July 14, 2022

Common Book Binding Methods You Should Know

When it comes to bindings, there are at least a dozen different methods that you could choose from. While having options is usually a good thing, sometimes it can make the task of choosing a bit daunting. Some bindings are more durable, while others are more aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Some allow for a flat lay when opened, while others allow you to make changes to the pages as needed.  

All binding methods have their pros and their cons, so we’ve compiled together a list of popular bindings and what they work best for to help make your decision easier.


This is the most cost-effective and simplest form of binding. The saddle-stitch method is best suited for projects that are intended for short-term use or contain a smaller number of pages. This method takes folded sheets of paper and attaches them using staples through the folded region. You will typically see this method used in magazines, comic books, brochures, catalogs, programs, or any type of booklet.

Along with the number of pages, the weight of the paper can have an impact on whether or not it can be saddle stitched. In the case of this specific binding style, coated text weight stock is going to be the most recommended option.

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Perfect and PUR binding are both forms of binding that use a paperboard or heavy cover stock to attach pages to the spine with glue. The cover is usually longer than the pages, so in this binding method, the cover is trimmed until it gives that perfect polished look. You will typically see these methods used for softcover books, directories, or paperback books that have a higher pager count.

PUR and Perfect binding are similar at first glance, but it’s important to note that the difference between these two all comes down to the adhesive used during the binding process. The PUR method utilizes a special kind of adhesive known as polyurethane, which is much stronger and heat resistant than other paper-based EVA glues (such as the ones used in perfect binding). One of the biggest advantages of the PUR method is its increased strength in the binding. Once the glue is set, the pages are almost impossible to rip out!

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Also known as ‘hardcover binding,’ this method is referred to as one of the best. The inside pages are sewn together and then glued to the endpapers, which are then finally glued to the cover’s spine. This binding method offers a strong book spine and is best suited for projects with a longer intended life. Additionally, they are seen as having a higher value (which is fitting as they can be more costly to produce). One of its key benefits is that it allows for a book to lay flat upon opening.

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Also known as ‘Chicago screw binding,’ this durable method is an excellent choice for any portfolio or office document. Binding screws are used to keep everything from the covering boards to the inside documents in place. It offers a more aesthetically pleasing alternative to the ring binding method. The best part about this type of binding is that it allows you to add or remove pages as needed! You will typically see this binding used for restaurant menus, portfolios, or color charts.

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Also known as GBC binding, this method takes a plastic comb and inserts it into rectangular punched holes to keep all the documents in place. It is a great option when looking for an inexpensive and easy solution. A longtime favorite of many, this method allows for the book to lay flat when open. You will typically see this method used for manuals that are expected to have pages replaced or removed along the way.

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Also known as coil binding, this method inserts a continuous metal or plastic loop into the punched holes along the spine. One of the benefits of this binding method is that it allows books to lay open flat. The downside is that the binding needs to be cut off to add or remove any pages from the document.  

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Like spiral binding, this method also utilizes a continuous metal loop to keep all the documents intact. This method, however, has double metal loops inserted into the side of the book. It’s also similar to the comb binding method in that you can easily add or remove documents as needed, however it is a much more durable option. This makes it an excellent choice for any long-term projects.

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Let us know if you would like to learn more about any of these binding styles. Our print specialists consult with our clients to recommend the best options for their specific projects, so if you have a project in mind send us a note through our contact us form.

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