Book binding options: Choosing a Softcover

A softcover is a popular choice for printed books and with a number of durable and soft-touch finishes available, it offers a practical alternative to case bound books.

The majority of us are probably more familiar with paperback and hardbacks books. Paperbacks have a softcover made from thin card which allows the cover to flex when reading. Many perfect bound books, magazines and catalogues have a softcover because they are easier and less expensive to produce. This allows larger quantities to be printed with a quicker turnaround time.

Types of finishes

During the printing process the cover will be sealed with an aqueous coating or a UV varnish. This is to prevent the cover from marking. A more durable solution is to laminate the outer cover. A laminate will give the cover more strength and better protection against finger prints and abrasions. A gloss laminate is a popular choice because it enhances the colours and any images. But there are also several other laminates available such as soft-touch which is a matt finish will a silky-smooth feel.

For more details see Tactile and high impact finishes

Combining finishes

By using different finishes together, you can further enhance your publication. For example, using a matt laminate with spot varnish, this can make the title or picture on the cover standout.

For more details see When to use UV Varnish

Example book cover with uv varnish and french flaps

Creating a stronger cover

Adding flaps to the cover that fold inwards can add extra rigidity to the book cover. The advantage of this technique is that the cover remains far more flexible than it would be using a stiffer card. The cover laminate will then be seen on the inside too and there is no longer a need to print on the inside of the cover, so this can remain blank. This style of cover is known as having French flaps or gatefold.

If you would like to find out more about the various cover options, materials and finishes we provide then contact our sales team.


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