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Perfect binding is a book binding technique commonly used for softcover books, magazines, and other small print publications. Popular for its durability and affordability, perfect binding continues to be widely used across a number of applications. In fact, of all the national magazines in the country, about 40% are bound using perfect binding. So how does perfect binding work? Read on in this week’s blog to learn about the process of perfect binding!

The Perfect Binding Process


The printed signatures signatures are gathered together using a gathering machine that holds them together. Inserts and foldouts are also gathered in this process. The completed collection of signatures is called a book block, and is ready to be sent to the backbone cutter.

Backbone Cutting

The process of backbone cutting removes the signature folds at the spine of the book block. The backbone cutter cuts away these folds, which are held together by clamps. Once the folds have been cut away, the spine has to be roughened so the adhesive will apply better. There are several ways to do this. A commonly used one is notch binding, also known as notch perfect binding, which cuts grooves into the spine where the adhesive can penetrate and better hold it together.


Once the backbone has been cut, it’s time to apply the adhesive. The book block is clamped together and run through the adhesive application machine, which uses applicator wheels to apply adhesive to the spine. There are several kinds of adhesives that can be used in this process. The most commonly used are hot-melt adhesives. These become a liquid when heated, which makes them easy to apply, and then return to a solid once they dry. PUR (polyurethane reactivate) adhesives are another popular adhesive for perfect binding. This adhesive dries faster than hot-melt adhesives and allows for a lay-flat end product.

Cover Application

After the adhesive has been applied to the spine, the cover is applied. It is folded around the book block and pressed onto the spine to allow the adhesive to apply to the cover.


Now we’re nearing the end of the perfect binding process. In the trimming stage, excess materials are trimmed away from the book block to create its neat and final appearance.


The final product is complete, and is sent to the counter-stacker which counts the units as they come off the line and stacks them up.

perfect binding

Advantage Book Binding can advise you as to what kind of binding style will work best for your specific project, taking into consideration budget requirements to provide you with the most cost-effective and project-specific solution for you. Please contact us today for more information, and keep up with us on FacebookGoogle +Twitter, and LinkedIn.