Comic Book Binding Instructions & FAQ
Starting a Comic Order
Whether this is your first order or you are building your library, the information below can help you make each book in your collection exactly as you want it. So let’s get started!
Select the materials you want bound into hardcover books.
- FAQ: How many books in one volume?
- Please limit the number of comics in one volume to 25 issues.
- Or if you are using TP/HC’s you can combine up to 2″ of these into one volume.
- You can combine Comics, TPs, and HCs into one book with a maximum size of 2″ using DFAB, Oversew, or PUR Binding Methods.
Create 1 Order Form for each volume of books to be bound.
Use the information below to make your choices.
Bundle each volume in the order you want it bound and place the order form on the top.
- FAQ: How to pack the material for binding?
- Remove all material from bags & boards before bundling it.
- We will remove all covers from TP/HCs unless instructed to leave them on.
- Avoid using tape on the order form. This paper will travel with the book and tape likes to stick to paper!
Pack all the volumes into a box(es) and ship to the bindery. We’ll get the books started and notify you when complete. If you are designing your own custom graphic covers, we will send measurements to help you finalize your layouts once the books are bound and trimmed.
Double-Fan Adhesive Binding (DFAB)
DFAB is a library binding style method that utilizes polyvinyl acetate glue (PVA) instead of thread for the binding. This method provides binding durability and flexibility, is our most requested method for all types of library binding, and allows books to lay flat. Works well for comic books, individual pages, and trade paperbacks, or a combination.
Note: DFAB is great for nearly all comic books. The only exception is for very glossy paper (like acetate or foil covers). DFAB can still be used on glossy pages, but with significantly reduced margins on those pages.
Polyurethane Reactive Adhesive Binding (PUR)
PUR is an extremely strong glue binding option, commonly used on textbooks, yearbooks, and various edition binding projects. Great for binding glossy coated paper stock, and can accommodate a combination of individual comics, trades, and loose pages.
Note: PUR bindings cannot be rounded and will be finished with a hard, square spine.
Oversewing is an extremely durable, old-fashioned method of page attachment, and is still popular in certain applications, including comics! Oversewing generally takes up more of the inner margin than any other option. Accommodates all paper types.
Note: Oversewing is invasive to the inner margin — it may consume up to 3/8″ of margin, and does not lay as flat as other methods.
Smyth Sewn Binding (Sew Through Fold)
With Smyth Sewn binding, the thread is driven “through the fold” of a folded signature. In comic book binding, each individual issue is treated as a signature. This method has no impact on the inner margin of the original comic books, and lays flat when opened.
Note: Can only be used with individual or “floppy” issues. Cannot accommodate Trade Paperbacks. ALL Smyth sewn bindings will be rounded.
Note: a small amount of gutter loss will be seen between each comic on the covers, due to gluing up.
Note: We will bind up to 25 issues (firm maximum) using Smyth Sewn binding, but suggest 18 issues at the most for the best results.
Rounding the spine gives the book a curved spine; a thin, flexible backing is added under the cover. Books not rounded will have a flat/hard spine, and a hard cover board will be added under the spine.
Note: PUR books cannot be rounded.
Note: We insist SMYTH books be rounded.
Note: Rounding the book allows it to open and lay flat more easily.
Rounded vs. Non-Rounded:
Books are trimmed on the three exposed edges after being bound, and prior to rounding. This gives the books a clean, smooth edge.
Note: How much is trimmed will depend on the size of the books. Not all comics are the same size, even within the same series. To estimate how much will be trimmed, put the books in order and find the smallest book. That is about the size all of the books will be at the end.
Note: All three edges of the book must be trimmed, or none.
Note: Comic Books are “jogged” to the top, meaning all the comics are lined up flush on the top edge. So the majority of trimming is taken off the bottom edge where comics traditionally have more margin.
Trimmed vs. Non-Trimmed:
All books will receive an off-white end sheet. This is a heavy paper that joins the book block (the bound comics) to the cover.
Black end sheets are available for an additional charge – but only for DFAB and PUR books.
Cloth Cover – or – Graphic Cover?
Cloth books options include different colors and types of material, foil stamping, die stamping, and other decorative elements. They have an attractive “Library” appearance and are extremely durable.
Graphic Cover books allow complete customization of design, present an attractive image throughout the cover. You can design your own, or take advantage of our in-house design services.
The choice is yours! Below you’ll find information about both options.
Lettering is added to the spine and/or cover of a cloth book using foil stamping in our standard type in either black, white, or gold. Up to 7 lines of lettering is included on the spine.
Size 18 pt type is used by default, but an increase/decrease in size may be needed depending on the book and will be done at the bindery’s discretion.
Note: Please enter your lettering on the order form in the direction you would like it stamped. If the book’s size requires it to be rotated we will do so.
Note: Additional lines of lettering and lettering on the front cover are available for an additional charge.
