Improving the Appeal of Your Hard Cover Book

book bindingSo you’ve already made the decision to go hardback vs paperback and now you need to know what your options are.  Hard cover or hardback books are known for their durability, giftability, and overall longevity in the literary world.

There are many things you can do to improve the appearance and functionality of your hardcover book during the printing process.


Headbands are the small pieces of cloth or silk found at the top and bottom of the spine on hardcover books.  Traditionally these were part of the construction of the book and helped hold the signatures (or groupings of pages) together.

Today headbands are primarily a decorative element.  Even so, they add an aesthetic to a hardbound book as well as an air of quality.  A small detail like this can increase the overall attractiveness of a book even though the detail is consciously overlooked.

Three Piece Board or Hardcover

You wouldn’t know it to look at a three piece hard cover but it started life as separate pieces.  If you’ve ever taken the jacket off of a hardcover book and seen the two-toned color of the board underneath, this is what we’re talking about.

Typically the spine and a portion of the front and back cover of the book are made of one material.  The rest of the front and back cover are attached to make the three piece case.

Foil Stamping

Stamping can be done to all sorts of books but it looks especially nice on hardcovers.  Foil stamping is a process where a machine stamps letters, symbols, or insignia into the spine or cover of a book using traditional or colored foil material.

This decorative method is one way to draw attention to your book when you don’t have an outer dust jacket.  One of the trickier aspects of foil stamping is file preparation.  Die makers need to make a die off of these files so only the artwork needed to create a die is needed.

Stamped or embossed images should appear as an outline and avoid putting solid colors next to fine lines.  Riverside Group has an excellent post on foil stamping and its intricacies.

Built in Marking Ribbon

A marking ribbon or ribbon insert is a thin ribbon affixed to the spine of a book. It serves as a built in book mark.  Even though these are found mostly on reference books or journals, they can add a nice touch to a traditional piece of content.

Case bound books are almost always going to be a more expensive option and the more features you add, the more the cost goes up.  That’s just something to keep in mind for authors trying to decide which route to go.

For special addition books or for titles that need to draw an audience, case bound books and the unique details that can be applied to them are a great option to go with.

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