Friday Fun Facts: Bookbinding

by Seth Morabito
Coptic binding by Seth Morabito.

What a week of book spine poems! It’s been amazing, and we have even more where that came from. If you have a poem, send it in!

In the meantime, here are your regularly scheduled Friday Fun Facts. I figured, since we’ve been playing with book spines, why not take a closer look at how they work.

  • Saddle stitching is used when there aren’t many pages. The paper is folded in half and stapled with a special machine.
  • Perfect binding is what you’re most used to seeing. Pages are printed and folded in signatures (most printers use sixteen-page signatures). The pages are then glued to a wrap-around cover, forming the spine.
  • Coptic binding also uses signatures. However, instead of gluing the pages to a spine, they are sewn together, allowing the book to lay flat when open.
  • Wire or spiral binding is just what it sounds like. It is the metal or plastic spiral that you can get inserted at print shops. Most notebooks are spiral bound.
  • Japanese binding is easy to accomplish at home. After poking holes along the spine side of the pages, you sew the pages together by looping thread around the spine. It’s an awesome way to put together a travel book of flyers and photos or any other document.

So, next time you’re by your bookshelf, see if you’ve got anything that’s not perfect bound. If you don’t, perhaps you should try making one!

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