There are so many different book cover finishes – What’s the Difference? – Standard Case Binding

In the fourth blog of the series, we will be discussing Standard Case Binding. Standard Case Binding: Standard case binding actually has several different types of materials that can be used, but we could go on with individual blogs forever, so we will just cover the most popular options here. Common, and popular choices are synthetics like Buckram and Tanotex, and natural materials like linen and leather. Synthetics are the most cost effective, followed by cloth and then leather. The material is pulled tight around a thick board, and attached to the back of said board using an adhesive. From there, the books are bound and attached to the case, with end sheets covering the inside covers. These materials are often adorned with the cover and spine text using either silk screening, which is the more cost effective option, or with foiling for golds, silvers, etc. This type of cover is very resilient, and can last a long time, but does not tend to be the most appealing option to the eye. Typically, these  types of covers are covered with a dust jacket, which allows for the cover art to be included with the book, but allows for it to easily be damaged or lost. This type of bind is usually something that I would recommend for a keepsake, vs. something that will be read thoroughly, or often. With the dust jacket, this tends to be the most expensive finishing option of all. Next week we'll discuss litho-wrapping.  

There are so many different book cover finishes – What’s the Difference? – Varnish

In the third blog of the series, we will be discussing varnish. Varnish finish: Varnish is a thin lacquer type substance that is applied to a book cover with an offset press. In order to have a varnish finish the entire cover must be printed offset. It is applied as a liquid, either as a flood (covers whole surface) or spot (covers only certain spots. People do this for effect sometimes), and then dries clear.  It very minimally protects against sun fading,  and general wear and tear of a book. You are likely to get frayed corners with this type of coating. If you want your cover to be embossed or debossed, however, this is one of the right finish options for you. The varnish floods into the ridges and ripples covering all nooks and cranny’s of the surface. Varnish is available in gloss, semi-gloss, and matte. In order to get a high gloss sheen, you would need to do multiple floods of varnish. Offset cover printing is an expensive option if you are not doing over 1000 books. Varnish can be used as a coating for any type of book, even litho-wrapping. Next week we'll discuss UV coating.

There are so many different book cover finishes – What’s the Difference? – UV Coating

In the second blog of the series, we will be discussing UV Coating. UV Coating finish: UV Coating is a lacquer that is applied to a book cover with an offset press, providing a very high gloss finish.  In order to have a UV Coating finish the entire cover must be printed offset. It is applied as a liquid as a flood (covers whole surface) and then dries clear.  It effectively protects against sun fading , and very minimally against  general wear and tear of a book. You are likely to get frayed corners, and to eventually experiencing cracking with this type of coating. If you want your cover to be embossed or debossed, this is a fantastic finish options for you. It is probably the best option. The UV floods into the ridges and ripples covering all nooks and cranny’s of the surface, just like varnish, but it provides a stronger, better finish. UV Coat is only available in a high gloss finish. Typically only one flood of UV is necessary. As always, offset cover printing is an expensive option if you are not doing over 1000 books, and UV Coat is not available through all offset printers. Be sure to confirm that a printer actually offers UV and not just multiple coats of gloss varnish. UV Coat can be used as a coating for any type of book, including litho-wrapped books. Next week we'll discuss varnish coating.

There are so many different book cover finishes – What’s the Difference? – Film Laminate

Gloss-Film-LaminateYou want to protect the cover of your book, of that, there is no doubt, but what is the best way? It depends on your cover and book, really. Over the next several weeks we will discuss the different finishes, with their pros and cons, so that you can confidently decide for yourself which coating will best suit your needs. Single side film lamination: Film laminate (Commonly referred to as book laminate, or single side laminate in the book world, and will likely be called this on any quotes that you receive) is a very thin layer of a poly (plastic) material that is attached to a book cover using high heat and a roller press. If done correctly, this protective coating will last you a lifetime. It protects against liquid damage, sun fading, tearing, cracking, and general wear and tear of a book. You won’t get frayed corners with this type of coating. If you want your cover to be embossed or debossed, however, this is likely not the right finish for you. The ridges and ripples can prevent a tight seal and adhesion of the laminate to the surface of the cover. With film laminate, if you experience any air bubbles, or lack of adhesion, you run a high risk of delamination, where the laminate lets go of the surface, either in spots or on the entire cover. Film laminate is available in both gloss and matte. While the technology to create a sturdy matte laminate has come a long way, gloss laminates are still recommended for covers that have wide spread areas of dark or highly saturated colors, as matte still scuffs more easily, and scuffs are also more evident, than with a gloss finish. Film laminate can be used as a coating for any type of book, even litho-wrapping. Next week we'll discuss UV coating.

Choosing a Font

Fonts are an important to a books success. Not just for esthetics, but more importantly, also for readability. I have many clients ask me, “What font should I use?” Unfortunately, this is not a decision that I can make for you. I am always a fan of the easily readable Times New Roman in an 11pt, but that may not be your cup of tea. So now, how do you decide? Here are some things to consider: What the heck is a serif, and why does it matter? As defined by Dictionary.com ser•if noun Printing A smaller line used to finish off a main stroke of a letter, as at the top and bottom of M. The little lines at the bottoms and tops of letters are serifs. Doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, right? Wrong. Serifs make smaller text much easier to read. Often, fonts that are sans serif will appear to print out more lightly, and will make your text body much more legible. The general rule of thumb is that serif fonts should be used for body text, and that it is ok to use sans serif fonts for titles. What size of a font should I go with? I really recommend a 10 or 11pt for most fonts, but a good idea is always to print out a page of text in that size, in the format that your final book will be, and ask yourself, is this legible? Some fonts are super tiny, so a 10 or 11pt is really more like a 7 or 8pt in any other font. For headers, do the same thing. Create your page full of text, and then test out your header sizes at the top. This will probably be easier to do on screen, with your view set at 100%, than if you were to print it, because your perspective will be skewed if you print the page, and have all of the additional white space from the 8.5 x 11 paper surrounding it. There are so many fonts out there. Where do I find one, and how? Do you have an idea at least of what you want? For instance, do you want a classic looking text, or a clean one? A cursive? I always recommend checking out DaFont. It is my absolute go to for fonts, every time, hands down. With an incredible collection, all that you need to do is search for the type of font that you want (great ones for titles can be found under typewriter or passport!) and maybe a detail like serif, or sans serif, if necessary. Make sure, though, that you check out what the usage rights are. The creators of the font may have stipulations for using their font. If not, make an effort to at least make a donation to them. That keeps these guys going, and where would we be without them?