Book Printing Information 101 – Part 2

Being a self-published writer or starting out as a book designer may require you to learn important book printing information. Aside from learning and appropriating essential jargon and concepts used in the trade, choosing the method of printing type is also crucial. The letterpress, offset, or digital printing methods can have their own advantages and disadvantages depending on a printer or designer’s needs. In addition to knowing about standard terms and printing types, there is also more information needed to be acquired for book printing such as concerning margins, book content, and binding.

Essential Pages and Bonus Content

Many standard pages are required in books and other printed materials. Aside from the chapters, the table of contents, and acknowledgments, other technical parts are standard in book printing. Appearing on the front or back of the book the “colophon” is used for special edition printing and contains a brief description of the print, production notes, and publication information. Important information about the book, such as the title, author, and publisher, is printed as well in the “spine” or the outside edge of the book or its outer cover. “Folios” refer to the layout design and standard information used in multiple pages of the books like the header and the footer of inside pages. In some cases, printers also use “end sheets,” which are a heavier or thicker kind of paper found at the front and end cover of the book. These end sheets are essential in holding the book securely to its cover.

Learning about Cuts and Margins

In addition to the contents of the book, the cuts and margins are another significant consideration when it comes to book printing. This aspect of book design also has its own essential terms to remember. First among these is “bleed,” which is the added space outside the set image or text to be printed. This is to account for when the actual paper size is cut from the larger sheets. Another formatting term in connection to cuts and margins is the “trim” or the designated edge of a page when it has already been prepared for printing. The area of pages well away from the trimmed parts of the paper is called the “safe zone” where the content will not be affected by cuts. Lastly, the “gutter” is used to refer to the space left in between columns of texts.

The Final Step – Binding

After printing the pages of the book, the final step in book printing is binding. There are several types of binding to choose from. Deciding on the type of binding to be used in a book is affected by price, the number of pages, or even aesthetics. Saddle-stitched binding, the cheapest kind of binding, is limited to books which a maximum of 80 pages. In this binding process, thread or wire is punched through the pages up to the spin of the book. Perfect-bound books, which typically have 16 to 200 pages, are held together by a layer of glue put on the covers and the book’s signature pages. This method is a little more pricey than saddle stitching. Sewn bound books are held together by thick threads sewn at the spine. This works for up to an unlimited amount of pages and can be quite pricey. Lastly, hardbound books, which are commonly more pricey, are case bound. In this process, the inner pages of the book are sewed off into sections and glued together. The cover of the book is also glued to its pages.