Book Printing Lingo: What does “Self Cover” mean?

The Self Cover option is an economical choice for any booklet, like a Price List, which may change frequently

Self Cover means that the paper used for the cover of a book or other bound document is the same as the paper used for the interior pages.

More Economical.

One of the primary benefits of the Self Cover option is that foregoing the heavier paper for the cover saves money.  In fact, a book, booklet or other multi-page document with a Self Cover is less expensive than one with a heavier cover for two reasons…

1) The lighter weight of paper used for the cover costs less than the heavier paper used to make a traditional cover.

2) The entire booklet, pages and cover, can be produced in a single production run instead of two separate press runs for the pages and cover.

Self Cover Uses.

A Self Cover is most commonly used in conjunction with the Saddle Stitch binding method. Any saddle stitched booklet or multi-page document that does not require the durability and longevity of a heavier cover is frequently produced as a Self Cover. For example, a price booklet or catalog that changes frequently is often made as a Self Cover document.

Other common Self Cover examples are newsletters and other periodic bulletins. They have a relatively short life and thus do not require a durable cover. Also, the lighter cover allows for easier folding to make them into a self-mailer or insert them into an envelope. In some cases, a lighter weight cover can even prevent a newsletter or bulletin from climbing into a higher postage bracket.

Self Cover vs Plus Cover.

If you require a Self Cover on a booklet or other printing project, it is recommended that you specify “Self Cover” in the quote request to your printer, along with the desired page count and paper specifications. And when a heavier cover is required, the industry term is “Plus Cover” and the cover specifications are listed separately. These terms help avoid confusion and keep you and your printer on the same page…literally.

If you have any questions about the Self Cover concept, saddle stitching or any other book printing or binding topics, just give us a quick call or drop us an email. We have years of experience in book production and can provide any guidance you may need.

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 book printing, full-color printing, laminated printing, map 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 866-367-6221. Keith and Formax have been providing worry-free printing and related services since 1985.

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