Book Binding 101 for Conference Materials and Educational Publications
Lesson number one: Saddle stitch has nothing to do with horses or needlework. If you were surprised, please continue.
Whether you’re designing a conference program or syllabus for your next meeting or even a new training manual, there are many different bindings you can choose from. Selecting the best one starts with knowing what they are and when they work best.
Looks like: Remember the silver coil notebooks we bought as kids at the beginning of each school year? That’s plastic coil binding… Except the only difference is instead of the metal coil, the coils are now plastic.
Why we love it: It lays flat making it perfect for those seminars and training sessions. It allows the user to flip the book in half for easy note taking. They also ship well as the plastic coil is more forgiving than the metal coil. Additionally, plastic coil comes in a variety of colors and has the option to accommodate tabs and dividers.
When to use it: When note taking is key or the book must lay flat on the table. Also, if your room configuration does not have tables, or has theater-style seats with the pull-up half desks. It’s great for those cool conference learning journals that combine the program and pages for note taking.
Looks like: Perfect bound books are the soft-cover books from our college days, or the ones we find at our favorite bookstore.
Why we love it: They have the professional look for an affordable price. With the text on the spine, they are easy to find amongst all the other books on a bookcase. Like plastic coil, perfect binding also allows the option for tabs and dividers.
When to use it: Best for proceedings, reference manuals, and educational publications.
Looks like: Saddle stitch resembles a magazine with two center staples on the spine.
Why we love it: It’s great for lower page counts under 88 pages, and it also lays flat.
When to use it: Conference programs, journals, conference marketing brochures, or other titles that have a limited number of pages. If you desire text for publication on the spine, this isn’t for you.
Looks like: The hardcover textbooks we lugged around in college.
Why we love it: Very professional in appearance which normally lends itself to higher retail pricing. It’s ideal for high page counts.
When to use it: Textbooks, manuals.
Other Binding Types (we don’t favor):
Tape Binding: It’s a lower quality version of perfect binding with a high risk for pages falling out.
Plastic Comb Binding: This is the lower end version of plastic coil spiral binding. Maybe it’s perfect for a college paper, but when it comes to your educational and conference books… It’s “cheap.”
Which binding have you found works the best?