File Preparation

Catalogs & Magazines


A Guide to Choosing the Right Bindery for your Needs

There are many reasons for printing a catalog: You need a product catalog to sell your services or products, you would like to stay in touch with your clients and print a customer magazine, or you wish to print a book or manual. No matter what your needs, we have you covered.

Types of Binding Services Available at

Here is an introduction to our magazine printing services, as well as a quick review and information on how to set up your print files for a high-quality result.


1. Saddle Stitching

As defined by Merriam Webster, saddle stitching is a type of bookbinding in which the pages are folded and sewn together at the spine, then glued to the cover. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the term comes from the fact that this method was once done by hand, using a needle and thread to "saddle stitch" the pages together.

The sheets are folded and inserted within each other. The fold becomes the spine (or saddle) of the product, where it will be stapled, holding the sheets of paper (images 1A and 1B above). We offer stitched bindery for magazines and catalogs of 8 to 132 pages.

Please be advised that high interior page counts require thin paper stocks to allow saddle stitching. Low page counts allow for both thin and thicker paper stocks. The paper options available on our webshop correlate with the maximum interior thickness we recommend for a high-quality result.

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2. Perfect Binding

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the perfect binding as a type of bookbinding that uses glue to bind pages together at the spine, creating a paperback book. According to Merriam Webster, unlike other types of bookbinding, perfect binding does not require the use of staples, stitching, or any specified tools.

Perfect binding is a popular choice for paperback books all over the world, as it is less expensive than other binding methods and can be done quickly. Perfect binding also allows for a variety of cover materials to be used, including paper, cardboard, and cloth.

Perfect binding is the standard for paperback books and catalogs for a larger number of pages (images 2A and 2B above). Printing a book with perfect bindery starting at 28 pages using thick paper stock is possible.

However, Perfect Bindery is best used for catalogs that hold more than 64 pages. The paper sheets are folded in half and glued to the cover, side by side, with a type of flexible adhesive or hot glue. The remaining three sides of the sheets are then trimmed.

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Pros and Cons: Saddle Stitch vs. Perfect Bindery

As discussed above, when it comes to binding your documents, there are two main types of bindery - saddle stitch and perfect binding. Both have pros and cons that you'll need to consider before deciding.

Here's a complete overview of the pros and cons of each type of bindery:

Pros of Saddle Stitch Bindery:

1. Saddle stitch bindery is the most common type of bindery for small booklets and catalogs all over the world. It's relatively inexpensive and easy to do yourself, but it's not as durable as other types of bindery.

2. Saddle stitch bindery is fast and easy to do, making it a great option for last-minute projects.

3. As it is also very affordable/inexpensive, you won't need to invest in any special equipment.

4. This bindery can be done with various tools and materials, so you can use whatever you have.

Cons of Saddle Stitch Bindery:

1. Saddle stitch bindery isn't as durable as other options, so it's not ideal for documents that will be handled frequently.

2. Getting the pages to line up perfectly can also be tricky, which can result in a less professional appearance.

Pros of Perfect Bindery:

1. Perfect bindery is often used for larger books, such as inspiration novels and textbooks. It's more expensive than saddle stitch bindery but also much more durable.

2. Perfect bindery creates a much more polished and professional look.

3. Its high durability makes it a good choice for documents that will be handled frequently.

Cons of Perfect Binding:

1. Perfect binding can be more time-consuming and expensive than saddle stitch binding.

2. You'll also need to invest in specialized tools and equipment, which can be a bit of an investment.

So, which type of bindery is right for you? It depends on your needs and budget. Saddle stitch binding is a great option if you're looking for an affordable, quick, and easy solution. But perfect binding might be a better choice if you need something that looks more polished and professional.

Magazine Page Counts for In-House & Commercial Printing

When placing an order, the page number refers to the total number of pages of your magazine, including the cover and back cover. Pages are counted single-sided and not double-sided (front/back) or as facing pages or spreads.

You count your cover as page 1 and its backside as page 2, the first page of content is page 3, etc., same as flipping through a magazine.

The page count must be a multiplier of 4. We can work with other page counts in perfect bound catalogs, but it requires a custom quote and leads to higher prices than choosing an option multiplied by 4. For saddle-stitched in-house or commercial magazines, a page count multiplier of 4 is mandatory.


File Preparation For Catalogs

How do I submit files for a catalog printing job?

Please submit a multi-page .PDF-file with all pages in chronological order, ideally as PDF/X3-2002 standard.

IMPORTANT: Do not send pages as spreads (facing pages) and do not impose pages.

All Pages require 0.0625" bleed on all sides and should contain enough space as a safe area. If you cannot create a multi-page .PDF, all files must be numbered correctly in their file name (e. g., page_01.jpg, page_02.jpg, page_03.jpg, etc.), and you will need to add a design service option to your order, and our graphic artists will prepare the print ready file for you.

Correct page orientation is extremely important to avoid nasty surprises.


How much safe zone does my magazine need?

We recommend planning a generous safe zone, as you can minimize production-related issues that way. If you would like to keep close distances to the document edge, please make sure you follow these guidelines:

Safe zone for magazines with perfect binding should be at least 0.125" on all four sides. You need to plan more safe space on page 2/3 and the 3rd/2nd last page of your magazine. As part of the binding process, 0.26" of those pages will be glued together. This area is not visible in the final product (please see image 2B above). This limitation affects only those four pages mentioned; all other pages are fine.

A safe zone for saddle stitch catalogs should be planned with more care, especially for saddle stitch magazines with high page counts or thicker paper stock. A safe zone of 0.125" is sufficient for all outside edges of your catalog. The higher your page count goes, the more safe zone should be planned at the inside/fold, as all binding allowance will be removed from the inner edges.

What is a binding allowance?

Binding allowance happens when you create a saddle stitch catalog with high page counts or thick paper stock.

For low page counts, you do not need special consideration in your print file as this is not a huge issue since the binding allowance is small.

However, when preparing files for saddle-stitch with a high page count, be aware of the binding allowance, and please ensure a sufficient safe zone towards your inner fold. The binding allowance is removed from the inner sides (fold); for that reason, we recommend increasing your safe zone at the fold as you work towards the center (see above chart) or making your safe zone significantly larger overall to avoid text vanishing in the fold.

Binding allowance is subject to the thickness of paper stock, as well as the page count of your magazine:

Binding Allowance

If you have any questions, please contact us; we'll be happy to help. It is also a good idea to add one of our file service options to your order and ask our design team about the binding allowance if you have concerns.