The bindery is where printed products are trimmed, folded, collated and bound. Because of equipment and production sequence, bindery departments may also die cut, emboss, foil stamp and perform other finishing operations.


1. Four page fold — Simplest type of fold, folding either on the (A) long or (B) short dimension. Used for bill stuffers, instruction sheets, price lists, etc.

2. Six-page fold Made with two parallel folds, either (A) letterfold or (B) accordion. Used for letters, circulars, envelope stuffers, promotional folders, etc.

3. Eight-page fold Illustrated in three ways. (A) one parallel and one right angle fold, also called french fold when printing is on one side of the paper, (B) two parallel folds and (C) three parallel accordion folds, for ease in opening. Also, (A) and (B) can be bound into an 8-page booklet, (C) cannot.

4. Twelve page fold Illustrated in two ways, both with one parallel fold and two right angle folds, either (A) regular or (B) accordion.

5. Sixteen page fold — Shown using three parallel folds. Also, can be bound into a 16-page booklet.


Once folded, the next step is to gather or collate the signatures in a predetermined order. Loose sheets can also be collated for multipart forms and coil bound books. The collating order should be checked to be sure of the correct sequence. Collating can be done by hand or machine, depending on the size and complexity of the order.


After the signatures are collated, they can be stitched together. There are several methods of stitching: saddlestitch and side-stitch are two methods. The thickness or bulk of paper determines the style used.

In saddlestitching, the booklet is placed on a saddle beneath a mechanical stitching head, and staples are forced through the backbone or spine of the booklet. This type of binding is the simplest and most inexpensive. Booklets will lie flat and stay open for ease in reading. Most booklets, programs and catalogues are saddlestitched, as well as many magazines. Recommended for booklets under 100 pages.

Side-stitching is used when the bulk is too great for saddle-stitching. The sections are collated, and then placed flat under a stitching head. Since the stitches are inserted about 1/4” from the back edge, the inside margin must be wider than in a saddlestitched booklet. Side-stitched books cannot be completely opened flat. Recommended for books over 100 pages.

Perfect Binding

This type of binding is used to eliminate the expense of sewing and case- binding books. It is a variation of side-stitching and is widely used on paperback books. However, instead of being sewn or stitched, the pages are held together by a flexible adhesive. After the signatures are collated, the backs are ground off, leaving a rough surface. The adhesive is applied, a special lining is put over the backbone, and the cover is glued into place. The adhesive keeps its strength and resiliency for a long period of time. Pocket novels are perfect bound.

Hardcover Binding

The conventional method, which has been in use for many years, starts with the folding of printed sheets into 16 or 32 page signatures. Four-page endleaves are pasted on the outside of the first and last signatures. The signatures are then collated by machine and sewn together by special sewing machines designed for this purpose.

After they are sewn, the books are trimmed top, front and bottom, and the sewn edges are coated with glue. Each book is passed through a rounding machine which rolls the backbone. The rounded back is characteristic of this type of binding, and gives the book the correct shape to allow the cover to open and close properly. Next, a strip of gauze (super) is glued to the backbone so that the cloth extends outward from both sides of the backbone

At the same time the books are being bound, the cloth covers (cases) are prepared on a case-making machine. Most covers are printed or stamped with some design and the title of the book. The printing is done on a heavy- duty platen press using special dies and metallic foils. This is called hot foil die stamping. When the cover is finished, the book is automatically put into its case on a casing-in machine which applies paste to the endleaves and fits the cover into place.

Coil Binding

Coil binding is used for notebooks and other types of books which must open flat. The sheets are punched with a series of round or slotted holes on the binding edge. Then wire, plastic coils or rings are inserted through the holes. Looseleaf notebooks are a form of mechanical binding with rings which open to allow removal or addition of pages. In designing a book for mechanical binding, allowance must be made in the gutter (inner margin) of the book for the punched holes.

Other Bindery Services

Priority Printing's complete bindery department can perform most any function required to complete your job. Some of these functions include:

  • Wire-O
  • Hole Punching
  • Plasticoil
  • Cerlox
  • Perforating
  • Eyeletting
  • Scoring
  • Laminating
  • Folding
  • Shrink Wrapping
  • Stitching
  • Round Cornering
  • Cutting
  • Padding
  • and more!

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