What is the difference between saddle stitch and perfect binding?

When to Use Saddle-Stitch Binding

With saddle stitching, multiple pages are bound together along the fold with 2 or 3 staples. The fold on a saddle-stitch publication is also known as the “spine”. Saddle stitching is used to bind booklets that are 8 pages or larger. For saddle stitching to work, the booklet needs to be in page multiples of 4.

Saddle stitching is recommended for publications with less than 68 pages. It is also a more budget-friendly option and is a good option for magazines that are produced on a frequent basis. The limitation on the number of pages that should be contained in a saddle-stitch booklet is due to a phenomenon called page “creep”. Page creep is a characteristic of booklet binding in which the inner sheets stick out farther than those closer to the outside due to the paper thickness. When the edges of the booklet are trimmed flush after stitching, the width of the innermost sheet will be the narrowest in the book, with each successive sheet being wider than the next one (working from the inside of the book to the outside). The printed area of each page will appear to get farther from the outside margin as you go from the inside of the book to the outside.

When to Use Perfect-Bound Binding (or even better – PUR binding!)

Unlike magazines that use saddle-stitch binding, publications that use perfect binding are usually of a larger page count. Perfect binding involves the use of glue (rather than staples) to create the binding of a magazine. UK Book Binders recommends that any publication with more than 68 pages use perfect binding. Perfect-bound or PUR bound books booklets to have a flat spine and a softcover. Adding copy on the spine of perfect-bound books is recommended to make your book stand out on a bookshelf and for quick identification. The saddle-stitch method cannot support larger quantities of pages.