Book Printing Lingo: What is a Booklet?

Examples of Pocket-Sized Booklets

Small softcover books, such as these pocket-size guides, are commonly referred to as Booklets

Like many printing terms, the word “Booklet” can be somewhat ambiguous. Though formal definitions abound, they often conflict with each other on the specifics. However, one point everyone seems to agree upon is that a Booklet refers to a “little book.”

But just what characteristics determine whether or not a book is deemed to be little? Well, having been in the printing business for over 30 years, I can tell you that when a customer refers to their project as a booklet, it usually means…

A) the width and height dimensions are relatively small, or
B) the page count is quite low, or
C) both A and B

It is also safe to say that a Booklet will always have a paper cover. In addition, most booklets are created with the Saddle-Stitch binding method.

A perfect bound or spiral bound book may sometimes be referred to as a booklet if its physical dimensions are small, such as a pocket-sized guide or mini reference book. However, a hardback or casebound book would never be called a booklet…regardless of its dimensions or page count.

The Saddle-Stitch Binding Method is most often associated with Booklet Printing

Examples of Saddle-Stitched Booklets

Saddle-Stitching is a popular and inexpensive binding method used to create Booklets in a variety of sizes

Because Saddle-Stitching is perfect for binding a limited number of pages, it is the method used most often for creating booklets. In fact, many people use saddle-stitching and booklet-making as synonymous terms.

To help illustrate the saddle-stitch bindery process, let’s consider a booklet with a finished size of 5.5” x 8.5”.  The pages and cover of this booklet would be made from 8.5″ x 11″ sheets that are folded in half to 5.5″ x 8.5″.  The folded sheets would be nested one inside the other and then stapled together along the folded crease which forms the booklet’s spine. The staples pass through this folded crease from the outside and are clinched between the centermost pages. Each 8.5″ x 11″ sheet folded in half creates four pages of the booklet.

Booklets that are commonly saddle-stitched include instruction manuals, event programs, pamphlets, brochures, newsletters, direct mailers, comic books, thinner magazines and catalogs.

Formax specializes in all types of booklet printing. Give us a call at 866-367-6221 when you need assistance printing a booklet. Or, if you already know your specs, click here to access our easy quote form. We look forward to assisting with your next booklet project!

Take care! Keith

About the Author

Keith Beaty is the owner of Formax Printing Solutions in St. Louis, MO. Formax provides a complete array of offset and digital printing services. Specialty areas include full-color printing, all types of softcover books, laminated printing, plus fulfillment and mailing services. If you ever have a printing question or project you would like to discuss, Keith is always happy to help. He can be reached at 314-434-5500 or 866-367-6221. Keith and Formax have been providing worry-free printing and related services for over 30 years.

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