Booklets should be laid out as single pages (NOT AS SPREADS)* in a multi-page pdf. There should be 1/8 inch bleed on each side of the page, including the fold side. If you are setting up files for saddle-stitched or perfect bound book pages, we recommend a safety area of at least 1/4 inch inside the trim line. If you are setting up files for wire or spiral bound book pages, we recommend a safety area of at least 3/8 inch inside the trim line. Additionally, if you are ordering calendars with a hole drill at the bottom, please include at least 3/8 inch of safety from the bottom edge for the hole in the middle. For more about bleed, trim, and safety, see our file setup page.
*With the exception of perfect bind covers. See more in our perfect binding section.
Types of binding
Saddle-stitch: The sheets of paper are nested and folded in half, then stapled on the fold, like a comic book. One sheet of paper equals 4 pages once it’s bound (the front and back are counted as separate pages). Because of this, the page count needs to be a multiple of 4.
Perfect Bind: Perfect bound books are glued at the spine, with a strong flexible glue. The other three sides are then face trimmed. The result is similar to a paperback book. For more info, visit our perfect binding section.
Wire-O Bind: Wire-O binding is done with 3:1 pitch (3 holes per inch) black metal wire, and diameters range from 3/16” to 9/16”. Wire bound documents will lay open completely flat, and pages can rotate 360 degrees.
Spiral Bind: The books are bound with a plastic spiral and crimped at the ends. A variety of diameters is available. Spiral bound documents will lay open completely flat, and pages can rotate 360 degrees.
Perfect binding is a process where the pages are bound together on one edge with flexible glue, and the cover is adhered to that edge to form a spine. During the binding process, a score is created on the cover 1/4 inch from the spine to allow the cover to open freely. The page count will need to be an even number, but does not need to be a multiple of four like some other binding types.
Sending Your Files
For best results, please send the cover spreads as one PDF, and the interior pages (laid out as single pages and NOT spreads) as one multi-page PDF. Alternately, you may send one multi-page PDF laid out as single pages including the interior and exterior covers, with the understanding that we will create the spine using the cover bleeds and that results may vary depending on the spine width.
To avoid damage from the binding process, we coat the exteriors of all covers for perfect bound books with either matte or gloss UV coating.
We ask that you expect to proof perfect bound booklets by default, since adjustments usually need to be made to account for the spine and gutter. Proofs of perfect bound booklets will NOT receive UV coating, but WILL be bound. Proofing takes one business day. The time it takes for proofing is NOT included in the overall turn around time for the project, so please allow extra time for proofing. This is part of our process to ensure that the final product is created in line with your vision and expectations.
We have templates available on our templates page.
The best way to create a print file for the cover is to lay out the exterior and interior cover spreads, including the spine width*, and save them together as a two-page PDF document. The cover should still include a 1/8 inch bleed around the outside of the entire spread. Keep in mind that there will be a score mark 1/4 inch from the spine, so important information should be kept out of that area. If you are not sure of the spine width, please ask and we will let you know!
If for any reason you are not able to set up full cover spreads and you send the covers over as pages, we can usually use the bleed from those pages to wrap around the spine. Any other setup done by us for the spine (adding text, etc.) might incur an additional fee.
*The spine width for your books is shown in the order summary in the cart, and also in the emailed order confirmation, as well as the ‘View Order’ details from the Your Account section on the website. Custom orders might not include the spine thickness. If you’re missing this information, feel free to contact us and we can calculate it for you.
Bleed: Each page should include a 1/8 inch bleed on each side, just like any standard digital print.
Safety: All important information should be 1/8 inch in from the trim line. This is particularly important with perfect bound booklets, since the edges are trimmed again at the end of binding and any information too close to the edge could be cut off.
Gutter: On perfect-bound booklets, the spine will be scored 1/4 inch from the edge when it is glued. This gutter area is created where the binding pulls the pages closer together, and will not be as visible as the rest of the page, so it should be clear of important text or images.
Similar to other types of books, your files should be set up as a multi-page PDF, exported as single pages (not spreads), all in order starting with the front cover. All of the pages should be upright; you do not need to rotate them since we will do that part during preflight. The main difference with a calendar is that you will need to leave space for a hole at the bottom center approximately 1/4″ in from the edge, and for wire-bound calendars you’ll need to leave approximately 1/4″ at both the top and bottom, for the hole punch and wire. This means that any important info should be kept at least 1/4″ from the top and bottom of the page so that it doesn’t get interrupted by the hole drill or binding.