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What is Perfect Bound Printing?

Fri, Oct 5, 2018 @ 08:22 AM Ginny Crispin 0

what is perfect bound printing?

Perfect binding refers to a popular binding method that features a flat spine. The pages are stacked together, and the cover of the booklet is placed over and around it, attached by the application of a strong yet flexible glue along the binding edge. The other three sides of the book are trimmed down to produce a clean, smooth and “perfect” square look. 

perfect bound printing diagram


holiday open spread perfect bound magazine

Is Perfect Binding Right for Your Project?

Perfect binding isn’t limited to authors who are printing books of 500+ pages! The minimum page requirement is 28 pages and plenty of businesses and organizations use this method on a variety of printing projects because of its highly professional appearance and relatively low cost, in both short runs and larger order quantities. It is commonly used for a variety of publications, such as manuals, reports, catalogs, magazines, photo books and more.

stack of perfect bound magazinesWe know that perfect bound books are a no-brainer when it comes to high page counts. With any booklet that contains more than 92 pages, perfect binding is definitely superior and highly recommended. However, it can be slightly more expensive than other binding options.

The primary benefits of perfect bound books are that they look professional and offer great visual appeal. Also, there is the option of placing content on the spine, such as an author, book title or any type of design. This is something that neither saddle-stitch binding or spiral and wire-o binding offer. Perfect binding definitely produces a high quality and professional look that can’t be matched.


What Options are There for Perfect Bound Book Printing?

Your perfect bound book can be printed in a variety of sizes and customized exactly to your needs in order to create a truly unique and visually stunning booklet.

Size – we offer many different sizes that your booklet can be printed to. You will save costs by choosing standard sizes, such as 5.5” x 8.5” or 8.5” x 11”. Other sizes include 4.25” x 11”, 6” x 6”, 9” x 9” and custom sizing. Whatever your vision is for your booklet, an online printing company will bring it to life!

Paper – you can choose between matte, gloss or uncoated papers in a variety of thickness and weights. Cover paper options can be used for the outside front / back pages of a booklet and are more substantial and sturdier than regular text papers. They have a similar feel to cardstock, thin cardboard or a file folder. For the interior pages of a booklet, text paper options will provide a flexibility and thinness that is similar to high quality printer paper or the interior pages of a magazine. For a breakdown of all our paper options and their different uses, click here!

Finishing Touches – We recommend treating your booklet cover with UV High Gloss Coating, a shiny gloss coating applied over printed cover weight paper to make photos and colors pop. It will provide your final product with durability, a professional look and quality finish. UV High Gloss also protects the outside of your booklet or magazine from scratching and scuffing.


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Designing a Perfect Bound Book

If you have decided that your printing project is going to be perfect bound, there are a few design tips to keep in mind:

  1. Don’t Lose Yourself in the Gutter – Unlike a saddle-stitched booklet whose open pages lay flat, perfect bound books are glued at the spine and cannot lay completely open without breaking. During the binding process, an area of each page will disappear into the spine, also known as the gutter. Depending on how many pages are in the booklet, the gutter can take up between 1/4” – 3/8” of each page. It’s good practice to leave at least a quarter inch of safety margin space on the sides of each page. Be careful to keep note of which pages will be on the left or right side of your perfect bound book so you can place your safety margins on the correct side. Keep all text and any images that need to remain visible inside the safety margin.

good and bad examples of gutter safety margin placement


  1. Be Careful with Two-Page Spreads – If you decide that you want one image to be featured across two pages, keep in mind that the alignment of the photo where the pages meet together might not perfectly match up. When an image covers two pages, the gutter area will still obscure at least a quarter inch off of each side. It might seem like a small amount of space to worry about, but it can drastically affect the photo’s appearance. It helps to choose photos that won't be so obvious that there's a gap missing (example: a person's face might be a lot more noticeable than a photo with less detail).

good and bad examples of two-page spreads


  1. Don’t Forget the Spine – A unique feature of perfect bound books is the ability to design the spine. You can keep it a solid color, add text or have one continuous image covering the front cover across to the back cover. The most important part is to set up your file correctly because the width of the spine needs to be exactly the width of the book, which depends on how many pages the booklet has. For books with a solid color or one single image, this isn’t too hard to plan for. But if it’s a different color or an image, things can get tricky and calculating the width of your spine can be difficult. It’s best to be in contact with an online printer early in the design process to avoid any mistakes and disappointment in the final product.

good and bad examples of spine alignment


PrintingCenterUSA is happy to answer any questions you have about perfect book binding or any of our full color digital printing services. Call us at 1-800-995-1555  or send us an e-mail.


