Bound to be read: guiding you through the book-binding process

When people think of Oxfordshire, they often think of its rich literary significance and its academic prowess – from the birthplace of Lord of the Rings to the Bodleian Library. Just as books are important to the people in this county, making books and brochures look great is important to KMS Litho – and one of our favourite parts of printing your project is helping you to choose a beautiful binding style.

Maybe it’s not something you’d considered yet – but whether you’re looking to print a brochure, corporate handbook, or the next great novel, there’s more to binding than you might think.

You’ll need to think about everything from the size of your book to the size of your budget, to how long you want the book to last. You might find yourself bamboozled by the options available. Fortunately, we’re here to make things simple.

Choosing your binding

Perfect bound: Of course all KMS Litho binding is perfect, but this method happens to be called perfect binding – and it’s what you commonly see on the paperbacks on the shelves of your local Oxfordshire book stores. Books that are soft bound are wrapped in a paper / lightweight board cover, and then glued into the main cover using a very strong adhesive.

Traditionally this binding was done using EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) glue, but this has been largely superseded by a PUR (Polyurethane Reactive) glue. EVA does not work so well on certain substrates and can re-melt under heat or crack when very cold, offering potential for compromise in the spine strength. PUR on the other hand bonds with equal strength to all paper surfaces via chemical reaction with the paper fibres. PUR retains a flexible, rubberised characteristic, meaning the spine’s strength will not be compromised under regular use.

Soft-bound books can withstand a lot of handling, are cost effective and can be bound quite quickly. So whether you’re planning to print your poetry anthology or dissertation, or you’re printing a brochure or extensive business plan, this may be the binding method for you.

Hard bound / Case bound: Hard bound is the ultimate in terms of strength for binding. The pages are folded and gathered, typically as 16-page sections before blocking one section of 16 on top of the other to make the final book block. For the ultimate in strength binding, the individual 16-page sections are thread sewn along the spine before being glued into a hard board casing. For this reason, hard-bound – or hardback – books are incredibly long-lasting.

Hardback books can be tailored with a range of different materials to give a really beautiful and quality product. The hard board covers are often covered in cloth and foil blocked. The final book will often have a printed dust jacket loosely wrapped for added protection, and additional options might include decorative head and tail bands and a page marker ribbon.

Saddle stitch: Saddle-stitched books are very economical, and great for short publications of around eight pages up. The pages are folded and stitched together with wire cut from a spool to the desired length and dependent on the thickness of the book. Wires are often mistaken for staples as they have a similar finished characteristic.

This type of binding is great for booklets, theatre brochures, staff handbooks or short magazines. It can be done relatively quickly and quite cheaply too.

Wiro / coil bound: For this style, the page leaves are punched and a metal or plastic coil holds all the pages of the book together. This means the books can be opened flat very easily.

Because they can lay out flat, coil-bound books are useful for recipe books – so you’re not constantly turning pages with buttery fingers – or books that are opened frequently like diaries, instruction manuals and staff handbooks.

From first to final chapter: the whole process

Now you know what type of binding you want, you can take a step back and plan the whole printing process. And if you choose to entrust experienced professionals with your project, KMS Litho can look after it for you from start to finish.

Using our in-house team of graphic designers, we can work with you according to your vision and budget to create a really beautiful final look for your product.

KMS Litho Bound BooksOnce your book, manual or brochure is designed, and you’re happy with the final look, we can get printing. We are able to meet the growing demand for short-run perfect-bound hardback and soft-cover books in-house, and can manage the process if you would prefer another type of binding. We can advise on what’s best for your needs, what suits your budget, and how long it is likely to take.

Once your product is printed, you may be planning to send it to a database of customers. We can look after this fulfilment side of things too, meaning that from concept to finished product, you can work with our team based out of our Oxfordshire studio. We’ll take away the stress and post your project using our Royal Mail delivery partner.

Our binding promise

With more than 25 years in the printing business, KMS Litho is extremely well positioned to make your printing dream a reality. We’d be very happy to talk about your project, guide you through all the decisions you’ll need to make, and even show you our fantastic range of specialised binding machinery.

So whether you’re looking to bind a personal project, or compelling business materials, contact us today to find out more.