Now, let’s move on from spiral and wiro binding and take a look into the world of soft cover binding. Bookshops nowadays stock an assortment of fiction and nonfiction literature as well as and many popular novels and old favorites. These books are generally published as soft cover editions, because they are cheap yet look chic and are of good quality. Which means it will reach the masses.
These soft-cover books are great examples of a binding method called ‘perfect binding’. When a perfect bound book is being put together, the printer stacks the inside pages forming a neat block. The edge that is going to be stuck to the spine is then scraped with a blade to make it rough so that the fibers can stick better to the spine. Thermal glue is spread along this edge. The pages and the book cover which and then stuck to the spine which has also been previously smeared with the glue. When dried, the other sides are trimmed give the book perfect, clean edges.
Covers are usually ‘finished’ with a coating of clear varnish, a UV coat, an aqueous coat or a laminate (which could be either liquid or film) to protect the cover and give it a glossy appearance. Spines are square, and the cover is usually made with cardstock or heavy paper.
The main advantages of perfect bound books are that production costs way less than hard bound books, and are visually appealing yet professional in their appearance. Because of the spine’s square nature, the author’s name, title of the book and other sundry information (like cost or the publisher’s name) can be printed on it. This is something that cannot be done if spiral or saddle stitch binding is used.
One of the best things about perfect binding is it is great for on-demand or short run printing. While on demand printing literally means the books are printed according to need, short run allows a business, publication house or author to order small quantities at a time. Benefits of these kinds of printing are that it is cost-effective; doesn’t need a lot of money investment-wise; it reduces chances of large numbers of books being left unsold; books can updated more often; and it reduces handling costs and the need for extra storage space.
This binding method is used not just by authors, but by commercial organizations and businesses as well. Perfect binding is cost effective but still has a professional look about it and is great for sports, event and business manuals, brochures and catalogs, and corporate and annual reports.
Most times, when we are browsing in a bookstore, we pick up a book, look at the cover, turn it over and read the synopsis of the story and then maybe go ahead and buy it. Perhaps we were sold on the synopsis and decided it was worth a read. But what first drew our eye to the book was its colorful cover and design. And that what perfect binding is all about. Basically, the proof of a best-seller is in the binding!