Nuts and Bolts of a Book

Today, I want to direct your attention to the actual nuts and bolts of your physical book. You have many choices to make. Board books and pillow books are generally for the infant to 24 month old child. They can grip them, gum them, throw them on the floor, or slap the family pet and still not destroy the book, generally speaking.  No? You want regular paper?  Okay. What bond or weight of paper do you want? Keep in mind the paper you buy for your printer at home is usually 20# or 24# bond.  At the commercial printer, the term used for paper is “offset” with 60# offset used most frequently for book pages. 50# would work, as well.  For comparison and to get the feel of 60# offset paper, just rub a sheet of 24# bond printer paper between your thumb and index finger. The higher the number, the heavier the paper is. The higher the number, the more each sheet of paper will cost.

Hardcover, dust cover or softcover, oh my! Glossy or matte finish? The obvious advantage of softcover books is they are less costly to produce. Hardcovers are nice as they last longer. In my world, dustcovers fall off and get lost, stepped on, or shredded by the dog. The obvious disadvantage of softcovers is the tendency to get torn or bent. What a great time for teaching children how to treat their books with gentleness and respect😊

Depending on the type of book you write and number of pages in your book, you may choose to have the book folded and stapled. This is called “saddle stitching”. Think of a comic book, workbook, some magazines and the like.

A “perfect binding” is used for softcover books. The pages are folded, stitched and glued into a cover. This forms a squared-off spine for the book. If the spine is wide enough, the book title, author and publisher can be printed on it.

Photo by Volkan Vardar on

Hardcover book pages are folded, stitched and glued into a case made from a printed sheet around 3 pieces of grayboard.

Board books are assembled one thick paperboard page at a time into a book block finished by a printed spine.

Recipe books and manuals most often are bound with wire or plastic spiral binding,

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

You know what you need to do! Write the first sentence!!

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