Printing Lingo: What does “Saddle Stitch” mean?

 

 

To form a book, the Saddle Stitch method uses wire staples to secure folded sheets of paper

In the printing industry, Saddle Stitching refers to a very popular book binding method in which folded sheets are gathered together one inside the other and then stapled through the fold line with wire staples.  The staples pass through the folded crease from the outside and are clinched between the centermost pages.  Two staples are commonly used but larger books may require more staples along the spine.

Why is it called Saddle Stitching?

Saddle Stitching may sound like an odd name for a book binding process that places wire staples through sheets of paper but in the printing industry stapling is commonly called Stitching. Also, the collated sheets are draped over a Saddle-like apparatus during the stapling/stitching process, hence the name Saddle Stitching.

The Saddle Stitch Process.

To help illustrate this bindery process, let’s use a Saddle Stitched booklet with a finished page size of 8.5″ x 11″ as an example.  The pages and cover of this booklet would be made from 11″ x 17″ sheets that are folded in half to 8.5″ x 11″.  The folded sheets would be nestled one inside the other and then stapled together along the folded crease or spine.  Each 11″ x 17″ sheet folded in half creates four pages of the book.  By its nature, Saddle Stitching requires the book’s page count to be in multiples of four.  Keep this in mind during your book layout to avoid any unplanned blank pages.

The Saddle Stitching bindery operation occurs after the pages and cover have been printed, partially folded and nestled together.  After being joined by staples, the cover and pages of the book are folded tighter together.  Some thicker Saddle Stitched books are trimmed along the edge opposite the spine to keep the pages uniform and neat in appearance.  Books and other documents that are commonly Saddle Stitched include programs, wall calendars, booklets, newsletters, pamphlets, direct mailers, comic books, thinner magazines and catalogs.

Some General Guidelines.

The Saddle Stitch method is most effective for binding booklets and publications with around 64 pages or less.  Books with more pages may become bulky when folded and may not lie as flat as desired when Saddle Stitched.  Also, whenever laying out a book it is important to use ample blank space (margins) around the content of your pages.  After the book has been bound, you don’t want any print buried too deep in the fold of the book’s spine or too near an edge that may be trimmed.  To prevent issues such as these, it is always a good idea to check with your printer in the early stages of book design.

If you have any questions about Saddle Stitching (staple binding) or have any other book binding or printing questions just give us a call.  We’ll be happy to help in any way we can.

Take care!  Keith

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About The Author
Keith Beaty is the owner of Formax Printing Solutions in St. Louis, MO. Formax provides a complete array of traditional and on demand printing services, including project management and layout assistance. Specialty areas include full color printing (digital and offset), all types of soft cover books, laminated printing, plus fulfillment and mailing services. If you ever have a printing related question or project you would like to discuss, Keith is always happy to help. He can be reached at 314-434-5500 or 866-367-6221. Keith and Formax have been providing worry-free printing and related services for 25 years.

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