Archives for the month of: January, 2012

For those who demand a spine on tiny booklets, there are some binderies who can give you a square-backed saddle-wire book. The example shown, my cheque book register, is slightly odd. Why on earth would the bank want me to have a square-back register to list my payments in? I guess the printer just has the equipment and uses it willy nilly. The only difference from a regular saddle-wired book is the double crease applied to the cover, to mimic a spine, before the booklet is assembled and goes into the binder. The real point of having a spine on such a booklet would be so that you can print the title on the spine, even though the wires will block out some of it. Who can read a title small enough to fit on such a spine is a question best addressed to the marketing folks who tend to demand this sort of thing.


As you can see this is basically the same as saddle-wire, except that the pages are sewn together, not “stapled”. This binding style is rarely used nowadays, but used to be what we did to little booklets before wire stapling equipment was widespread in book binderies. You probably shouldn’t really do more than 64 or maybe 96 pages this way (or as saddle-wired). You shouldn’t really want to, as it’ll look like it doesn’t want to shut. However old magazines done this way can often be found — the AB Bookman’s Weekly illustrated below has 200 pages — it’s a self-covered saddle-wire binding. [For those who delight in following up abstruse references, this issue of AB Bookman’s Weekly contains a group of articles about Cambridge University Press, including one by me on printing at CUP. This is the issue for December 24-31, 1984 and concludes on page 4712, the back cover. These people did some writing — though most of the publication is actually listings of books wanted. This was how things were done before we had the internet.]

I’ve been wrestling with the idea of a post about binding — but it’s just too huge a topic, so I’ve decided that I’ll do separate posts about the various types of binding a book can get.

It really doesn’t get any simpler than saddle-wire, unless you insist that I should include loose-leaf. The saddle refers to the inverted V-shaped bar over which an opened signature (+ cover, if it’s not self-covered saddle-wire — i.e. uses the outer two leaves of the sig as a cover) is placed while the wire (just staples really) is pushed through the pages at the spine.  The machine is in effect a glorified desk stapler.