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Perfect Bound Books, the Perfect Booklet Printing Option

by Abbey Fitzgerald | April 18, 2015

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You are probably used to designing saddle stitch, wire coil, and spiral bound booklets. Smartpress.com is proud to announce that we’ve added perfect bound books to our array of custom booklet printing options.

File setup is very similar to wire and spiral coil because we go by the number of sheets, rather than page sides. The cover is included in this page count as well. Let’s say you have 28 interior sheets and plan on having a cover. You would order a 30 page booklet for your project.

Sizing Spine Width Calculation

There is an important consideration that you may not be used to with other types of booklet printing. The spine is an important consideration. The number of pages and paper stock you choose determine the spine size. You’re in luck, Smartpress.com makes it easy. When you are putting your job specs in, this is calculated automatically. With this said, it is important to know your specs before you design your cover to ensure the spine is the correct width.

There are lots of sizing options. Book sizes can be printed as small as 4″ x 6″ and as large as 9″ x 12″. Spines can be as thin as .10″ up to 2″ thick. You may also want to add a title on the spine. If it is thick enough, feel free to do that. It is a great added touch!

File Setup Tips

We will be focusing on the cover setup in this post. The interior pages are the same as the other booklet types. Setting up your document as single pages and making sure you account for the bleeds and margins is just as important with this type of booklet. A .125″ bleed on all 4 sides of the page, and a safety margin of .75″ are desired.

I’ve put my page count in the print quote calculator on the perfect bound booklet page on Smartpress.com. I’ve chosen Premium Gloss #120 for the cover and 100# text for the interior. Paper choice does matter. I tried a quote with thinner paper and the spine width was slightly smaller than with these specs.

I see that the spine width should be .15″. My booklet will be 5.5″ X 8.5″, so let’s take a look at this template that I made before I start the actual design.

The file setup size is 11.15 X 8.5″ with a .125″ bleed. 5.5″ + .15″ + 5.5″ = 11.15″ is how I arrived at the width. 8.5″ is the height.


The inside of the covers is something that should not be overlooked at this point. Remember to leave the inside of the spine blank to account for gluing.

Interior Book Cover

Print Ready File

This may be different than how you usually work, because you will be submitting two PDFs. One PDF should be the cover file, and the other for your interior pages. Remember to include the exterior and the interior for the cover in your PDF.

The interior page file should have the pages in the correct order. The document will have twice as many pages as the sheets ordered (remember, we counted the sheets before). If you need any blank pages, please remember to include those.

Are you a Self Publisher?

Perfect bound books are a great option for self publishers. If you need an, ISBN number for your book, and a UPC or barcode for retail use, you can obtain both of these by going to http://www.isbn.org, where you will have options to purchase simply the ISBN, or the ISBN and barcode as a unit. If you already have the ISBN and simply need the barcode, another option would be here: http://www.gs1us.org.

These tips and tricks should help you with your file setup. Happy creating!

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