Binding a book - All types of binding explained simply

You've finished writing your book, taken care of the cover and typesetting, and now you can't wait to hold it in your hands between two covers? Then the only question is which method you want to use to bind it.

Definition: What does it mean to bind a book?

When you have finished writing your book and it is ready for printing and Publication it is bound. Binding a book means that the pages are arranged, joined together and given a cover, depending on the type of binding. Until the 19th century, the binding of books was manual work, today it is a machine process in the Production of a book.

What are the different types of book binding?

Whether simple, flat openable or durable: Which book binding you choose depends, among other things, on what you need the bound pages for. Notebooks with a small number of pages can be stapled and ring binding is suitable for work materials. The thread stitching is particularly high-quality and durable, and the adhesive binding is the most widespread on the book market.

What is stapling?

Stapling, also known as saddle stitching or wire saddle stitching, is one of the simplest ways to bind a book. All that is needed is a few wire staples to staple the interleaved and folded sheets of paper together at the folds. However, this type of binding is only suitable for books with a small number of pages, because otherwise the staples will no longer hold together. On the other hand, this variant is possible for eight pages or more. However, make sure that the number of pages is divisible by four, otherwise you will have to fill in with blank pages. Staple binding is durable, can be opened flat in contrast to adhesive binding and thus the print is visible far into the binding. However, stapling creates a spine increase, so the side where the staples are attached is slightly thicker, making them harder to stack. A variation is ring eyelet stitching. The curved eyelets allow you to file the notebook in ring binders without having to hole punch it. With the staple binding you can have brochures such as a sample of your novel or magazines bound.

What is ring binding?

Ring binding or spiral binding works in a similar way to stapling. However, the individual sheets are not folded but stacked on top of each other. They are then punched and held together by the wire rings or a spiral. Sufficient margins are necessary so that the ring holes do not cut off the text. Depending on the ring size, there is also a limited number of pages. Ring binding is sturdy and durable, suitable for everyday use, and can be stacked if the ring side is alternated. Because prints stitched with ring binding can be flattened and even folded completely back, it is suitable for work materials, final papers, and training materials.

What is thread sewing?

A particularly high-quality and stable type of binding is thread stitching. It is the classic among the binding types. The folded sheets are sewn together from the spine to form individual booklets. Usually four sheets of paper, i.e. 16 consecutive book pages, are sewn together and the individual booklets are stacked and knotted to form a book block. Ideally, the number of pages should be divisible by 16, otherwise missing pages must be filled with blank pages. The knotted book block is covered with a cover using glue. Thread stitching is considered the most durable and best quality type of binding, but is rarely offered. Although production is now automated, it is still laborious and costly for larger page counts. Unlike perfect bound books, a work with thread stitching can be opened flat. This binding is best suited for hardcovers such as illustrated books, Cookbooks or Children's booksbut also for works of fiction.

What is perfect binding?

The most common method of binding books is perfect binding. Whether photo book, novel or Non-fiction and reference book, the high-quality and at the same time cost-effective process can be applied to any work. Perfect binding is ideal for titles with a high number of pages and the copies can be stacked without any problems. With this type of binding, the sheets are folded behind each other and not inside each other. The spine of the book block is milled to ensure that the glue holds well. However, the life span is not as long as with staple or thread binding, and the impact behavior suffers from the process. Because perfect bound books cannot be opened flat, the print should not go far into the binding. In the meantime, it is possible in modern book and binding lines to produce several thousand copies per hour in perfect binding.

There are different processes within adhesive binding. For example, hot melt is a cheap hot melt adhesive that dries quickly. Moisture, cold and heat influence the durability. Alternatively, there is PUR adhesive binding. Polyurethane adhesive is more stable, but it takes longer to dry. Once cured, titles are similarly sturdy to thread stitching and the binding does not break when opened or bent. There is also the cold gluing technique using dispersion glue. While the glue dries, chemical processes are set in motion that bond the paper and spine together for the long term.

Which binding suits my book?

The type of binding that suits your book depends, among other things, on how many pages your work has and whether you want it to lay flat or stackable.

