Saddle-stitch books are EVERYWHERE! They’re the programs you get when you go to the theatre, the magazines that fall out of your Sunday paper and the instruction manuals that guided you through the joys of constructing that flat-packed wardrobe.
Saddle-stitch is by some margin the most cost effective professional-looking binding method available. It also lays relatively flat, especially for lower page counts and isn’t at all labour intensive, meaning its quick to produce.
At CLOC, we love saddle-stitch books – a very good thing indeed when you consider that we’ve produced more than 100,000,000 of them!
Saddle-stitch books are easy to print in any of the standard sizes such as A6, A5, A4, Royal, B-sizes or any custom size you can think of!
What size is very much up to you and the application the book is intended for. Manuals and exercise books are often produced in A4 size, however, producing saddle-stitch books to fit very specific purposes such as CD cases is very common indeed.
Use our instant quote calculator to find out how much your saddle-stitch booklets will cost – it works for all standard sizes and if you have a custom sized item, simply submit an RFQ via the site, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 020 8801 6983 and we’ll get straight back to you.
Deciding whether to choose colour or mono printing is a personal choice. The general rule is that if your text is almost entirely black and white, selecting mono shouldn’t affect the overall performance of your saddle-stitch book and will save you money – use our instant calculator to check!
That being said, sometimes saving money is less important than achieving the look you desire, after all colour images and text look a lot better in colour than they do in mono.
With most printers, there is a monumental difference between mono and colour saddle-stitch books, but CLOC aren’t most printers.
We’re the UK’s cheapest for a whole host of print specifications and it is therefore always worth checking the instant quote calculator – you may be surprised to find that fully colour printed saddle-stitch books are within your budget.
Saddle-stitch books are unique. Rather than gathering sheets that are then bound on one edge as is the case with paperback or coil bound books, saddle-stitch books are folded sheets that are bound in the middle with one or two ‘stitches’ (staples to you and me!). As these stitches are in the middle and are therefore on the fold, the finished book is ‘stitched’ on the spine (or ‘saddle’ – hence the name).
This method of stitching folded sheets in the middle means that saddle-stitch booklets work in 4-page sections. It can be tricky to get your head around this concept, however, the best way to think of it is as follows:
If you took a landscape A4 sheet and folded it in half vertically and then opened it back to A4, you would be left with 4 portrait A5 pages – 2 on the front and 2 on the back. 1 sheet of A4, therefore makes 4 pages of A5.
As saddle-stitch works in 4-page sections, if your artwork is not divisible by 4, you will be left with blank pages at the rear of your booklet, always rounded up to the nearest number divisible by 4. Therefore, supplying 17 pages of artwork, will provide a booklet with 3 blank pages at the rear to make a 20pp booklet (i.e. 20/4 = 5).
The recommended page count range for saddle-stich booklets is from 4pp – 80pp, however, please be aware that the higher the page count the less likely the booklet is to lay flat and the more likely the cover is to bulge out a bit. If you have too many pages, we strongly recommend paperback binding, but if you prefer the look and feel of coil binding, it’s a good option too.
It is essential that you setup your artwork correctly to achieve the best saddle-stitch book results.
Text - If you’re ‘text’ pages (that’s everything other than the cover) do not need to be printed to the edge of the sheet, as you would expect for an instruction manual, we recommend that you leave a margin of at least 20mm all the way around the edge. If your ‘text’ section does require printing to the edge of the sheet as you would expect for a book with lots of background images, we recommend that you add at least 3mm of bleed to each edge. What’s bleed? Well… just like your desktop printer at home, our fancy production printers don’t like to print all the way to the edge of the sheet. To ensure that the print runs all the way to the edge, please supply artwork that is 3mm larger all the way around than your finished document size. If you want A4 (297mm x 210mm) saddle-stitch books, each text page will need to be 306 x 216 mm instead. We will then print this onto larger than A4 paper and trim it back to A4 size with our huge guillotines. You’ll lose whatever is printed in the additional 3mm bleed section but the finished item will be A4 in size and have colour all the way to the edge of the sheet. If you are unsure with regards to setting up your artwork for bleed, just speak to the team – we’re on hand to help!
Cover – Saddle-stitch covers provide an exciting opportunity when it comes to design. As a saddle-stitch book has a wraparound cover, i.e. the back cover and front cover are all printed on the same sheet, clever designers can use wrap around designs to elevate the books aesthetical appeal. Essentially all you need do to achieve a wraparound design is to supply cover artwork that is 2x bigger in a landscape direction that your finished size. I.e., if your books are going to be A4 portrait, your wrap around cover will need to be A3 landscape. Not forgetting that pesky 3mm of bleed!!
Remember – saddle-stitch works in 4-page sections and you will have blanks pages at the rear of your book if your total page count isn’t divisible by 4.
Rather than worrying about the complicated process of imposing a print ready booklet, please just supply the text pages in correct running order and we will do the rest.