Hardcover binding. Everything you need to know

Encuadernación en tapa dura para libros.

Hardcover binding is perhaps the binding method most prized by book lovers, as it gives any work a unique and magical look, unlike other types of binding.

If you are thinking about printing a book and you are considering hardback as an option, in this article we tell you the most important aspects about hardback binding, when it is convenient, when it is not, what kind of finishes can be used, among many other details that will undoubtedly be of great help.

What is the process of hardcover binding?

The hardcover binding method is known as box binding.

Printed sheets are folded to create groups of pages, known as signatures. These are sewn together with thread to create a book block.

This is glued to a flexible material that becomes the inside of the spine. Headbands and tailbands can be added for a more attractive look.

The next part of the process is to add the cover, which is made up of several elements. The endpapers are used to hold the pages in place, they can be plain or printed. They are glued to the book block and to the inside covers.

Essential components for hard cover binding

Hardcover binding is a longer and more complex binding process. It also has more components than other binding methods:

Hardcover binding is perhaps the binding method most prized by book lovers, as it gives any work a unique and magical look, unlike other types of binding.

If you are thinking about printing a book and you are considering hardback as an option, in this article we tell you the most important aspects about hardback binding, when it is convenient, when it is not, what kind of finishes can be used, among many other details that will undoubtedly be of great help.

What is the process of hardcover binding?

The hardcover binding method is known as box binding.

+  Types of binding for books

Printed sheets are folded to create groups of pages, known as signatures. These are sewn together with thread to create a book block.

This is glued to a flexible material that becomes the inside of the spine. Headbands and tailbands can be added for a more attractive look.

The next part of the process is to add the cover, which is made up of several elements. The endpapers are used to hold the pages in place, they can be plain or printed. They are glued to the book block and to the inside covers.

Essential components for hard cover binding

Hardcover binding is a longer and more complex binding process. It also has more components than other binding methods:

  • The cover. The cover is a key ingredient in giving paperbacks their durability. It consists of cardboard and a glossy or matt laminated printed text material.
  • End foil. This is a white paper that is glued to the inside cover of the book.
  • Flyleaf. The flyleaf is a blank page next to the end sheet. It is not glued to the cover.
  • Hinge. An area next to the spine that is folded when the book is opened. The hinge allows the book to open freely without damaging the spine.
  • Gutter. This is the space on the inside margins of the pages where the book is bound.

What types of hardcover binding are there?

If you are thinking of using hardcover binding for your book printing, you should know that there are different types of hardcover binding, here are some of them:

  • Cloth case with dust jacket
  • Hardback binding with laminated cover
  • Binding in hardback with paper cover
  • Binding in hardback with other cover type
  • Half cloth binding with hardcover
  • PVC cover
  • Flexible cover
  • Hardcover with no trim line
  • Hardcover with hidden thread

Advantages and disadvantages of hard cover binding

Hardbound books offer many advantages over other types of binding, but two stand out above all: quality and durability. Hardback books are built to last. Whether they sit on the shelf unread for a long time or receive constant use, they are made to stand the test of time.

Hardcover binding is also distinguished from other binding options by its ability to give books a unique look and feel. This is achieved by offering a wide variety of finishing options that are not available with other types of binding.

Types of finishes for hardcover binding

Hardcover binding with gold finish.

As we have mentioned, one of the advantages of hardback binding is that it offers the possibility of adding a series of additional finishes that will make your book look and feel different from other books.

+  Sewn binding. Everything you need to know (2021)

Additional finishing touches

Your hardcover book can be customised with a wide range of finishing techniques that will make your work totally unique. Some of the finishing techniques that work particularly well for hardcover books are

  • Customised leather
  • Marbling
  • Sheet embossing
  • Spotting
  • Rounded corners
  • Troquering

Overlays

Printed flap for hardcover binding.

Overcovers help protect the main cover from damage, marks or general wear and tear. The dust jacket can be an integral part of a book’s design and be included as part of the book’s production process.

Printed dust jackets are usually laminated with a matte, silk or glossy finish, but other options are available.

Dust jackets can incorporate spot varnishing to draw attention to specific areas of the cover, this technique is known as selective varnishing.

Case

Case for hardcover binding.

A case can be used to add extra protection, but is generally used for a much more aesthetically appealing look.

For what kind of books is hardback binding typically used?

This type of binding is especially used for books that will be kept for years to come, such as:

  • Yearbooks
  • Art books
  • Table books
  • Children’s books
  • Professional books, such as law books, medical texts, or engineering or architectural books

Hardback binding is also a good option for self-published books, as it confers an aura of credibility and a touch of distinction on the final product that will make it much more attractive to potential readers, as well as making it stand out from other books.

What other types of binding are there besides hardcover?

The modern printing industry offers a wide variety of printing and binding methods to suit different needs. As hardcover binding may not be affordable for everyone, here are some more economical but no less professional methods. The most popular are:

  • Saddle stitch binding. A very economical binding method, which pierces the wire through the outer spine of the book and passes it through the inner centre fold to hold the pages.
  • Perfect binding. This consists of gluing the pages of the book to a spine and then attaching a cover. It is called “perfect” because the pages and cover are cut to exactly the same size, allowing them to align perfectly during the binding process.
  • Spiral binding. To bind the pages, a plastic coil is inserted through the punched holes and the ends are crimped to prevent the plastic coil from slipping.
  • Wire-O. A formed wire is fed through the punched holes, allowing the books to lie flat when opened.
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These binding techniques work well with a wide range of print projects, from the smallest to the largest. They also tend to be less expensive than hardback. However, they cannot match the durability or sturdy feel of a classic hardcover book.

Frequently asked questions about hardcover binding

When is it recommended to choose hardback as a binding method?

Hardback binding is the best binding option if you want to:

  • A book that will last for a long time and stand up to wear and tear
  • Look good with a professional look
  • Have a large number of colour images that you want to stand out on the page
  • A customisable spine that can be viewed from a bookshelf
  • Have the option of laminated covers that give the book extra protection and a more professional look

When to choose another binding option

Hardback binding is not always the best option, it is worth considering another type of binding if:

  • The book is less than 30 pages
  • You have a limited budget
  • The content is frequently updated
  • You plan to dispose of the book when you no longer need it
  • The book should lay completely flat when you open it

Thanks to their hard covers, hardback books are more durable than paperbacks. Although they are a little more expensive to produce, they will stand the test of time and will look good on your bookshelf for years to come.

What is the minimum number of pages for hardcover binding?

To be able to carry out this type of binding, the minimum number of pages must be between 30 and 60 pages, depending on the thickness of the paper used for the inside pages.

What should the size of a book be in order to bind it in hardback?

Most books that are bound in hardback are usually A4 and A5 size, but nowadays, printers are working on custom format book binding, in case you want to bind a book that uses a format that is out of the ordinary.

Do you want to know about other types of binding other than hardback binding? Take a look at our binding types section, where we detail different types of binding used in the world of printing, so you can find the one that best suits your personal project.

We also have categories for print type, paper types, finishes and much more, so you can find lots of details to help you create a unique print job that stands out from the crowd.

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