 StaplingRing bindingThread stitchingPerfect binding
Page countLow number of pagesLimited number of pagesHigh number of pagesHigh number of pages
Impact behaviourFlat impactableCan be opened flat and even folded overFlat impactableCannot be laid flat
StackabilityNot stackableAlternately stackable on top of each otherstackablestackable
UseReading samples and magazinesWorking materials, training documentsHardcover like picture books, cookbooks or children's booksnovels, non-fiction and reference books, photo books


Before books were bound industrially, bookbinding had a long tradition of craftsmanship. You have enough paper, cardboard and glue at home? Then why not try binding a notebook yourself? But how does it work and what questions should you ask yourself first?

Binding a book yourself: What do I have to pay attention to?

Do you want to use your self-bound book as a notebook to keep your Book Ideas make sure to use light paper with little pattern. It should also not be too thin and it is best to try out beforehand whether the writing on the back shows through. Depending on whether you are binding a booklet or a book with a larger number of pages, you can decide which type of binding is best. Do you want to be able to add more pages to the book when it is full? Then thread binding is suitable, for example, where you can knot additional booklets to the notebook.

Binding a book yourself: Staple Binding

If you only want to bind a few pages, staple binding is a quick and easy solution. For this you need several sheets of paper, where one sheet makes four book pages, a cover sheet and a stapler. Fold each sheet in half and place the sheets inside each other. The cover paper is on the outside. Then unfold the sheets so that the folded edge is at the top and staple them together.

Binding a book yourself: Perfect Binding

You can make thicker books with perfect binding, but it's a little trickier. In addition to paper and cardboard or wooden boards for the cover, you will also need adhesive tape or bookbinding glue and gauze, a mesh-like fabric for gluing. Fold the sheets in half and place them on top of each other with the fold. Tape over the overlapping fold. If you are using glue, apply it to the edges of the fold and press the gauze to it. Now your book block is ready and after the glue has dried for a few hours, you can glue the cover made of cardboard, paper or wooden boards to it. Attention: The spine of the book will not be glued.

Binding a book yourself: Thread Binding

With thread binding, the book is sewn together in individual booklets. This type of binding is a little more difficult. In addition to the paper, you will also need a needle and thread. Fold the sheets and mark four evenly spaced stitch holes along the folded edge. First sew the thread from the outside inwards through the top hole of one or more sheets. Then stitch out through the next hole and keep on stitching until you reach the bottom. Do the same in the other direction. At the end, pass the thread under the sewn thread and back out through the first hole. Then you can take the next leaf and stitch from the outside into the first hole and back at the second hole. Now it's time to join the two: To do this, poke the thread through the sewn thread at the bottom of the stitched hole on the left of the stitched hole lying flat, and push it back through to the top on the right of the hole. Then push it back in through the second hole. Repeat the same procedure for the third hole. When you reach the bottom, add the next paper and continue in the same way as with the second sheet. When you have sewn all the sheets together, the thread is sewn twice and cut off. A tutorial is available from Victörtchen on YouTube.

have a book bound

Especially if you are planning to produce several copies or if your book to be publishedYou can get help from a printer or a self-publishing company. When your book is finished, the cover created and the book's typesetting you can pass the print file on to the respective service provider. Pay attention to the required format, the minimum number of pages and the print quality.

Print shop

You want to be able to finally put the book you've been working on for months, maybe years, on your shelf or give it to friends and family as a gift? If you have written for your own bookshelf, you can have your work printed at a print shop in any quantity. Don't forget to take care of the design in advance.

Self-publishing service provider

If you want to publish and sell your title, a self-publishing provider might be the right choice. Depending on the service provider, you can receive support with cover design and book typesetting, get personal advice and get professionals on your side to take care of editing or cover design. You can also get an ISBN, so that you can be found in bookshops, or different Marketing measures are available to you, depending on the self-publishing service provider. They also work together with printers who bind your book. You only need to decide on the format and layout, your service provider will take care of the printing for you. You also don't have to worry about a print run. With the print-on-demand process only as many copies as you actually need will be printed.


How much effort it takes to bind a book yourself depends on the type of binding you choose. You can easily create a self-bound notebook with staple binding or you can try out thread stitching? If you want to bind several copies and even sell them, a print shop or self-publishing service provider can be a helpful choice.


Written from our team by

Make something out of your book
Convince yourself and try out our tools. Simply register and get started. Without obligation. Without costs. You decide.