What is a Perfect Bound Book?
Perfect binding is single sheets (text weight) paper printed on both sides and collated in page number order. The soft cover (cardstock) is placed over and around the pages and attached by the application of a strong yet flexible PUR glue along the binding edge, creating a square, printed spine. The other three sides of the book are trimmed down to the desired finished size.
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Sheets vs. Pages
Understanding the differences between the term “sheet” and “page” is key to correctly assessing your booklet’s final page count, which can in turn affect your quote, production time and more.
First, let’s start with a single sheet of paper. It has 2 sides - a front side and a back side. In the printing world, you can print multiple pages on each sheet of paper depending on the binding process. In perfect binding, one sheet of paper equals two pages. If you are holding up a sheet of paper in front of you, you are looking at page 1. Flip the page over and you are now looking at page 2.
For example, pick up a book and as you turn its pages, notice that each “page” has two sides (the front and back of one sheet of paper). Your printer will refer to each side as its own page. So, each sheet within your book will be counted as two pages.
How Many Pages Are in a Perfect Bound Book?
We recommend having at least 28 pages. The number of pages is unlimited up to 2” thick. And remember - because of the binding process, final page counts must be in multiples of 2! This process means that a booklet must have a higher number of pages in order for the process to be effective. Otherwise, there won’t be enough space for the glue to securely attach the pages to the spine.
To create a perfect bound book, the printer must stack all of the interior pages together and apply an adhesive glue to the binding edge. The cover (front, spine, back) is then placed over and around the stack of inside pages where the glue was applied. The other 3 open edges of the book are then trimmed down for clean and crisp edges.
How Do I Determine the Width of the Spine?
It is important to set up your cover files correctly because the width of the spine needs to match exactly with the width of the book, which depends on how many pages the booklet has and even the paper weight you choose.
As soon as you have a final page count, call us and we will help you choose your paper and calculate the spine’s width. Once you know this, you can begin your booklet’s cover design, which will need to be laid out as one image on a single sheet.
How to Count Pages in a Perfect Bound Book
Once you understand the difference between sheets and pages, you can easily give your printer the correct page count when submitting your perfect bound book project.
If you take a closed book so that you are looking at its cover - that’s page 1. Open the cover and you are looking at page 2 (left) and page 3 (right). Keep going until you close the book and are looking at the back cover - that will count as your last page. Simply put - make sure to count every page, including the cover, the back cover and any blank pages on the inside.