Hardback booking printing: choosing materials, finishes and optional extras

Sometimes, a little bit of extra effort goes a long way. Going that extra mile when designing your hardback book can help the finished product to look even better and create a book you can be truly proud of.

To help you decide which printing and finishing options are right for your book, we’re looking at some popular choices, including dust jackets, cover materials and finishes. We start with some of the subtle finishing touches that can help enhance a publication.

Head and tail bands

Coloured head and tail bands

Head and tail bands are small pieces of coloured twine that are found at both ends of a hardback’s spine. Although they often go unnoticed, these decorative features can add a lovely splash of colour to your book and give an eye-catching, professional finish. They are available in a range of colours and styles.

Ribbon markers

Coloured marker ribbons Coloured ribbon marker

Practical and attractive, they help readers to keep their place as they browse through your book. They are available in a variety of colours, so please ask our sales team if you want to match to a specific colour.

Printed or coloured endpapers

Printed end papers 

The endpapers are the first pages you see when you open a hardback book. Also referred to as the endsheets they are generally made from slightly heavier paper stock than the book’s pages. A variety of coloured papers and textures can be used, they can be printed with a pattern, image or design.


Cover finishes

A variety of finishes can be used to add visual interest to the cover of your hardback book. Varnishes offer book covers a higher level of protection and help to give designs a more tactile feel. Spot varnishes can also be used to highlight specific parts of the design.

Cover laminates


Cover lamination is available in several types including gloss, matt and soft touch. This type of finish can work very well on hardback books as it helps to add depth to the cover design and protects the book from scrapes and scratches. Combining matt laminates with a gloss UV spot varnish can make areas of the cover stand out, such as the text or the images.

Metallic foil stamping, embossing and blind embossing


Another way of adding a stylish, elegant finish to a book is to use metallic foil stamping. Alternatively, you can simply use embossing or blind embossing to add depth and texture to your designs.

Cloth, faux leather and textured covers

Partial cloth cover Cloth bound book cover

You can give your book a more traditional look by choosing a cloth or faux leather cover. Or using a popular cover material called Wibalin which is available in a variety of textures and in 50 different colours.

Different cover materials can also be combined to create a more versatile design. For example, the spine can be cloth covered, while the rest is printed and laminated (as shown above on the left). It’s the perfect choice for a high-end print run.


Dust jackets and slipcases

Dust jackets


The dust jacket is a very important part of a hardback book. Transforming the look and feel of a publication. They will be laminated to make them more resilient and give additional protection preventing the cover from damage.

Although dust jackets are often printed with a duplicate of the book cover design, they can allow a different material to be used for the book cover. The inside flaps can contain additional information about the author.


Partial dust jacket

Partial dust cover

If you don’t want to cover the entire surface of your book with a dust jacket, you can opt for a partial jacket instead. These wrap around the cover and are attached on the inside. They allow additional information to be displayed that isn’t already on the cover.

Slipcases and boxes

Slipcase for hardback book Slipcase

Slipcases provide hardback books with extra protection and help to enhance the look of the finished product. Boxes are often made from a thinner cardboard and may be used to house several books together, such as a series or collection.

Find out more about the various hardback print options available by getting in touch with a member of our sales team.

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