On Line Bindery: Case Binding 101


These are the common guidelines that should be followed for case binding projects. Following the info below eliminates about 95% of the possible problems that can cause your project to be less than satisfactory.


The paper grain direction should be parallel to the spine of the book. There may be circumstances where exceptions can be made but please inquire before proceeding with any production, a test may need to be performed before we can determine compatibility.


Do not trim materials to final size. Leave at least 1/8” trim on all 4 sides for PUR bound book blocks. Supplied folded sigs should have at least 1/8” trim on 3 sides.


Do not use perforations on the spine fold for Smyth sewn signatures. There should be a perf at the head.


Larger quantity Smyth sewn signatures will be sewn with an automatic feed, please have ¼” + lip on 1 side. For smaller quantities (less than 100 books) we can sew with a semi-automatic machine that doesn’t require a lip. Please inquire if you have questions on this.


Smyth sewing is the preferred way to bind a durable book that will lay fairly flat when opened. We Smyth sew in 12-page or preferably 16-page signatures. For digitally printed jobs we can work with 4 page spreads but these will need to made into 16 page signatures by folding and nesting the four 4-pagers. The pagination can be confusing to someone new to this, please reach out to us if you are not 100% sure of this process.


If we are folding digitally printed spreads, do not pre-collate.


Printed cover sheets will need ¾” bleed on all 4 sides. Any crop marks should be moved to outside of the bleeds.


Printed cover sheets should be printed on 100# book and should be film laminated. For optimal film adhesion we recommend not using an aqueous coating. Leave at least ½” of trim on all 4 sides of the sheet in addition to the 3/4” bleed. We use a film laminate that is specifically made for the casebinding process. If you are supplying printed cover sheets that are already film laminated please make sure you have used a casebinding compatible film.


Endsheets should be 100# uncoated book or 65# uncoated cover, grain direction must be parallel to the spine. If endsheets require printing please contact us for layout instructions.


Stamping die artwork needs to be supplied in a PDF file in solid black without crop marks. Please provide a separate file with marks for placement.


Solid digital printing on the first and last page of the text will need a 1/8” strip knocked out on the spine edge for endsheet tipping.


The minimum thickness for a PUR bound book block is 1/8”. Maximum thickness for PUR bound book block is 2”.


For oversewn binding the maximum thickness is 6” and there is no minimum.


Please provide sufficient overs. The amount will vary depending on the type of binding processes being performed and order quantity. Please inquire how many overs for your particular job.


(510) 234-7707