What is a flexi bound book?
This binding style has grown massively in popularity over the last few years and the trend appears to continue.
Sitting somewhere between a paperback and a hardback binding, the end result is a lightweight book with a flexible cover, usually with a round spine and endpapers. The book will lie fairly flat when open which makes it convenient to use.
What are the benefits of flexi binding?
Flexi binding is less expensive than hardback binding but offers a higher perceived value than a conventional paperback. It also offers the opportunity to use materials on your cover such as cloths and imitation cloths, leathers and PUs.
Uses of flexi binding
The format lends itself equally well to cookery titles, field and travel guides where flexibility is key but something more durable than a paperback cover is called for.
Flexi binding – the science part
The cover is made from an art board – which is the same material used on for paperback covers, however the cover is diecut and folded over and endpapers are then glued to the inside, just as with a cased book. It is generally considered best practice to use a C2S rather than a C1S as it gives more flexibility to the end result. Usually the spine is round and head and tail bands can be affixed for decoration – although this is entirely optional!
The actual production process is similar to that of a cased book, with the main difference being the use of art board rather than grey boards with a PLC. As such flexi binding is always done on a casing-in machine and never on a paperback line.
There are two different varieties of flexi binding which involve 2 different production methods. The first involves printing straight onto artcard with the cover diecut to allow the edges to be folded over. Endpapers are then glued over the inside cover which hides the folded over section.
The second version is used when you are applying a material to the cover – for example a PU or a cloth or variations thereof! Again an artcard cover is used but as it will be covered in your chosen material it is unprinted. A C2S is the best choice for flexibility. There are no diecut flaps here to be folded over, it is just cut to size and the material wrapped round, glued in place and folded over the edges and again, the endpapers glued inside.
With either version, the resulting book is lightweight, great to use and has a high quality feel.
One interesting “add on” that flexi binding offers over cased, is that you can add flaps to the cover – as you might on a paperback. It is of course, also perfectly possible to add a jacket to a flexi bound book.
Traditional Bible flexi binding uses a latex board instead of art board. This gives a truly flexible feel which will not crack at all as you bend it. This is of course more expensive than using board but for a truly high end job, it is well worth considering.
The maximum weight art boards for flexi binding are as follows:
C1S (coated one side) – 260-280gsm
C2S (coated two sides) – 350gsm
It is worth noting that a 350gsm C2S is a similar feel in weight to a 260gsm C1S – the process of coating both sides of the paper compresses the card so despite the technical weight of paper being the same, the card is thinner.
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