Saddle Stitched vs Perfect Bound. What sort of booklet is right for you?

Saddle Stitched vs Perfect Bound. What sort of booklet is right for you?

When you’re producing any printed booklet or document you need to consider everything from the size of the publication to the purpose of the finished product. Some decisions will be led by the book’s content or its final use. One aspect you should consider early in the design stage is the type of binding you’ll use. Certain binding methods suit some uses better than others and will dictate the number of pages in your document or even some of the design elements. 

Saddle-stitched and perfect bound – what’s the difference?

Two of the most popular bindings are saddle-stitched and perfect bound. 

Saddle-stitched and perfect bound booklets are put together using very different methods which produce two very different types of booklets. Each type of binding offers its own advantages and our guide will help you decide which is best for your project. 

Saddle-stitched or stapled booklets are made up from large flat sheets that are stacked, then folded and stapled so that each flat sheet makes four printed pages. For example, a flat A3 sheet is folded to make four printed A4 pages, so a 40 page A4 booklet will be made up of 10 folded A3 sheets.

Perfect bound books are made up from single pages that are stacked and squared-off to make a block of pages that are held together with an adhesive on the rear edge of each page. The cover is a separate sheet which is wrapped around the block and glued to the spine.

Saddle stitching and perfect binding both give a highly professional finish and are used for a wide variety of publications, so to help choose between them ask yourself a few questions about your project.

How many pages will I have in my book?

Even if you’re not immediately sure of your exact page count, a rough idea of your book’s length might make your decision for you. 

Saddle-stitched booklets can be between 8 and 64 printed pages in length. If you’ve 40 or more pages we’ll square off the spine for an even better-looking booklet that will close completely flat.

Remember that because they’re made up from folded spreads your final page count must be a multiple of four.

Perfect bound books can be anywhere between 28 and 700 printed pages long, which is why many magazines and longer books are perfect bound.

How will people use the booklet?

This might seem like an odd question, but each binding method produces books with different characteristics. Perfect bound books can be printed on the spine, so you can recognise the publication without seeing the cover. The PUR glue used to bind the pages is tolerant to both high and low temperatures. It is flexible and non-brittle, so spines won’t crack and pages won’t fall out. This means perfect bound books close completely flat but need to be held open when reading. 

Saddle-stitched booklets open completely and stay open.

Always consider the purpose of your booklet or book and how it will be used before making a final decision on the binding.

Which is the most cost-effective?

Saddle-stitched books are very cost-effective, especially for smaller quantities. At DigitalPrinting.co.uk we’ll supply even one saddle-stitched book from as little as £17.50 and with our 10% discount* this month you’ll save even more, whatever your size or quantity!

Perfect bound books are also great value for money. For example, 250 A5 28-page books using the specifications recommended on our website will cost only £1.52 per book (price correct on date published). 

If your booklet is between 28 (the minimum for perfect bound) and 64 (the maximum for saddle-stitched) pages in length, click for a quote for both types to help you decide which option best meets your needs.

Is the artwork the same for both saddle stitched and perfect bound books?

For any product, we encourage you to supply a print-ready PDF. We can also accept various image formats as well as Word or Publisher files, but supplying artwork as a PDF will speed up the process and transition your artwork easily through pre-press and print.

Artwork for both saddle-stitched and perfect bound documents should include 3mm bleed and all text or relevant information should be in a safe area at least 5mm from the edge of the page. (For more information on bleed or safe areas click on Create Production Ready Artwork on our Support page.)

With perfect bound books, you also need to leave a border of 12mm on the bound edge of each page (left-hand side for right-hand pages and right-hand side for left-hand pages) as any text or important information will be very hard to see if it’s too close to the binding. 

However, because saddle-stitched books open fully you can run graphics or images (but not text) right across a two-page spread.

Turnaround times

At DigitalPrinting.co.uk we understand the importance of your deadlines so we offer a wide range of delivery options on all of our products. When you order just choose the one that suits your requirements and we’ll make sure your booklet is despatched on time.  

Paper and finish

With both saddle stitched and perfect bound booklets you have a choice of weights and paper types:

Silk has a smooth feel and subtle surface sheen. It comes in a range of weights from 130-150gsm for the inner pages and 250-350gsm for the cover.

Gloss has a shiny surface with a very smooth finish. Weights range from 100-120gsm for the inner pages and 250-300gsm for the cover.

Uncoated has a soft finish and is available in weights ranging from 100-120gsm for the inner pages and 250-300gsm for the cover.

Many customers choose to have their covers laminated. Gloss lamination gives a higher quality shine than gloss paper, while matt lamination produces a soft, contemporary finish.

With uncoated and silk papers you can also choose a recycled option.

If you decide on saddle-stitched booklets you also have the choice of our luxury paper range. This stunning range includes papers with textured, extra white, metallic and pearlescent finishes. If only the very best paper is good enough for your booklet and your page count is 64 or under, it’s well worth considering a luxury paper. 

Saddle-stitched or perfect bound books – we’ve got them covered

We know… bad pun. But what we mean is that we’re perfectly placed to help with whatever type of booklet you need. With more than 20 years’ experience in digital printing, we’ve grown and progressed with our customers and with the industry, always staying on the cutting edge of the latest and best digital printing technology. Our Indigo Digital Presses provide you with the best digital print quality available and superb value for money. 

Whether you choose saddle-stitched or perfect bound you can be sure that your job will get the attention to detail it deserves. If you’re new to ordering print, don’t worry. Our website will give you all the information you need on how to supply artwork and order online. You can even download an editable artwork template for your job and the hints and tips section on each product page helps you make sure your artwork is just right for printing.


To find out more or to get an instant quote, simply visit www.DigitalPrinting.co.uk today.

Get an instant quote for booklet printing


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