Choosing the best book binding methods for your projects is largely dependent on the content of your document, the number of pages, and your printing budget. The correct binding method can transform your average document into a quality, professional piece. Putting thought into selecting the right book binding method can be just as important as the contents it’s holding, so don’t leave it as an afterthought.

Struggling to select which book binding methods best suits your needs? We’ve highlighted some of the more popular book binding methods for an array of project types, and explain why they’re optimal for particular projects.

Saddle Stitching

Cost: Low

Number of Pages: 8-96 pages

Starting with the basics, saddle stitch binding is one of the most common book binding methods in print. You’ll recognize this book binding type in most calendars, magazines, and catalogues. It looks very similar to stapling, created by punching a wire through the document’s spine. The wire is then bent flat on the inside of the center fold, securing all the pages.

This binding is ideal for smaller page counts (a range of 16-80 pages is optimal; 8 is the minimum) on which you don’t want to invest too much money on. Saddle stitch binding stays relatively flat when opened, a subtle convenience for your readers.

For the most economical book binding method, saddle stitch binding is a strong option.

Comb (or Cerlox) Binding

Cost: Low

Number of Pages: 6-250 pages

Another cost-effective book binding method is comb binding for small quantities (a few hundred). It’s noticeably popular in North America. Thanks to its flexibility, it can be used for small to large documents, and is considered a slightly higher quality alternative to saddle stitching in most scenarios.

Comb binding is typically used for manuals or books that need to open, and remain that way, effortlessly. The binding is created by punching rectangular holes through the pages, followed by threading plastic comb rings through them. The edges of the document are then covered by a plastic comb. If you don’t have the equipment to automate the process through a machine, it can be done by hand, but be aware this is a time consuming process.

The other downside of comb binding is it’s more susceptible to damage, as repeated use will ultimately cause the ‘teeth’ to break off.

For a short term project that you need bound quickly at a low cost, consider comb binding to bring it all together.

Coil or Spiral Binding

Cost: Average-High

Number of Pages: 16-275 pages

Coil or spiral binding is made of either wire or plastic (generally plastic) which, as the name suggests, spirals a single piece of pre-coiled plastic through the edges of the document. With the ability to smoothly lie flat, and even double over so you can read and hold the document in one hand, spiral binding is fitting for technical manuals or notebooks.

Spiral binding is a bit costlier than comb binding or saddle stitch binding, but is catered to larger projects where you might have more funds to play with. The downside of using spiral binding is it’s impossible to add pages without uncoiling the entire document, and can be crushed when handled roughly.

Three-Hole Drilling

Cost: Low-Average

Number of Pages: 32-1000+ pages

A flexible way to bind publications is in a binder. The idea is to three-hole drill collated documents near the edges of the pages you’re binding, typically with a specialized machine that can cleanly penetrate thick stacks of paper as necessary.

This is an extremely quick book binding process, as the paper drill allows hundreds of sheets to be drilled at a time. It is also very flexible, since you can add or remove pages as required, which makes it ideal for publications that are regularly updated.

The most common application, as you may’ve guessed, for three-hole drilled documents is to insert them into 3-ring binders. This is why this book binding method is so adaptable; the size of the document is only restricted by the size of the binder.

Additionally, other book bindings methods, such as perfect bound and saddle stitching, can be complimented with three-hole drilling near the spine, so they can be inserted into a binder or similar fixture. This hybrid method is regularly seen in manuals and catalogs.

Perfect Bound

Cost: Average-High

Number of Pages: 32-2500 pages

Perfect bound is a book binding method that is quicker and cheaper compared to spiral and cerlox bindings. If you’ve got the time and the funds – the cost is normally average, but actually drops when you’re ordering large quantities (500+) – it’s one of the more professional, durable binding methods available. And while aesthetics usually takes a back seat in book binding, a perfect bound is one of the cleaner finishes for any presentation.

Sections of folded pages (signatures) are trimmed at the spine, about 1/8” off the left edge. The edges are roughed out afterwards, preparing the sheets for gluing. From there, the sections are collated, and glued to a wrap-around cover.

If you’re creating a book, thicker magazine, annual report, or technical manual, the perfect bound method is the ‘perfect’ way to go.

Case Binding

Cost: High

Number of Pages: 64-800 pages

When cost isn’t a factor and you’re making a presentation to impress, case binding is on the high-end of the book binding spectrum. This is the most expensive of the book binding methods, but you get what you pay for.

This is the standard binding method for hardcover books, so you know it’s a binding that’ll last. There are various methods of case binding, though the typical process is close to the perfect bound technique. The pages are sewn together in signatures (16 or 32 page signatures are most common), glued to end papers, and then attached to the spine.

Used almost exclusively for books, you can have your project really stand out and impress with a professional case binding.

When deciding on what book binding methods are most suited for your project, remember to consider the purpose of the project, the length, and your budget. Once that’s been determined, aesthetics can come into play.

Now that you know how to put your project together, it’s time to find the right printing service to produce your multi-page document. Enfigo’s innovative approach includes Instant Custom Quotes based on more than 80 printing process, and In-Depth Spec Analysis to maximize the efficiency of your projects.

Contact Us for a Quote Today!