How to Choose the Right Book Binding

Level: basic

Custom booklets with the right book binding are one of the best marketing tools you can use to blend important information with eye-catching images and impressive design elements for your audience. Choosing the right book binding can engage your reader both visually and at an instructional level.

Wondering how to choose the right book binding for your online printing project? The one you choose should reflect how you want your booklet to be used and take into consideration the type of information and imagery you want to include.

Perfect Bound Booklet

Book Binding: Perfect Bound

Often referred to as paperback booklets, Perfect Bound Booklets have a clean, finished profile with a seamless square spine that’s great for professional pieces. Durable, a perfect binding features cut pages that are glued and bound in a wrap cover.


  • Ideal for publications with 46 pages or more, up to 2″ thick
  • Square spine can be printed on and included as part of the design


  • Excellent choice for combining informational copy and stunning photography and design
  • Great for catalogs, lookbooks, magazines, photography portfolios, graphic novels, workbooks, directories and more
Saddle Stitch Book Binding - 3/4
Saddle Stitch Book Binding - Interior

Book Binding: Saddle Stitch

Most commonly recognized as the binding for magazines and handouts, Saddle Stitch Booklets feature pages that are laid together and stapled through the fold line. In booklet printing, saddle stitch gets its name from the way the pages lay over the metal staples like a saddle.


  • Perfect for booklets with small-to-medium page counts


  • Frequently used for informational pieces like policy manuals, training manuals and annual reports
  • Great for magazines, product catalogs, holiday and season catalogs, event programs and lookbooks
Spiral Coil Bound Booklet
Wire Coil Bound Booklet

Book Binding: Coil Bound

Coil bound books feature a sturdy coil threaded through drill holes in the pages. Smartpress’ premium online printing services offer Spiral Coil Booklets with a continuous plastic coil and Wire Coil Booklets with individual metal coils.

Spiral bound books and wire-o books are unique in that they open flat and allow the pages to fully rotate for convenient usage and handling.

Spiral Coil Features

  • Feature a sturdy plastic coil that runs through holes drilled in the cover and pages
  • Durable binding that maintains its shape
  • Coil size can vary, making it ideal for any page count
  • Maximum thickness: 1-1/2″

Wire Coil Features

  • Pages are bound with a durable metal coil
  • Durable binding that maintains its shape
  • Maximum thickness: 5/8″


  • Commonly used for manuals, cookbooks, planners, menus and more

Tips & Tricks

These guidelines can help you determine which binding is ideal for your project, but remember: creativity is key. You can design a cookbook with a perfect binding instead of a coil one or showcase your portfolio with a saddle stitch binding instead of a perfect one. It’s up to you!

As a premium online printer, Smartpress has a team of experts ready to help you select your book binding and design your book from cover to cover. If you need help or have questions, please contact customer service.

Learn more: Perfect Bound: Print Booklets with a Sophisticated BindingChoosing the Right Paper Stock for Your Booklet