You can do this type of mechanical binding yourself — if you buy the machine. They can be found lurking in forgotten corners of many offices. Holes get punched in the spine edge of the book block (in the office you’d no doubt be starting with a stack of loose sheets; in a bindery the spine fold will have to be cut off), and then the machine opens up the comb and fits it through the holes, allowing it to snap back and make a book.

1. The machine opens the comb

2. The comb ends go through the holes

3. The rings close

4. The finished product











Obviously, if you need an edition running into the thousands, or even hundreds, and it has to lie flat while readers consult it with hands full of the stuff they’re studying, you will want to go to one of the (relatively) few book manufacturers who offer this type of binding. For an additional cost you can get the book title etc. silk-screened on the outside of the comb, so it can be picked out on the shelf.

The pictures are from Wikipedia.

For other styles of binding search “binding styles”.