How Hardback Book Binding Functions

The majority of us own a couple of “hardbound” or hardback books. If we analyze them we can see that there are numerous parts that enter into the making of each book on our racks. Some might appear a bit less tough than others, and this might be because of the method where they are produced.

The Case Method

Usually there is a single standard method to putting a hardback book together. Most modern-day printers and binders use the “case” method which needs to always start with the printing of the pages in the book. This is done on a commercial press according to the needs of the book. Some books use big pages of shiny pricey paper, others might use light-weight and intense white paper that is far cheaper. The option in paper relies on the kind of book being made. A “coffee table” book loaded with art prints and images will use a very high quality and thicker paper. An easy “the best ways to” handbook will most likely use the least costly paper possible.


When the pages have been produced by the publishing house they are dispatched to a printer that needs to print them in areas called “signatures”. Signatures in a hardback book will be divided similarly by the overall page count, and their number depends upon the weight of the paper and the binding design to be used.


When producing a case bound book the printer or binder will either stitch or glue the signatures together with a versatile glue and column tape. The decision to stitch or glue originates from the density of the book. For instance, most modern-day hardback kids’ books are built without using sewing because the glue and case are strong enough to meet the needs of many readings.

End Sheets

Larger or thicker hardback books will always require sewing of the signatures since the large weight of the pages would break or split a basic glue and fabric tape mix. When each group of signatures has been pushed and stitched, the bindery then flattens the  column and uses what are referred to as “end sheets”. End sheets will act as the within lining on the case of the book as well as the very first (and always blank) page. The  column is then taped and glued once again at which time the hardback or case is used. While the glue is still flexible the book is placed into a unique press which squeezes the  column and develops the unique grooves that line each side of every book’s  column. These are not merely ornamental functions, but permit the cover to be opened and closed without triggering tension to the  column and signatures.

Today there are a variety of designs for hardback covers, or cases. Many printers permit a customer to select a shiny cover that has complete color art printed on an unique wrapping. There are also options for the printing of dust coats too. Hardback books are among the most popular options in “self-publishing” and many printers make “brief runs” or tasks of less than one thousand copies offered to the general public.

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