Printer’s Glossary

Essential vocabulary for bookbinding.

Files – Layout




There are many technical terms in the world of printing which are important to master in order to be able to complete a project.

In this section, find the essential vocabulary concerning the work of binding, the last step in the production process of a book and which requires significant technical know-how.

Dust jacket⮯

Gutter (Mors collé)⮯

Hardcover binding⮯

Printed test copy⮯

Saddle-stitch (stapled) binding⮯
Softcover (perfect) binding⮯

Spiral binding⮯

Wire’o binding⮯


Also referred to as “scoring,” creasing involves adding grooves, manually or with the help of a machine, to cover paper to facilitate folding on the sides of the spine or on the folds of the flaps. Double scoring can be done on the cover to make it easier to open the book.

Dust jacket

Protective sheet added around the book. The jacket has two flaps which allow it to hold to the book. It is printed on paper that is lighter than the cover and generally has the same visual as the cover itself.

Hardcover Books with Dust Jackets


Extension of the front and back covers that is folded into the book and can serve as a built-in bookmark. Flaps can also lend elegance to a printed book.

Gutter (Mors collé)

Part of the book along the spine that is glued on so that the cover is securely glued. It is generally 5 mm for perfect binding and 6 mm for cash binding. This area contains the 3mm area of sawing-in for perfect binding (see definition above) and the bead of glue that joins the inside of the cover to the first and last pages of the book.

Hardcover binding

Binding process which consists in gluing or sewing together the inside pages, on which the book cover is then laminated to cardboard.

Printed test copy

Also called “proof copy” or “galley proof,” the test copy is a single copy produced before printing the final run. Printed and bound, the test copy is an opportunity to confirm the visual layout in print, proofread the text, and also preview the quality of the product. Check out the complete checklist in our blog post about test copies.

Saddle-stitch (stapled) binding

Binding process which consists in binding the pages together by several staples in the fold.


For softcover books, this is the part of the paper that is milled (usually 3 mm) to ensure good penetration of the glue into the edge of the block of paper that will be glued to the cover.

Softcover (perfect) binding

The most common book binding process, which consists of gluing the cover of the book to the block of the inside pages.


Side of the book on which is recalled the title of the book, the name of the author and, if applicable, the logo of the publishing house. Usually, the spine of French-language publications is read from the bottom up to make them easier to read when the books are on a shelf, while those of English-language publications are read from top to bottom to be read when the book is laid flat.

We recommend that you avoid writing text on a spine that is less than 7 mm (1/4 inch). All our quotes include the required spine width, calculated according to your book’s specifications (trim size, page count, paper, etc.). You can also use our online calculator.

Spine on a Cover File

Spiral binding

Binding process which consists of perforating the inside and cover paper and then winding a plastic or metal spiral through the perforations. The main advantage of this type of binding is that it allows the book to lay flat when open. It is especially recommended for sheet music, journals or agendas.


This term relates to all paper block cutting operations before and after binding.

Wire-O binding

A binding process very similar to spiral binding, except that it is a comb with metal rings and not a spiral that allows the pages to hold together. It gives a more luxurious look than its spiral plastic counterpart.

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