What's up with that?


Page Count for Perfect Binding


Posted: 19 August 2013

Here is the job:

Finished size - 8.5 x 11; Cover = 4/4; Insides = B/W; Page count = 86 + Cover.

I build the cover in MF - no problem. Insides are run 8.5 x 11 1/1 (set as insert). I set the page count to 43 signatures and MF shows the book at 176 pages.

It looks like it's using saddle stitch page counts. If I don't set them as inserts, it wants to print the signatures 11 x 17.25? So how is MF figuring this book?

. . . . .  Craig

It's figuring it as a true perfect-bound book, with enough trim to grind away the spine. You could bind such a book using two-page 8.5x11 signatures and forget about side and face trim, but it's unlikely anyone would do that. These are essentially softcover books, printed on multi-page signatures and trimmed all around. Odd pages (such as the two pages in the 92-page example) are simply left blank, though you could work around that with a two-page 8.5x11 insert added to 21 four-pagers if you had to.

FYI, Morning Flight automatically calculates and adds to the cover the extra sheet size needed for the spine, based on the total page count and paper thickness.

You're probably not trying to quote a true perfect-bound book, but something glued together without trimming. That's more easily done with Morning Flight's custom binding option, illustrated in the second screen capture.

I'm running the cover and most of the inside pages 2-up on 11x17, then adding a single 8.5x11 sheet to get you the exact page count. You could print everything 1-up if you wanted to, but even if you were to bind it that way, following the example would give you a more realistically priced quote. Incidentally, no need to check the "Insert" box for the 8.5x11.

Glad you asked, Craig. I love to jazz up the forum with examples.

. . . . .  Hal Heindel



Got it. Now, us digital guys can run the book as collated blocks and bind them on a single clamp perfect binder like a Sterling Digibinder and have a completed book that only needs a face trim. MF doesn't quite understand the digital world, so much. Hmm.

. . . . .  Craig

Oh, I don't know, Craig. I'd say MF understands the digital world enough to have added custom binding a few years ago, partly in response to products like the Sterling Digibinder. Maybe we should have called it digi binding instead to make us look more hip?

One question, though. Most users I've talked to pay the same click charges for 11x17 as they do for 8.5x11. How do you compensate for the higher click costs incurred by running more than a few hundred books 1-up? At some point, wouldn't it still be more economical to switch to true perfect binding using a larger press sheet such as 12x18, especially for books sized 5.5x8.5 and smaller?

. . . . .  Hal Heindel

Some manufactures do single click 11x17 and some do not. For instance, I pay $0.003 per 8-1/2 x 11 and get double clicked on 11x17 for monochrome. So for me it does not "pay" to run it 2-up. If I did run it 2-up, I would run two complete books per set, cut the sets in half, then bind. Running collated book blocks saves a ton of labor. With run lengths on books getting smaller, you are seeing more digitally printed books.

Offset owners need to get past the click charge and understand there is a lot of money to be made in the digital world! You just have to understand how to make it work.

. . . . .  Craig

Getting double clicked for 11x17 explains a lot. I'm sure you've discovered that the custom binding option will let you configure the run either way. You can print the cover as an oversized (for the spine) 4-page wraparound by adjusting the press sheet for perfect binding, or two 2-page singles for wire or coil. Note that when the front cover is set up as a wraparound, the entry field for the back cover goes away.

Can money be made in the digital world? I sure hope so, Craig, anticipating that nearly all printing will eventually be done that way. I frankly don't see how any small offset-only shop can survive, even today, without offering at least some digital capabilities.

Life would have been so much easier back when I owned the print shop if we had the digital equipment on which we now produce the Morning Flight manuals. In color and black and white, on demand! Still own a Rosback stitcher and O&M folder, unused in a decade, hogging space from the cars in my garage.


I will make Custom Binding my "go to" digital binding method from now on!

. . . . .  Craig