Four Options For Commercially Binding of Books

There are so many different binding techniques available to elongate the life of the printed book, something which you must treasure. Saddle stitching is done with no spine on short print books, perfect binding is done on paperback books with a spine while case binding is done on what we generally call hard cover books. There are some other less common options as well which can require hard work from the binder and be more expensive but these bindings are certainly more flexible and durable.

Plastic Comb Binding

Plastic comb binding is commonly known in its abbreviated form, GBC binding. This binding method is very useful for short but multi-page books. First a few holes are punched along the edge of the spine of the book and then a comb like structure, with a plastic spine and curved tines, is placed through these holes. Then these tines are tightened so that the plastic spine grips the book tightly. This binding technique can remind you of spiral notebooks because a plastic spine runs along the original spine of the book.


The comb is removable. You can easily take this out and add a new one. Or you can remove it to add some pages to the book and tighten it.

Anything can be printed on the plastic spine using screen printing techniques.

These combs can hold up to 400 pages and be as thick as 2 inches in diameter. Of course, if the paper is too heavy, the page count will reduce somewhat.


GBC punching cannot handle very large amount of pages at one time. Holes can be punched on only a limited number of pages.

So, for more pages, the whole creation process must be repeated a few times. That makes this process a slow one and obviously the cost goes up as more work is needed from the binder.

This binding technique is very useful for short booklets and similar thing which will have a limited circulation. If the book has many pages or you need many copies of the books, this option is not so attractive.

Velo Binding

If you are planning for a convention or a meeting or a seminar where a limited number of attendees will receive the book, then Velo binding is another option for you. This is very good when the demand of the copies is less. In Velo binding, holes are punched along the spine of the book, much like a plastic comb binding. Then a plastic bar with tines is added on one side of the blind edge with the time running through the holes. Another similar plastic sheet is then added on the other side of the blind edge (in other words, one on the top of the front cover of the book and the other on the back cover of the book) with its tines coming through the holes in the opposite direction. The tines of the opposite sheets go through the thin plastic sheets as well. Then the extra spikes are cut of and the whole thing is moulded using heat, producing a unified bond. Thus, two different plastic sheets will provide support from both sides of the book and it will also make it very comfortable to hold and read the book.


Great comfort while reading.

Good for few copies.

More durable than plastic comb binding.


As it is permanent, once it is done, it stays there. No addition or deletion of pages is possible after it is done.

You cannot place the book on a flat surface, like a table, while reading.

Not economical for large number of copies.


Tape Binding

The easiest and cheapest book binding technique is tape binding. It can be done when in a hurry as well as it requires very little time and effort from the binder. Consider a wide enough tape which runs along the spine of the book and then spreads wide enough to cover the blind side of the front cover and the back cover. This way, it holds every page in place.


It is extremely cheap and quick.

If you want only a few copies, this is not a bad idea.


The tape is not removable so once it has been attached, pages cannot be added or removed. That facility comes with plastic comb binding.

Not so durable as only a tape is holding everything together.

No fancy printing can be done on the spine as the spine here is nothing but a tape.

Screw and Post Binding

In this technique, first you need to drill two or three holes along the spine of the book. Then screws and posts are inserted from the opposite ends for each hole. Then, for each hole, the posts and the screws are tightened together. These posts and screws combinations come in pairs so when tightened, they fit in with each other perfectly and tightly. It looks like the covers and the pages of the books are screwed together from opposite ends.


You can add as many pages as the width of the post and screws will allow you so, this technique is very useful for thick books with lots of pages.

The posts and screws can be unfasten and new pages can be added or old pages can be removed which gives the needed flexibility.

It is a very durable process and can hold a thick sheaf of paper together for a long time.


Of course it is much more expensive as it required hard work from the binder.

Once again, no fancy printing on the spine is possible as the spine is missing in this technique.

 About Author: Pranav has considerable experience in the printing industry. To know more about various types of commercial printing visit PRI Graphics.


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