Quality is a relative term, though, since perfect-bound books never look as classy as case bound books, says David Spiel of Spiel Associates. There are very definite points of distinction within the adhesive binding segment itself, he adds. “Some of the less expensive perfect binders just notch the book block. Since only those areas get good glue penetration, the books can fall apart with heavy use. You need full milling and notching to get a strong book.

“Also, the best looking of perfect-bound books have hinged covers,” Spiel continues. “This means the cover is scored in four places so the book opens up along the score and the glue line is hidden.”

The company exec cautions potential buyers of adhesive binders not to get so entranced with automation features on the equipment that they fail to adequately consider the quality of the product coming out the end of it. If cost becomes an issue, he recommends buyers make tradeoffs in automation features rather than the robustness of a machine in order to get the best bind quality.

Running Hot and Cold

Another type of flexibility a perfect binder can offer is the ability to apply both hot-melt and cold glue utilizing the same machine, points out Mark Pellman, marketing manager of Baum Corp. in Sydney, OH. “This enables the processing of coated and uncoated stocks without having to be concerned with silicone release on coated materials,” he explains.

During these unpredictable economic times, Pellman says he’s seen all segments of the industry looking into areas of service they have not traditionally provided. “In particular, the companies moving more into digital imaging are buying prefect binders,” he adds.

Digital printers and short-run book manufacturers have more exacting requirements of an adhesive binder, says Andrew J. Fetherman, manager of the Digital Finishing Div. at Muller Martini. “They’re printing jobs in which every book might be a different size, or jobs with lot sizes that are very small,” he explains.

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