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What are the Different Types of Binding Covers?

Stacks of books with hardcover case bindings.
Comb binding is is a relatively common binding practice.
A cookbook with a coil binding.
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  • Written By: Hillary Flynn
  • Edited By: Lindsay D.
  • Last Modified Date: 12 October 2014
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Gone are the days of printing on scrolls made from the pith of the papyrus plant, parchment made of animal skin, and palm leaves serving as the binding material for ancient religious texts. Modern times have brought modern materials, resulting in a myriad of bookbinding options.

The first consideration when selecting a book cover is the size and purpose of the book. Options range from inexpensive do-it-yourself systems for business or school projects, to professional hardbound options for the author publishing a book for public sale. Binding covers generally fall under two categories:

1. Personal: suitable for non-published works under 100 pages, such as home projects, student reports, and business documents. These include:

All the covers above are available in different weights, quality, and sizes. Binding choices include plastic combs, wire coil, and a non-spiral VeloBind spine that resembles the teeth of a comb and allows for neat stacking, but does not allow the book to lay open and flat. Inexpensive machines can be purchased to self-bind, or they can be prepared by almost any copy or print shop.

Alternatively, another inexpensive method is to fold the pages and wrap with a heavy paper stock cover that can then be positioned on a saddle stapler. This is easy and cheap, but it's more difficult to add pages later, whereas the plastic combs, wire coil, and VeloBind combs can be easily removed and replaced with a larger version that accepts more pages.

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2. Professional: suitable for published works to be purchased in a public market.

Once bound, a jacket can be printed and wrapped around the book, or alternatively, a cloth bound cover can be stamped on the spine and cover and used without a jacket.

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