coil bound books are able to open at 360 degrees and lay flat meaning you can use them on the job or while training.

Booklets make a great alternative for books that are used a lot but not necessarily daily. They still have the benefit of laying flat without ruining the glue binding as there isn’t one. Available in a range of sizes, booklets can be the ideal binding type for your print project. This is great for workbooks that get handed out to prospective clients or at events to showcase your business. This is how we print our work that goes to prospective clients so why don’t you do the same?

Brochures, magazines or catalogues are best as booklets!

Have you ever picked up a magazine to browse in the shop or received a catalogue in the post? If so, you might have noticed they all tend to have the same binding type and that would be as a booklet.

Booklet binding is chosen as a cheaper alternative to perfect binding used by paperback books. It is the most basic and inexpensive method and is used for projects with a small page count. This method is perfect for most magazines up to around 80 pages; afterwards, it can begin to get difficult to lay the pages flat.

If you’re a company with a large collection of items for sale, then a catalogue is for you. Sometimes, this can pass the 80-page mark and if so, we recommend our paperback book option! This is a great way to have your book last a long time and stay functional. As it won’t be used as regularly as other books, the amount of wear and tear would be limited. This would be your cheapest option for a high-quality, page count heavy catalogue.

So what do I choose?

All in all, the binding type you choose is based on personal preference most of the time. Why print in paperback when hardback is an option? Why print a paperback book when coil would be better suited? If you’ve read all that I’ve been saying, you should have an idea of what binding type is not only right for your print project but should have a clear understanding of what you want!

That being said, there are a lot of choices and you can use our online quote calculator to calculate the cost of your project in each binding style. Better yet, you can always talk to one of our expert account managers who can help you decide!