A tradition of excellence

5 Tips for Producing a Quality Book!

We know the creation of a book is the result of a lot of hard work. However, as bookbinders, we see that
this hard work is often ruined by questionable choices at the design stage. Some simple basic tips and a
good framework can change this, though. Here are five tips for producing a book within the rules of the art
and make your book more attractive and enjoyable to read!


1- Choose the correct grain direction:

This is probably the most under-estimated factor when choosing a printer. The client requests a price (the best!) and then compares prices without ever suspecting (due to a lack of knowledge and good advice) that the grain direction of the pages has a major impact on the finished product. This is even more important when working with thicker paper. The grain direction of the paper affects the flexibility of a book. If you examine a book whose pages or cover have been printed on stock with the incorrect grain direction required for binding, you will find a very rigid product whose pages don’t want to stay open. The wrong grain direction can also cause the loosening of some pages in the book, causing them to fall out. This is an important consideration.

It is often more expensive to print books with the correct grain direction for binding, since the printer has to impose signatures of 12 pages instead of 16 pages, thus resulting in more plates and press set-ups. However, with the choice of tools at the disposal of printers today, it is often possible to print without breaking the budget. It is also equally possible to design the book in landscape format, which changes the orientation of the grain.


2- Choose the right type of binding:

  • Paperback Binding: very quick production and the least expensive, but limited to the number of pages
    that can be gathered and bound.
  • Perfect Binding: fast production, square spine ideal for visible placement of important library
    information, with the possibility adding two-page inserts. Allows the binding of several hundred pages per
    volume, and there are different options for strength (PUR glue, hot glue, sewn sections)
  • Case Binding: hard cover (between 50 – 120 points), high-quality appearance, often sewn, square or
    round spines, with endpapers. Offers many added-value options with the addition of leathers, textured
    materials, stamping, and dust-jackets.
  • Spiral and Wire-O Binding: offers the option to mix several different types of stock within the same
    document, allows 180° opening, and the grain direction is less important. Several colour choices of spiral
    and many types of spine formats (exposed, semi-exposed, hidden). Slow production, requires more time
    and better schedule preparation to allow for busy periods and heavy workloads. Very useful for agendas.


3- Think about the graphic design elements

Avoid placing images in two-page spreads (cross-overs) with important details or elements in the middle of the spread. There isn’t a magical formula to ensure that the image will be perfectly seen without forcing open the binding and potentially breaking the spine. This can be even more disastrous with text spreading across two pages. In perfect binding, don’t forget to adjust the images on the inside front and inside back covers to compensate for the side glue, which can hide up to 0.5″ (12 mm) of the image.
Note: We suggest that you consult with your printer to get their recommendations in order to produce a
final product that will meet your expectations.


4- Think about the durability required for the book

There are works which require superior durability due to their long shelf-life or use (cookbooks, religious works, dictionaries, school books, catalogues, yearbooks, etc.). To ensure the durability of the book, there are three factors to consider – the grain direction, the type of glue (EVA or PUR), and sewing. Binding a sewn catalogue can cost up to 40% more compared to a catalogue produced with hot glue (EVA), but sewing is the only method which guarantees the durability of the binding. There isn’t any possibility of the pages coming loose, which can happen when using only glue. Before eliminating the option of sewing, ask yourself this question – how much does this 40% increase in binding cost actually represent in the total production of the work (including design, typesetting, photography, printing, distribution, etc.)? Is it worth it to invest this amount and thus have the assurance that the book will stand up to its specified use?

Of course!


5- Consider the time

Each type of binding requires a different production time. Once completion dates are set, they are difficult to move with a full production schedule. People think about the timelines needed to correct proofs and to print, but often under-estimate the time needed for the chosen binding method. Certain types of bindings, such as case binding or mechanical binding (plastic spiral), require up to 8 – 10 working days for production. Errors in binding are very costly and have major consequences on the final product. You have to allow the necessary time and take into account the busy periods in the industry. We suggest you follow our blog to keep well-informed on this subject!

Until next time!