How to Decide if Spiral Binding is Right for Your Book

So you’ve written a book and are convinced you’ve explored every detail…you’ve edited and re-edited, made sure you had an eye-catching cover, and formatted your eBook to be device friendly.

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But one thing you may have overlooked is what kind of binding you’ll want for your book.

When it comes to book binding, you might be thinking, “Who cares, as long as it stays assembled!”

But take it from some print pros: when it comes to self-publishing and selling books, your binding matters.

The type of binding you choose for your book can make a huge difference for readers. And one type of binding that can set your book apart from the rest is spiral binding.

Who wouldn’t want a calendar with pages that easily slide into place and stay there? Or perhaps a striking book of photography where they can choose a different image to display depending on their moods?

While spiral binding isn’t for every genre, there are certain niches where choosing the spiral binding option can be a game-changerby making your book easier to handle.

Take a peek at some pros and cons of spiral binding, and decide if it might be the final touch that your book needs in order to help your book stand out and reach your ideal audience.

Different Types of Book Binding

There are typically 5 different types of binding to choose from as a self-published author:

  • Perfect binding, using glue on a flat spine.
  • Spiral binding, where holes are punched through the edge of the book and plastic coils are inserted.
  • Wire-o binding, which uses a closed metal loop instead of plastic coils.
  • Hardcover binding, where a book is printed then attached to rigid covers.

No binding style is perfect for every book. It’s important to choose your binding depending on what your reader will be seeking.

Will the reader be taking your book to school? Reading it in bed? Holding it up, or looking at it while it lies on a table?

Depending on the answer, your book’s binding should accommodate how your eader plans to use it.

What Is Spiral Binding?

Spiral binding was popularized in the 1930’s as a more efficient ways to produce books. Before spiral binding, books had to be hand-bound, and it was nearly impossible to complete 100 orders in an hour. With spiral binding, the rate of production got 2 times faster.

Spiral binding continued being popular through the 50’s and beyond, mostly for inter-office documentation, books that are meant to lie flat, and documents that would eventually need edits and page additions.

The Pros and Cons of Spiral Binding

While spiral binding can be handy for certain books, it’s not for everyone.

If you’re seeking a book that’s easy to carry around, for example, you might want to explore a new option. But, if you have a unique book where the design of a spiral binding can help make for an easier user experience, give it a shot.

Pro: Easy Handling

Perhaps the most significant benefit to using spiral binding is that it makes books and documents easy to handle. The design makes a book easy to lay flat so you can view both pages easily, or so you can fold over one page and without damaging the book.

Spiral binding also allows for a clear visual of the book’s contents with little maneuvering, as the pages have much more mobility to move.

If you have a cookbook or calendar where people will need to reference the recipes or dates hands-free, or a photography book where certain pages should be on display, spiral binding is the way to go.

Con: Spiral Binding Can Unravel

While spiral binding can be handy while in use, it’s not the best for traveling. Sometimes spiral bindings are prone to catching on things, and if the ends get damaged, the book is at risk of unraveling.

Pro: Spiral Binding Can Accommodate for Any Amount of Pages

Whether your book is 15 pages or 1500, a spiral binding can hold all the pages easily.

While some binding types begin to get flimsy with too little or too many pages, it’s easy for spiral bindings to accommodate. All you need is a spiral in the correct size.

Along those lines, spiral bindings can also accommodate different page thickness. So if you want to combat the potential damage to your book during travel, you can use a thicker material for the pages.

Con: Spiral Binding Can Cause Page Damage

If you plan to use spiral binding, hopefully your readers are prepared to take care of their books. Sometimes if misused pages can catch on the binding and tear.

Many designs with spiral binding also make for the edges of pages to be a bit more exposed, leaving the inner contents prone to damage.

How to Decide if Spiral Binding is Right for You

Spiral binding is a fantastic choice if you plan to create a book that needs easy handling and pages that need to be laid flat. Think coffee table books and displays, visual presentations, cookbooks, or anything that is low-travel and high use.

Spiral binding is also great for office items like calendars or manuals you might want to add pages to later.

If you’re writing a travel guide or something you can imagine your audience needing to take with them on their journeys, spiral binding might not be the best move. And while they can be good for office and school supplies, they’re not quite durable enough for children to use regularly.

Next Step: Determining Trim Size

When it comes to the success of your self-published book, the devil really is in the details.

After you figure out the ideal binding option for your self-published book, your trim size is another element that can make or break and experience for a reader.

Here are 6 things to know before choosing your trim size >

Adam user

President & CEO,
Steuben Press

Adam Ellis has worked in the book industry since 2002, when he was first exposed to the wonderful world of Self Publishing. Over the years he has worked with thousands of authors and helped to produce, print and publish countless books.

Levenstein cover

Roger and Adam are great to work with!! Roger did an excellent job turning my stories into a real book. I'm glad that I found them and gladly recommend them!

– Seth Levenstein, Vero Beach, FL

To learn more about Seth's book visit www.profilesofthegame.com