Lay-Flat Binding

Books That Need to Lie Open

One of the first steps when selecting a binding format for your book is understanding how it will function for the end-user. Different book bindings are suitable for various applications; therefore, the binding you choose can considerably influence the end user experience.  As a general rule, books that lay flat are much easier to use – they lay flat on each page rather than trying to spring back closed as perfect bound books tend to do.

Examples of books that function better if they can lay flat on a surface when opened, are cookbooks, music books, workbooks, catalogs, and instruction manuals. There are several recommended lay-flat binding options for you to consider.

Plastic Coil Binding

Plastic coil binding uses a plastic coil to hold or bind the printed pages together. The text and cover are punched with a series of small holes on the book’s bind edge. Once the coil is formed to fit the book’s thickness, it is woven or threaded through the punched holes.The plastic coil is a single piece that is a full circle through the punch-holes in the page.

  • The plastic loop does not bend or lose its shape.
  • It is available in several standard colors and a variety of special-order colors.
  • Plastic coil binding is suitable for both low and high page count books.
  • By adding perforation along the binding edge of the page, the user can easily remove pages from the book.
Plastic Coil Spiral Binding

Double Wire Binding

When the term Wire-O or double wire binding is used, it typically means that preformed metal wire is used to bind or secure the pages into the book. Double wire binding holds the book in place by a double-loop wire inserted through punched holes on the book’s bind-edge. Double wire binding allows the book to lie flat while allowing the content to line up evenly between the facing pages.

  • Double wire binding is more sturdy than single spiral-wire binding.
  • The wire is formed into a “C” shape when bound.
  • It is available in black, white, and pewter. Special-order colors are also available that may require minimum order quantities.
  • Double wire binding functions well with most paper types.
  • Facing pages align precisely, unlike the spiral and plastic coil-bound book pages.
  • Double wire books with soft cover have the option of being semi-concealed, allowing the book cover to be wrapped around the spine while concealing the wire.  This option allows for the title and other information to be printed directly on the spine.
  • It is also possible to have a printed case cover that wraps around the book and fully conceals the text and the wire binding. This style is available with a flat or round spine.

Plastic Comb Binding

Plastic comb or GBC binding uses a cylindrical plastic shape with multiple curved tines along its length, forming the book’s spine. Each tine along the comb binding element is pre-formed into a closed ring shape.  The plastic combs are performed to match the required bulk.

  • Plastic comb binding produces durable and professional looking documents.
  • Plastic combs can be printed to include the book title.
  • Plastic comb binding works with most paper types.
  • Pages can be added or removed after binding is complete.

Lay-Flat (Otabind ®)

Traditional Perfect Binding uses hot (PUR or EVA) glue to bind or affix the text and cover. Perfect binding is the most common bind style for commercially produced paperback books but does not allow books to lay open on a flat surface.

Lay-Flat binding uses cold glue instead, applied thinly to the spine. Once it’s dry, the cover is attached to the end-papers on either side of the spine.

  • The spine of the cover is not attached to the book block.
  • The trim size and spine width factor into how flat the book will lay when open.
  • Otabind utilizes PUR adhesive, which is compatible with most paper types.

Color House Graphics offers various Lay Flat Binding options outlined above. If you would like more information on the various binding styles we offer, contact us today. If you need a quote for your project, you can get a quick quote here.

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