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[BKARTS] Open Book? Lay flat Album Binding

 Stone Eye - An Exhibition of the Midwest Chapter, Guild of Book Workers
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Hi Katie:

I have been researching book binding extensively for my own line of books. I
also want a lay flat binding for my books. It is a shame that so many books
will not lay flat. Some books are really hard to look at, especially
technical and picture books. But you haven't given me quite enough
information to go by so I will have to do some guessing.

(1) First, you are using single sheets. That means you cannot go the sewn
binding route which can be very flexible with the right binding.

(2) You mentioned you don't want to use mechanical binding which I would
agree with as pages tear easily when flipping pages. You also said this is
to be an elegant album-type book. Personally I would not think that some of
the albums with punched holes and strings tying the pages together is in
this category either. I am assuming you are using paper sheets like that
used in standard books.

(3) You also said you prefer a structure that requires a minimum of tedious
labor. Are you planning on making these albums yourself? That would limit
the options of course.

(3) The best bet for a classy lay flat book using loose pages is adhesive
lay flat binding. The general type of adhesive lay flat bindings I am
checking out lays very flat even on the 8.5x11 inch size. By this I mean
that any page in the book will be totally readable when flipping the book
without hand pressure and with a little hand pressure on a set of open pages
will make most pages lay almost totally flat. It is basically equivalent to
the quality open spine sewn hardcover book binding.

(4) I'll also guess that you would want nice pictures on the front and back
cover which means that regular case bound hardcover binding using flexible
cloth doesn't work so well. All paper covered case bound books which can be
printed in full color don't stand up well at all. That is why dust jackets
are still used on many case bound books but these tear much too easily. A
quarter bound hardcover book with a flexible cloth spine which would be
stamped and paper covers in full color could work, but the paper corners do
tear really easily.

(5) I am a particular fan of tightback books. Paperback books are tightback
books but they do not lay flat. A properly made thermal tape bound book is
the cheapest variety of lay flat tightback book you can make and because the
flexible tape is only around the spine, full color covers can be used.
RepKover books don't lay nearly as flat but can use a printed spine. It
would be hard to get a RepKover book made in small quantities. You can get
thermal tape bound books made in local office supply stores and especially
university type binderies unless your pages are too large. The cost can be
as low as about US$2 per binding. They are a favorite of academia. A tape
bound book can have the spine title imprinted in which case they can look
fairly professional. Check the quality. Some thermal tape binding machines
do not bind as uniformly as others and some tapes are too stiff.

(6) You mentioned it is an album. To me that means coated paper which is
hard to glue except with PUR glue which is a very strong, thin, and flexible
but PUR is a production line system only. I have heard that double fan
gluing can work with glossy pages and that means going to a bookbinder for
most people.

(7)  I think you have to decide how elegant the book is to be, how durable
it should be, what impression it should make, and what is on the cover. If
you are OK with the cover being cloth or vinyl and imprinted with just the
title, going to a flexible double fan glued hardcover is probably the safest
bet. If made right it should lay very flat. You of course have to get them
bound by a small hand bookbinding place, but for a limited run I think the
price is reasonable. Even in Vancouver Canada there are quite a few places
that will do this if you ask around. Just don't go to the production book
binderies. Prices I have seen are around US$15 or less for a 8.5x11 inch
book. Hope this helps. I think I am addicted to lay flat books myself.

Ben Wiens...applied energy scientist
Ben Wiens Energy Science Inc.
8-1200 Brunette Ave. Coquitlam BC Canada V3K1G3
E-mail: ben@benwiens.com
Energy Website: www.benwiens.com

-----Original Message-----
Hello all
I'm looking for advice on a book structure that will work for a fairly
large, elegant album-type book, with single sheets. I was going to use a
post binding, but I'd prefer a binding that will allow the book to open
either flat or close to it. I don't want to use a spiral or variations
thereof. Since this will be an edition (probably 20), I'd also prefer a
structure that requires a minimum of tedious labor.
Any suggestions?
Katie Harper
Ars Brevis Press
Cincinnati, OH

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