Wire stitching is divided into two categories: saddle wire and side wire stitching.
Saddle stitched books are constructed with sheets that are printed front and back that represent four pages of a book. The sheets of four pages are stacked with other sheets in the correct page order and then stapled along the fold line or saddle. The stapling is accomplished on equipment that cuts staples from a continuous roll of wire mounted on the machine and inserts them into the paper. Some machines can do the folding and stitching in one operation. Many booklet manufacturers use this multiple task equipment to increase efficiency.
Common Cover Types
Two of the most popular types of covers used
for saddle stitched booklets are the standard cover and the self cover.
Saddle stitched binding can work for volumes up to 128 pages (32 sheets, printed with 2 pages front and back) if the paper stock is thin enough, but it just isn’t practical for anything larger. The larger the quantity of sheets that are saddle stitched, the greater the problem with a phenomenon called page “creep”. Creep refers to the inner sheets sticking out further than those closer to the outside, because of the paper thickness. When the edges are trimmed flush after stitching, the width of the innermost sheet will be the shortest in the book, with each successive sheet being wider than the next one, working from the inside of the book to the outside. The printed area of each page will appear to get further from the outside margin, as you go from the inside of the book to the outside. To compensate for this, the pages are “shingled”, which means that the inner margin, or “gutter”, is increased on the pages working from the inside of the book to the outside. The gutter gets successively wider page-by-page. The outside page has the widest gutter and the inside page has the narrowest gutter. Increasing the gutter moves the printed area closer to the outside margin. When the pages of the book are trimmed flush, the printed copy appears to cover the same portion of each page. This procedure is not normally performed on booklets with only a few pages because the effects of creep are minimal on publications with few pages.
With side wire stitching, staples are inserted into the pages in the inner margin. The staples are inserted from the front side of the book through the pages to the back. Side wire binding can be used when the book is too thick to be saddle stitched. Side wire binding does not allow the book to be opened flat and an extra allowance for the inner margin must be made to allow for the staples. Covers for these books are usually scored so that they can be opened easily and neatly. The binding area can also be covered with decorative tape not only to hide the staples, but to also provide added strength to the binding and make the book easier to handle (staples will not catch on other books).