What Is Textbook Binding?

Book binding has its origins in the second century A.D. The first widely used bindings for books was called Coptic binding after the Coptic Christians of Egypt who first developed it. Coptic binding was similar to today's sewn hardcover bindings. Since then many variations and forms of binding have been used on all different types of books. Textbooks, like all other books, come in practically every type of binding, but a few types of binding encompass the majority of binding variations. There is no difference between textbook binding and regular book binding other than that it is on a textbook. Bindings are essentially the reinforcement to the spine of the book--the point where the pages are glued together--that make a book stay together over time and use.

Hardcover Binding

Hardcover binding is the oldest type of binding and is traced back to the days of Coptic binding. Hardcover binding is self-explanatory to some degree as it is what it sounds like. It is a hard cover over the paper in the book and is usually covered by paper, cloth or some other material. Hardcovers are often used with sewn binding and wire stitching binding. Sewn binding is made by sewing the spine of the book to reinforce it. Sewn binding hardcovers are very sturdy and last a long time. The wire stitching used with hardcovers is called side stitching and is most commonly used on thin books.

Softcover Bindings

Perfect binding is the most popular binding used on softcover books, such as paperback romance or spy novels. It is economical and does not require the same resources to produce as other methods such as sewn binding. Sewn binding is also used on softcover books but is more costly and specialized than perfect binding, which is known as adhesive or unsewn binding for its simplicity. There is also saddle-stitch binding for very thin softcover books like comic books or magazines. In this binding method, a book is stapled together at the fold in the material or paper.

Punch-and-Bind Bindings

Punch-and-bind is a method used with plastic comb binding, wire-O binding and Velobinding. These types of bindings are used on office documents, class syllabus lists and other such documents. Plastic comb binding and wire-O binding are made by punching holes in the paper and using toothed plastic or wire spines. Velobinding is made by punching holes in the paper and using a two-part binding that is pressed together. Velobinding does not disassemble for easy editing as do its two counterparts.

Spiral Bindings

Spiral binding is also a punch-and-bind method, but unlike its punch-and-bind cousins, it uses not a toothed spine but rather a solid spiral spine that is woven through the holes in the paper. It is a popular choice for making notebooks.

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