Perfect Binding

Perfect binding is one of the most commonly used binding methods. It is used for many types of publications including magazines, catalogs, paperback books, and telephone directories. Pages for a perfect bound publication are gathered, stacked, and placed in special equipment where the binding edge is covered with glue. A cover is then attached to the book to complete the process. Perfect binding is most successful when the paper grain runs parallel with the spine of the book. Magazines and books may have the title and other information printed on the flat spine of the cover.

Perfect binding is one of the most automated of the binding methods, which makes it inexpensive and is a major reason for its popularity. It can be divided into three main categories: hot adhesive, cold adhesive, and thermal binding.

Hot Adhesive Perfect BindingHot glue is the most widely used of the perfect binding adhesives. Books are usually 1/4″ up to 2 1/4″ thick depending on the thickness of the substrate. A major disadvantage with hot adhesive is that the book cannot lie flat when it is open. The binding will break if too much pressure is applied in attempting to make the book lie flat when it is open.

Cold Adhesive Perfect Binding

Cold glue is not used as often as hot glue because it is more expensive and requires more time to cure than hot glue, but it is stronger and more flexible. When the cold adhesive is used in conjunction with a scored and hinged cover, the book is able to lie flat when it is open without cracking the binding. Books with perfect bindings made with cold adhesive range in thickness from 1/8″ to 2 1/4″.

Thermal Binding

Thermal binding is similar to the hot adhesive method of perfect binding in that adhesive and heat are used to form the binding, but instead of hot glue, an adhesive strip is used. Pages are fed into a machine where an adhesive strip attached to a wrap around cover is applied to the binding edge of the pages. Heat is applied so that the adhesive strip and cover are adhered to the pages.

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