Hard Cover Books
For purposes of this discussion, books have two parts,
the cover and the text (even though the text
may include illustrations, charts, and photographs,
not just type). The text, or inside pages, are fastened together
by some method of attachment to form a book block.
There are two types of cover. Soft cover books have a cover made
of heavy paper or cover stock. Hard cover books have a cover
consisting of binder boards (heavy cardboard) with a covering material
wrapped and glued over it. Some hard cover books are also provided with a paper dust
jacket to brighten and protect the hard cover.
We produce all the types of hard cover books described
How It's Done. Hard cover books are made by
Print and fasten the book block. At the front
and back of the book block are endsheets, the heavier paper which in
a finished book runs from the inside of the cover to the front or
back of the text.
Make the case, or cover. This consists of
three pieces of binder board glued to a sheet of covering
material. The pieces of binder boards correspond to the front,
spine, and back of the book.
Add headbands to the book block, round the spine of
the book (if called for), and do other finishing steps expected for quality books.
Draw the case onto the book block. This
consists of gluing the endsheets to the inside of the covers.
It's either done very slowly by hand or quickly by machine.
The Covering for a hard cover book is the
material to which the binder boards are glued. There are thousands
of kinds, weights, and colors of coverings. The three basic
are printed, laminated covering; library cloth; or leatherette. The
printed, laminated covering, or lithowrap, can carry whatever
design you like. Lithowrap coverings are generally done in full
color, so no dust jacket is necessary to show off your design.
Library cloth includes woven fabric (expensive) or simulated woven
fabric, in both cases impregnated with a resin that strengthens and
stabilizes the material. Leatherette has a finish that simulates
various kinds of animal hide or simply shows attractive patterns.
We can also use genuine leather (composite), or high quality simulated leather.
For library cloth or
leatherette covers, the book title, author, other information, along with
possible designs are applied to the covering by stamping. Flat
foil stamping is most common (and least costly), using gold, silver, or
colored metallic foils. Three-dimensional die stamping is also
possible at a higher cost.
We can provide a dust
jacket with any type of hard cover.
The Attachment consists of Smythe sewing or
For Smythe sewing, the pages are printed on a large
sheet, known as a signature, and are folded down to the right size for
pages. The individual signatures for a book are sewn through the
fold at the spine side of the pages, with the sewing holding the pages
in place and holding the signatures together. A layer of adhesive
emulsion is applied to the sewn book block to strengthen it, and a
reinforcing material is added at this stage for heavier books.
Smythe sewn book blocks then receive either a hard cover
or a soft cover.
Notch case bound books
begin as folded signatures, which are notched to allow adhesive to
penetrate to all pages. These signatures are then attached with hot
melt blue. For hard cover books a reinforcing material and
endsheets are then attached.
Perfect bound books may begin as folded signatures
or as loose pages. In either case, the spine side is ground down
to expose individual loose sheets for gluing. A hot melt glue is
applied with reinforcing material. If the book block is destined
to be bound with a soft cover, then that soft cover is attached with the
hot melt glue at this stage. With PUR perfect binding, an especially
strong PUR adhesive is used.
Drawing On. The cover is joined to the book
block by gluing the endsheets (and reinforcing strips) to the inside of
Now pull a book apart to see the anatomy I've just
A Dust Jacket is a printed paper covering loosely
wrapped around the covers of the book. Our dust jackets are always
laminated for protection and appearance. Perhaps the dust jacket
is intended for protection, but mainly its purpose is to catch the eye
prospective purchaser with bright colors and catchy
designs. True, some dust jackets are staid and conservative. Most
books bound with library cloth or leatherette have dust jackets, and
most books bound with printed, laminated covers do not have dust jackets. But it's
entirely up to you.