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  • Writer's pictureCam Gray

What is a limitation of perfect binding?

Unfortunately, perfect binding has a few important limitations:

  • The glue does not have good penetrating ability into paper fibers. In order to combat this deficiency, the pages of books are first "nipped" or cut with steel blades. This produces a serrated "sawtooth" effect which gives the glue a greater surface area to adhere to. As the blades pass through the book's spine region, a fair amount of noise and dust results.

  • Perfect binding results in a fairly thick spine layer of EVA glue. This spine greatly resists bending. This means that perfect binding has particularly bad lay flat qualities. Pages tend not to want to lay flat. If the book is forced open aggressively, the spine tends to snap with an audible crack. After that, the pages will fall out and the book is ruined.

  • Perfect binding works reasonably well with cheap, porous paper such as newsprint. Phone directories are a good example of true lay flat results from a perfect binding process. On thicker, coated, and more expensive paper, the lay-flat qualities are rapidly compromised. This means that the more expensive the book, the worse perfect binding performs.

  • Perfect bound books often do not stand up well to extreme use. Books that are constantly handled - both frequently and aggressively, are more prone to damage than the more expensive binding methods.

  • Perfect binding tends to fail under extreme temperature conditions such as extreme cold and extreme heat. Books used in cars that will be parked in the sun, or in arctic conditions, for instance, will most likely suffer damage.

An even better solution available

At UK Book Binders we offer a range of PUR binding services or thread-sewing. Both of these methods use a softcover, just as Perfect binding, but with enhanced durability.

If you are on a tight budget, why not book a PUR binding job in, from only £75 – if supplied as collated book blocks. Give us a call on 01934 630 950 to discuss your best option.

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