Softcover Books

Softcover books, also known as perfect bound, have pages that are folded, gathered, sewn or glued and put into a cover that forms a squared-off, paper spine. This type of binding is the preferred method for graphic novels, trade paperbacks, softcover children’s books, coloring books, catalogs, journals, and magazines.

How They’re Made

Traditional perfect binding takes printed, folded sheets that are assembled into their proper order. This type of binding requires that a book block be fed into a binding machine and about 0.125 inches be trimmed off the spine or back of the book.

The individual pages are then roughed up so the glue will have a stronger hold. This is sometimes referred to as adhesive binding. You might commonly see this book binding style in paperback novels, however it is also used in hardcover books. This method produces perfect bound books that don’t open flat.

A more sophisticated method of binding is to Smythe sew the pages together before they are glued into the cover. This provides a more durable book because the pages are both sewn and glued. This also means the books can open flatter.

With this process, the gathered book blocks are fed, one signature at a time, into a machine that sews them together. Each signature is sewn together through the spine with a sewing thread that passes continuously through the entire book. This method is used for both hard cover and soft cover books, and can produce a book that will lay flat. This method is common for books that are required to lay flat like reference or music books. It is very sturdy.

Design Considerations

It’s important to note that because the book block is glued into the cover, perfect bound books have 10 millimeters of area on their inside covers that will be glued to the first and last inside pages.

This means that all artwork on the inside covers, as well as the first and last inside page of the book, should be kept at least 10mm away from the spine.

Cover Design: Because perfect bound books have a spine width that varies based upon the number of pages and weight of paper used; every perfect bound cover has different size requirements. We will provide a cover template based on your book’s specifications.