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By: Shelby

What is perfect bound booklet printing?

Perfect binding is a bindery choice commonly used for multiple page soft cover printed booklets and printed catalogs. “Perfect bound booklet printing” simply describes a soft cover publication that requires the professional look of a magazine with a wraparound cover that is hot glued to the interior sheets. It’s the preferred choice for booklets with as few as 4 sheets or more. Perfect binding is a great looking bindery choice for product catalogs, magazines, comic books, instruction manuals, look books, and a whole lot more. Lastly, our short run digital perfect binding equipment can provide you with perfect bound book printing, up to 2” thick, in as little as 3 work days.

Thin perfect bound booklet-blackcover with white ink from SLB Printing in Los AngelesShort run perfect bound booklet printing from SLB Printing in Los Angeles Perfect bound booklet with corner hing scoring from SLB Printing in Los Angeles



The Process of Perfect Binding a Booklet

How is a perfect bound booklet made? A booklet has 2 components, the cover and the interior sheets. To begin, the cover is scored and then folded twice creating a continuous square spine which the interior pages are hot glued into. Relief scores, also known as hinge scores, are added to provide an exact area for the cover to open up on. The hinge scores add to the overall clean and professional look of the binding. The machine that does the actual binding will grind a groove into the binding edge of the interior pages to allow the hot glue to adhere better.  Then the cover is wrapped around the hot glue and the appropriate pressure and binding time is set for the thickness of the catalog.  After allowing the glue to cure for several hours, we 3 side trim the booklet to its final desired size.

The hot glue we use is either PUR for our larger runs or EVA for the short run or small page count jobs.  In our opinion, both glues perform equally well for most of the standard house stocks we carry. When the job calls for just a few sheets or a small quantity of 500 books or less, we use the EVA glue on our smaller perfect binder, Otherwise, we use the PUR on our high volume production perfect binder.

I will explain other binding choices in more detail in another blog. For now, you can go to our bindery page to review other options by clicking here.

How to Determine Your Page Counts

Perfect bound page layout sample for booklet printing from SLB Printing in Los Angeles

Page Layout for Perfect Bound Booklet Printing

It’s very important to understand how to accurately describe the page count for your booklet.  Using the terms “Sheets” or “Pages” can get confusing so let’s try simplifying this. A sheet of paper has 2 sides. For calculating pages in a perfect bound booklet, each side is a “page” so 1 single sheet is really 2 pages.  However, if you require printing on only 1 side of the sheet, you would need to describe the page count as such. 


So, for a 42 page booklet, you either have a 21 sheet booklet printed 2 sides making up 42 pages or you have a 42 sheet single sided booklet.  If you forget to accurately describe the booklet using one of these phrases, your estimate and spine width will probably not be accurate!  This leads us to the next topic.

How to Determine the Spine Width

As you now know, the cover for a perfect bound booklet is one continuous sheet that gets wrapped around the interior pages. Therefore the spine width needs to be determined before the final cover layout is completed.  There are really only two main factors to consider, number of sheets and the thickness of the sheet.  If the interior has 42 sheets and is printed on 50# offset paper, it will be thinner than using 100# gloss or 80# uncoated text.  SLB Printing can help you determine the spine width after the choice has been made for sheet count and paper type. We always advise the need and importance for an accurate spine width measurement to help insure the final product comes out as expected.

Landscape, Square or Portrait size perfect bound booklets

Perfect bound digital booklet printing comes in all shapes and sizes.  SLB Printing has the equipment to provide you with several unique types of perfect bound books.  Let’s start with landscape size, we can print a cover that can accommodate a landscape booklet up to 12” tall by 13”wide and it can be as thin as 1/8” or as thick as 2”.  Square booklets as small as 6” and standard portrait booklets are all within the manufacturing ability of SLB Printing as well. The best thing about being able to print digitally is the ability to provide you with short run quantities for your booklet printing needs.  So if you just need a short run quantity of 5 or 10 booklets, that’s easy for SLB Printing. 

Dark Cover Stocks printed with White Ink and more!

We have a number of house stocks for the interiors that include uncoated, matte and gloss finishes.  But what really is unique is our ability to take a dark stock like a deep red, kraft or even black colored cover stock and print on it with white ink. Very few printing companies have this ability and it’s something that needs to be seen to be appreciated.  Come into the store and ask to see samples of our white ink printing and perfect binding booklets. 

Perfect Bound Digital Booklet Printing

SLB Printing provides the speed and look you need for your short run perfect bound booklet printing with our full line of digital, 4 color presses and our 4 color + white ink press.  Call the professionals at SLB Printing for your short run booklets as well as your bulk order long runs of 1,000 or more. Let us show you what great customer service combined with quality digital printing really look and feel like.

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