Note: Additional colors of foil are available at an additional charge. Colors available include: Brown, Purple, Yellow, Blue, Green, Copper, Red, Silver, and Orange.
Die stamps are metal stamps that can apply foil in a pattern or logo onto a cloth book. Houchen Bindery Ltd has a collection available for general use, and new die stamps can be created at any time.
Note: Die stamps are a solid piece of metal and cannot be adjusted in size. New die stamps usually start at $75 and increase with size. Also note, once created, the die stamp will remain at Houchen Bindery Ltd and be available for general use. If you would like the die stamp returned, there will be a fee (30% of the cost of the die) which is the charge for Houchen Bindery Ltd to have it made and shipped (which we don’t add to your charges normally). A request for the die stamp to be returned to you must be made when it is created.
Panel Lines are horizontal lines of foil placed on the spine of a book. They are decorative and a great way to divide content on the spine. Each line is $1.50.
On the order form, simply draw or type a line across the Spine Layout portion to indicate where you want the lines placed. They will be the same color as the type.
This is an option where a printed image is laminated and applied directly to the boards of the book in place of the cloth. We offer a variety of options for design, or you can provide your own.
Customer Provided Cover
Note: Covers received that are not sized correctly will be sent back to the customer for edits and there will be a $5 charge to reprint the covers.
Note: We will provide the SPINE, the COVER WIDTH, and the COVER HEIGHT. You will need to add these together and add 0.75″ BLEED to all four sides.
For example: Spine is 1.5″, Cover is 6″ Wide and 10″ Height
0.75 + 6 + 1.5 + 6 + 0.75 = 15″ Total Width
0.75 + 10.25 + 0.75 = 11.75″ Total Height
Tip: Let the images on the cover extend into the bleed, but not text or logos.
HBL Simple Cover Design
Note: No Substitutions. No edits to the COVER images, no logos, titles images, or characters on the spine.
Simple Cover Design Example/Template:
HBL Premium Cover Design
For an additional charge we can design a cover for you. Select a cover image you like and we will incorporate that into the front cover design. We will also extract logos for the spine and front cover, add text per your instructions, and create a cover image gallery on the back cover.
Note: Our designers will follow your written instructions on the binding slip. We will not send a design proof for your review unless we need clarification. Please provide detailed instructions.
Premium Cover Design Example:
Frequently Asked Questions
- FAQ: Can I add my own pages or a Table of Contents to the book?
- Yes, using DFAB, Oversew, or PUR Binding you can combine multiple types of paper, pages, comics, etc.
- All material needs to be cut to size before submitting. If you print pages/TOCs they should be trimmed to size by you first.
- FAQ: How do I send my cover files to the bindery?
- After receiving the dimensions for your order, please submit your files as PDFs.
- Files should be flattened, without layers, when you send them.
- You can use the “upload” feature on our website (upper right hand corner) to upload your images. You can also send the artwork via email, or share a link to a media source like Dropbox or Google Drive.
- FAQ: How long does it take?
- Our goal is to produce the best possible book and as quickly as possible. We strive to complete comic book orders in 6-8 weeks. But comic binding is a labor-intensive and time-consuming process. We produce thousands of books every week for libraries, schools, universities, printers, and individuals. So, comic books, and other types of one at a time books, are done between these projects.
- Custom designs, die stamps, or other special requests may lengthen turnaround times.
- Summer (May-August) are our peak season and you may experience significant delays during these months.
- FAQ: Will I get updates? Can you tell me where my order is in the process?
- We will contact you if we have any questions in our process. Most projects are checked in within 2 weeks of being received and most questions come up at check in.
- For graphic covers, we will send measurements as soon as your books are trimmed and measured.
- When the books are complete we will send you an invoice via email, and ship upon receiving payment.
- We will NOT provide updates throughout the process.
- FAQ: Do I need to remove staples or covers to trade paperbacks?
- You do not NEED to do so, we will do both. But many people prefer to remove these themselves.
- If you wish to have certain sections or ads removed, please mark each page/section clearly using a sticky note. Make sure the sticky note protrudes from the edge so it can be found easily by our staff. Requests to remove any material other than covers may result in additional charges ($15 per 15 minute interval).
- FAQ: Can I remove pages from comics, like ads and back covers?
- YES — Using DFAB, Oversew, and PUR Binding methods we can bind loose pages.
- This needs to be done before you send them to us.
- Pages need to be neatly re-assembled with a smooth and straight edge at the spine.
- An additional charge will be applied to any order that is received that requires significant work to straighten the material.
- FAQ: How can I match a book I had done previously?
- The best way to match a book is to send it with. We will return it with the newly bound book.
- We are unable to match foil stamping done by a publisher or another bindery.
- Next best option is to provide pictures with a ruler showing the entire book and spine and clear markings on the ruler.
- FAQ: Can I add my own pages or a Table of Contents to the book?