A hardcover or hardbound book has rigid covers and is stitched in the spine. Looking from the top of the spine, the book can be seen to consist of a number of signatures bound together. When the book is opened in the middle of a signature, the binding threads are visible. The signatures in modern hardcover books are typically octavo (a single sheet folded three times). Unusually large and heavy books are sometimes bound with wire or cable.
The covers of modern hardback books are of thick cardboard. Until the mid 20th century those of mass-produced books were covered in cloth, but from that period onwards most publishers adopted clothette, a kind of textured paper which vaguely resembles cloth but is easily differentiated on close inspection.
A paperback or soft cover book consists of a number of signatures or individual leaves between covers of much heavier paper, glued together at the spine with a strong flexible glue; this is sometimes called perfect binding. Mass market paperbacks and pulp paperbacks are small and cheaply made with lightweight newsprint bulkier style paper. Trade paperbacks are more sturdily made, usually larger, and more expensive.
A sewn book is constructed in the same way as a hardbound book, except that it lacks the hard covers. The binding is as durable as that of a hardbound book.
Magazines are considered more ephemeral than books, and less durable means of binding them are usual. In general, the cover papers of magazines will be the same as the inner pages (self-cover or only slightly heavier (soft cover).
Perfect binding similar to paperback books is often used; National Geographic is perhaps the best known of this type.
Spiral binding is commonly used for atlases and other publications where it is necessary or desirable to be able to open the publication back on itself without breaking the spine. There are several types but basically it is made by punching holes along the entire length of the spine of the page and winding a wire 'spiral' (like a spring) through the holes to provide a fully flexible hinge at the spine.
Stapling through the center fold, also called saddle-stitching, joins a set of nested folios into a single magazine issue; Comic books are a good example of this binding.
SELF PUBLISH AUSTRALIA offers all these book binding methods. Contact us for your next book printing project.
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