Saddle Stitch Books Self Cover FAQ

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What does Self Cover mean?

Self Cover means that the cover of the booklet is printed on the same paper as the rest of the book. This allows the cover to be printed at the same time as the insides and reduces the cost of the booklet.

What is the minimum number of pages that can be Saddle-Stitched?

Saddle-Stitching requires the page count to be in multiples of four because there are 4 book pages printed on each sheet. Therefore the minimum number of pages for a Self Cover booklet would be 8 pages, or two sheets.

What is the maximum number of pages that can be Saddle-Stitched?

The maximum number of pages depends upon the weight of the paper the booklet is printed on. This is because the staples (or stitches) can accommodate up to a certain thickness. As well, the sheets are folded after they are stitched, so if the spine area is too thick it will not fold nicely and can “bubble” open.

Generally, booklets of 40 pages or less printed on up to 100lb text will lay flat or having minimal bubbling. If the paper used is in the 50-70lb text range, the page count can be up to 64 pages with little or no issue.

Can a Saddle-Stitched book have printing on its spine?

Because the pages are folded sheets, there is no space on the spine for printing.

What are the main benefits of Saddle Stitch Books Self Cover?

  • Saddle stitching is the most economical bindery method for booklets
  • It can be done more quickly than other methods that have more individual steps (collating, punching, binding, etc)
  • It is ideal for both low-quantity and high-volume projects
  • Self Cover Booklets offer the lowest page count option of all methods, 8 pages
  • Books can be hole-punched along the spine for insertion into a standard 3-ring binder
  • It can accommodate artwork or images that span two adjacent pages (crossover images)
  • It is the best choice for publications that will be mailed because there is no external binding to get caught on any mailing equipment, the weight can be kept low by choosing lighter paper stock, and there is no additional weight added by the cover being a heavier stock

How should files be supplied for Saddle Stitch Books Self Cover?

Files should be supplied as a single PDF that contains all of the pages for the book. This file should be exported directly from the design software as “Single Pages” instead of multi-page spreads (for example, an 8.5x11 book should be exported as 8.5x11 pages and not as 11x17 spreads that each have 2 pages)

A minimum of .25” or 1/4” of safe margin is required for all booklets. This means that page numbers, images, text, and any important elements that are not intended to go right to the edge should be at least .25” away from the edges.

This is for two reasons. Firstly, there is some natural variation in the cutting process, and there is no way to guarantee that every booklet will be cut in exactly the same place. Secondly, when sheets are gathered, folded, and inserted into each other, a phenomenon known as “Creep” can occur, especially with thicker paper stocks. Creep is where the bulk of the paper causes the inner pages to extend or “creep” further out than the outermost pages when folded. Below is an exaggerated view of how the inner pages extend beyond the edge of the outer pages when folded (this is for illustrative purposes only, the actual amount of creep is usually between 0”-.125”, depending on paper weight and page count).