Printing and Production

Methods of Print Production

Digital Printing
Digital print production enables many people to print their books in short-run, cost-effective quantities. Depending on the pagination required, this method of production is often a cost-effective option for print runs between 10 and 500 copies.

Offset Printing
The more traditional method of offset printing is suited to larger production runs of both quantity and longer pagination. In some instances, where very high reproduction of images is required, offset printing is the preferred method.

Offshore Production
Book production in Asia has long offered a more cost-effective alternative, particularly when producing hard cover publications such as coffee table or children’s books.

A single leaf equates to 2 pages, and with the exception of some instances of digital printing, all books are produced in multiples of 4-page sections.

shakespeare for web

Why 4 page sections?

Well, simply put each of the binding processes outlined below requires the sheets of paper to be folded in half, with each fold of the sheet producing four pages. So, the first fold will produce 4 pages, the second 8 pages, the third fold 16 pages and so on.

Beyond this basic tenet of book-binding, your choice of binding process will be influenced largely by the same considerations as the choice of format – presentation of the subject matter to your prospective readers and the utility of the finished product.

Generally speaking, the most widely used binding methods are:

Soft Cover Books – Perfect Bound
Perfect bound is a book binding type for soft cover books, or paperback books. Signatures may be notched, burst bound or PUR bound. Publishing Productions will offer suggestions if you do not know which is right for your book. Much depends on the page count and purpose of the book. For instance, a reference book gets a lot more wear and tear and would require either notch binding or PUR binding.

Saddle stitched (or ‘saddle-stapled’) is a term used for simply stapling along the spine. This is suitable for low page count books or catalogues. If you have booklets to print, this is a good way to go. As a general rule paginations up to 96pp can be saddle-stapled. For books containing more pages than this, perfect binding is generally preferred. An additional benefit of perfect binding is the ability to include a title on a spine.

Hard Cover Books – Case-Bound
Case-bound is a book binding type used for hardcover books. The cover wrap can be printed on paper, cloth, leather, or leather look. Case-bound books which use material for the cover wrap usually also have a dust jacket. A dust jacket is optional when the cover wrap is printed paper. Text pages are ‘section sewn’ with cotton, with end papers glued to both the text and book case.

Paper Stocks

Text Papers
All paper stocks are produced in gsm – grams/square metre. In general, stock used to make up the body of a publication may vary between 70gsm up to 170gsm, the most common being between 80gsm to 130gsm. In addition to the weight of the text stock there is the choice between matt, gloss and offset finishes.

Cover Stocks
As with the text stocks, cover stocks are available in varying gsm (250gsm – 400gsm) as well as matt, gloss and offset finishes. It is the job of the cover stock to ‘hold the publication together’ and therefore the weight of the cover is generally chosen to best suit the pagination and binding style required.

Book Formats

If you are producing a novel or memoir, some of the most important considerations are that the title be portable as well as being easily to handle and store. Generally these titles will have black and white type, with little need to carry illustrations or pictures. Some of the most common formats utilised in the ‘read for pleasure’ market are as follows:

181 x 111 mm – A format
203 x 127mm- Standard Paperback size
98 x 129 mm – B format
210 x148 mm – A5 format
234 x 153 mm – C format
229 x 152 mm
235 x 191 mm
250 x 176 mm – B5 format
210 x 297 mm – A4

Cookbooks and Children’s Books
The main emphasis for these titles is presenting large areas of illustrations or photos accompanied by blocks of text. Page sizes are generally larger and often square or landscape in dimension. Formats used for these products are similar to reference books, though with additional area give to overall width:

297mm x 225mm
275mm x 225mm
254mm x 203mm
250mm x 250mm
240mm x 240mm
230mm x 215mm

Coffee Table and Art Books
The largest production formats are usually utilised in the printing of art books or coffee-table books where the emphasis is in showcasing reproduced art or landscape photography. For these productions there is still some adherence to the A4 and B5 formats as a size, though generally speaking it is in the width of the book that we see this sizing

297mm x 250mm
280mm x 250mm
350mm x 290mm
350mm x 255mm
297mm x 210mm

Reference Books
Requiring large amounts of text and illustrations, reference books tend to use a slightly larger format, though still with some emphasis on meeting earlier criteria – i.e. that the book be portable, storable and easily to handle.

Common formats for this market include:

280mm x 220mm - 250mm x 190mm - 275mm x 220mm

More from Our Portfolio