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Book Printing: What are the Advantages of Spiral Binding?

Spiral Binding, also known as Coil Binding, is a common method for joining the pages and cover of a bound document.

It utilizes a durable plastic or metal coil that is inserted and twisted through small holes punched along the spinal edge of the book's cover and pages. The coil joins the pages and cover as an assembly, yet still allows them to open freely.

Of all the softcover book binding methods we offer, spiral binding is probably third in popularity behind saddle-stitching and perfect binding. That's probably because it is not quite as low cost as the saddle-stitching method nor does it offer a flat, printable spine like perfect binding. However, spiral binding does offer several distinct advantages which I have summarized below.

The Advantages of Spiral Binding…

1) The pages can be opened a full 360 degrees. A spiral bound book can fold all the way back upon itself and yet still remain flat, so it provides for easy reference while taking up minimal room on a desk or table. This makes spiral binding an excellent choice for reports, sales presentations, proposals, directories, cookbooks, instructional books and maintenance manuals. Atlases and travel guides are also commonly spiral bound because they are easier to manage when traveling. And because they can open fully, it prevents important information from getting buried near the book's spine.

2) The pages turn easily and stay put. When opened, the pages of a spiral bound book rotate around the coil with very little resistance. So unlike other binding styles, spiral bound pages have no spinal tension in them. This allows the pages of a spiral bound document to stay put without having to be continually held open to view the contents. In addition to books, wall calendars are often spiral bound so the pages flip easily and the lack of spinal tension allows them to hang flat against the wall.

3) It can accommodate low page counts or high page counts. Spiral coils come in a variety of diameters to accommodate books of varying thicknesses. The more pages the book has, the larger the coil diameter must be for proper function and aesthetics. As mentioned, the coils can be plastic or metal, but are more commonly plastic because of the wider range of color choices. Also, plastic coils resist distortion better than metal coils, so keep that in mind if you plan to send your books, calendars or other bound documents through the mail.

4) It works well with index tabs. Because the spiral binding method allows pages to turn freely and stay put without the need to manually hold them open, it is often the best choice for bound projects that require tabbed page dividers. Dividers with printed tabs are the perfect complement to any reference document - such as a report, presentation, training manual, directory, etc. - because they allow the user to quickly locate a specific page or topic. The tabs are often printed in varying colors and/or coded numerically to make them even easier to use.

5) It is a readily available binding method. Spiral binding has widespread appeal, particularly for shorter production runs. Its popularity stems from the fact that it is a rather straightforward process that requires no adhesives, folded signatures or extensive preparation. Also, the coils are often inventoried in a variety of shapes and colors to complement a wide range of documents.

Formax Printing has been producing books and other bound documents for over 30 years. If you have any additional questions about spiral binding, or have an upcoming spiral bound project, just give us a call or send us an email. We'll be happy to explain all your options as well as share our money-saving ideas with you.

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 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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