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  • Which magazine binding style is best: perfect bound or saddle stitch?

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    Magazines, Online Printing

    You have finally finished the concept for your first magazine. You have the content and all the images and pages figured out. So now the time has come to decide on the perfect magazine binding.

    Experienced magazine designers and publishers know the true importance of magazine binding. It is, in fact, one of the first things you should decide on for your magazine. Different magazine binding solutions fit different magazine specifications. In fact, binding is one of the greatest factors that influence the look and appeal of the final product.

    Magazines are generally produced using one of two popular binding methods – perfect binding and saddle stitching. Perfect binding is done by gluing the pages and cover together at the spine, with a strong and flexible thermal glue. In saddle stitching, the pages of the magazine are made from folded sheets held together by wire staples placed through the crease of the book’s spine.

    Which magazine binding option should you choose?

    Some people decide on the magazine binding method the easy way – by the page count. The rule of thumb is that saddlestitching is used for magazines with under 48 pages, while perfect binding is used for magazines with over 96 pages. However, there’s much more to magazine binding than following this simplistic rule. Moreover, what happens if your magazine has something in between 48 and 96 pages?

    The thickness of the paper and the production method also significantly influence the choice of binding method. Having this in mind, we’ll give you some more insight into the details of these two binding options. As soon as you have all the important details at your disposal, you can easily determine the most appropriate type of binding for your magazine.

    Saddle stitching

    Saddle stitching is the most basic and inexpensive form of magazine binding. In fact, it’s the least expensive of all binding methods. The printed pages are stapled and then trimmed to size. This binding method is most commonly used for print materials with a small number of pages.

    This magazine binding method is especially suitable in situations when you use paper with the same weight for both inside and out (i.e. self-covers). This is one of the benefits of saddle stitching. It gives you the opportunity to choose if you want to use different paper for inside pages and covers, or the same paper type for both.

    But the issue with saddle stitching appears if your magazine has around 80 pages. Depending on the paper you use, it is possible that your magazine won’t lie completely flat. If your magazine is thicker than .25 inches, you will have to opt for perfect binding.  

    Also, if you use saddle stitching, you won’t be able to print the spine, which limits your magazine’s visibility on a stand. You should also keep in mind that wire stitching slowly damages the paper, which will affect the longevity of your magazine.

    When using saddle stitching as a magazine binding option, you need to make the inside pages narrower than the outside ones. The more pages you have, the narrower the inside ones will be in order to be in line with the others when they are folded. Therefore, you may have to make some special design adjustments for creep. These adjustments are especially necessary if you print the magazine in a small format with a high page count.

    Saddle stitching also limits the variations you can make with the paper. Since you have large sheets of folded paper, you will have to make an extra effort if you want to use different paper colors.

    However, the main reason why people choose to use saddle stitching is its simplicity. Almost every company that offers printing services can do the stitching in-house and quickly. This is, of course, true when the magazine meets the other criteria for this binding method.

    Perfect binding

    Perfect binding is suitable to use as a magazine binding option if you have a publication with many pages. It is typically used as a solution for magazines with more than 30 pages. However, you can use perfect binding for publications with only 8 pages, too. The binding is done by gluing the pages together at the spine, and the cover is wrapped around the glued pages.

    This magazine binding method is more expensive than saddle stitching, but it brings added value to the final product. Magazines with perfect bind have a flat spine, which provides an opportunity to add design and copy on it. This helps in making the magazine easily identifiable on a selling stand.

    Perfect-bound magazines are undoubtedly aesthetically pleasing. The opportunity to print the cover all over provides a chance to get creative and make your magazine stand out. With perfect binding, you can also use different paper colors, weights, and finishes wherever you like.

    The opportunity to make a custom-made magazine piece is the reason why perfect binding is more expensive than the saddle stitch option. There are many variables that you can play with when designing your magazine, all of which influence the final cost of production. Perfect binding also takes more time in production than saddle stitching. That is why it’s recommended to add one day in your calculations for printing your magazine.   

    The greatest benefit of using perfect binding is the longevity it gives to your magazine. Unlike saddle stitching, perfect binding does not damage the paper over time. However, perfect binding is not recommended for print pieces that need to lay flat when opened for hands-free reading.  

    perfect binding

    Let us help you make your magazine a real piece of art

    At Dazzle Printing, we have printed countless magazines, booklets, catalogs, journals, books, and any other form of printed issue you can imagine. Our specialty is producing multipage publications, from 8 to over 300 pages. We offer outstanding digital print quality and four binding options, including both saddle stitching and perfect binding along with plastic coil and wire-o.

    Since we are committed to providing a flawless customer service and 100% satisfaction, every order we receive is personally checked. So, when trying to figure out which magazine binding option is most suitable for your project, feel free to contact us. Our experienced team will give you advice and recommendations so that we create a great magazine together.

    Our satisfaction guarantee lets you return your order for a full refund in case you are not entirely satisfied with it. You can order as many copies as you need, starting from 25 with increments of 1 copy.

    You’ll have your order ready in 4 to 6 business days (after proof approval) if you select regular processing. If you need your product sooner, we offer a 3-day turnaround, 2-day turnaround, and 1-day expedited turnaround. Don’t forget to check our incredibly low prices and get an instant quote on our calculator!



2 Responses to Which magazine binding style is best: perfect bound or saddle stitch?

  1. What is the cost to have 25, 8.5 x 11, gloss coated, perfect bound magazines made by your company?
    Each magazine will consist of 80-pages

  2. Great article!

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