Case Binding is how we bind hardcover books.
Case binding. What is it? Simply, it is any book binding with a hard cover made from thick binding board, and has a cover wrap material permanently glued to the board. We throw around a lot of terms in bookbinding, whether it be for printing on press, or printing on demand. We also call them hardcover books or case bound books.
Case binding needs to be done the right way. After all, how many books can you afford to send out to book buyers to replace faulty binding?
The book block within a case binding.
Books come in many dimensions. We actually allow most custom dimensions here at Star Print Brokers. But, books can print on different paper stock finishes, and paper weight can vary — not to mention page count. We adjust the binding method to the book. So, how do we bind the book block — that is, all the pages — into the given binding method?
Printing in signatures.
First, we consider how thick the book will be when printing on press. We print in signatures on a large sheet of paper. Printing is always done on sheetfed presses, not on web presses that have huge rolls of papers. Web presses are more commonly used to print newspapers, magazines, catalogs, and large quantity direct mail pieces. These presses are not as exacting as are quality sheetfed presses.
Star Print Brokers is very particular with the quality of our hardcover books, as well as the soft cover books that we print on press.
Folding the signatures.
Most often, we print books in 16 or 32-page signatures, although depending on page dimension, we also print in 8-page signatures. A 16-page signature for example, will have 8 pages printing on each side of the sheet. We then fold the sheet several times to make a booklet, also known as a signature. The signatures assemble in the proper page numbering order to form a book block. Sometimes the signatures are sewn together (Smyth sewn) or they may glue or are bound by other methods.
This is Smyth sewing of signatures:
What follows is that the book block is bound into a hardcover binding, also called a case binding. We evaluate the thickness of the book’s text block. We may have a 24 or 32-page children’s book, or a 300-page coffee table book. Binding methods are available for all text block and binding styles.
Have a look at the difference in signatures after being bound together.
The feature photo and photo below in this post are stock photography. But, they illustrate how the size of a signature, and head and tail bands, make a difference in the look and quality of any book that is printing in signatures.
Top binding – Round back spine.
Not in Star Print Brokers books! The signatures are too thick. Each signature needs to have fewer pages. The binding is missing head & tail bands. All hardcover books of quality should have head and tail bands.
Middle binding – Round back spine.
This a the correct thickness of signatures. The red & white colors are the head & tail band thread.
Bottom binding – Square back spine.
This is a passable thickness for signatures. It’s good to see the white head & tail bands. We have different variegated or solid colors to choose from.
Keep pages together.
The “folded and gathered” signatures are held together by Smyth sewing, adhesives, or stitching. Quality is our first consideration when determining how the book block will come together, and also stay bound. Pages should never fall out of books!
The binding should not be so tight that it is difficult to open the open the book without breaking the spine. Also, if the binding is too loose, the signatures can move. It is simply not well-bound.
Smyth sewing is the common method to use for trade books, especially in a case binding. The signatures stitch together on the spine of the book block. See the image above in the feature image.
Print on demand books most often output toner on paper, from a digital output device. We prefer to print on press and bind the in the most professional style.
Star Print Brokers can manufacture books bound with high-quality case binding, and at a reasonable cost. But, we do have minimum quantities in professional book manufacturing. See our quote form for details.
Side sewing is when the book is sewn straight though the book block from the side, versus the spine. We don’t usually use this method, but be aware that some POD services do this.
It is perfectly acceptable to glue signatures to form a book block. However, page count or paper thickness may be too great for adhesives. More often, we opt for secure Smyth sewing. The other consideration is the lay flat quality. Adhesives don’t allow for the book block to open and lay flat in the same way as a Smyth sewn binding.
Stapling or side-wire stitching.
We don’t use this method at all. First of all — in bookbinding jargon — stitching means “stapling.” It does not refer to sewing. Know that if a print on demand or book packager produces a hardcover case bound book, they almost certainly will use side-wire or side-sewing for their case binding, because it is cheaper. But, it’s not better, in fact, it is inferior. How many books can you afford to send out to book buyers to replace faulty binding?
Whatever type of binding you choose, whether it be a case binding or something else, be sure to copyright your work. Also, get your own ISBN and barcode at ISBN.org, or from us, as we are authorized agents of ISBN.org.