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6 Tips For Affordable Booklet Printing

Tue, Sep 25, 2018 @ 02:10 PM Ginny Crispin 7

6 tips for affordable booklet printing

We understand that printing a booklet online can be intimidating and confusing. Everyone is looking for ways to save money and whether you’re printing 10 or 10,000 copies, booklet printing can get quite expensive. What paper should you choose, and what type of binding is best suited for your project? It helps to understand how each decision you make for your booklet will affect its overall costs. Here are a few things to take into consideration that will help you save money and still maintain quality and design.

1. Stick with Standard Page Sizes & Save

Deciding on the size of your booklet should be your first step. Choosing a standard size will always save you money because it produces less waste in the production process. The paper standard and most common print sizes are 8.5” x 11” and 5.5” x 8.5” and these sizes offer the best value for just about any booklet project. 


booklet print sizes - landscape - portrait - square


Portrait orientation refers to a book that has a width dimension smaller than its height dimension (see diagram above). This format has a vertical shape, which is regarded as the most common choice for printed book projects. It is also known as a “long edge bind” because the spine of the book runs along the longer of the two dimensions. Portrait sizes of 8.5” x 11” and 5.5” x 8.5” offer the best value and is the most economical choice you can make for your booklet project.

• Landscape orientation refers to a book that has a width dimension larger than its height dimension (see diagram above). The landscape format has a horizontal shape and is not as common as the portrait style. It is also known as a “short edge bind” because the spine of the book runs along the shorter of the two dimensions. Please keep in mind when choosing a landscape orientation instead of portrait that the costs do increase.

• Square orientation refers to a book that has width and height dimensions that are equal (see diagram above). Square size booklet costs will be higher than a standardized portrait size.

If none of these sizes fit your printing needs, most printing centers offer custom sizes, although this option is going to cost more. It is important to keep in mind that a custom size can have huge impact on your overall price - even when the difference is as small as ¼” off of a standard size. This can come as a big shock when you are ready to print your booklet. Unless you have a very specific reason for a custom print size, why pay more money? It’s best to keep with the standardized sizes recommended to keep costs low. Or, if needed, make sure you know the price before you start designing.


2. Let's Talk Paper

An important factor in online booklet printing is the paper. Printing companies offer a variety of papers that are thick or thin, glossy or matte, and more. Picking the right type of paper can be confusing and making the wrong choice can end up being costly. Here are some tips.

Booklet Covers

 Self-Cover (soft cover) is when the cover and the inside paper are the same weight. Our best value suggestion when producing a self-cover booklet is utilizing 100# Text (Gloss or Matte) for both the inside and cover papers. The paper is not too flimsy and still has a good texture to it that keeps your final product looking and feeling professional.

 Plus-Cover (cardstock) is when the cover is thicker than the inside pages. The extra stiffness will make your booklet feel better to hold and flip through. Our recommendation is to use an 80# Cover (Gloss or Matte) with 100# Gloss Text for the inside paper. The cardstock cover will give your product a more formal and substantial feel. 80# Cover is also not so thick that the paper flexes open when the booklet is closed. The 100# text on the inside maintains a level of quality consistent with the type of cover you are using.

Paper Types

We know how confusing it can be to understand all the different types of paper there are to choose from. There are so many options that it can be hard to decide which paper is best suited for your booklet project and will give you the best value. Here is a quick breakdown:

infographic on different paper types offered and their uses

We hope this breakdown helps you better understand the various paper types and that you have a better idea on how to decide on the best paper for your booklet project. But sometimes there’s nothing better than feeling the paper for yourself. Request a sample pack and receive our paper swatch plus lots of other product samples where you can feel and compare different types of papers!


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Gloss vs. Matte vs. Uncoated

In the infographic above, you may have noticed that each paper type comes in either gloss, matte or uncoated. What does this mean? Papers are either coated or uncoated. Uncoated paper is non-reflective like printer paper. Coated papers have matte or gloss finishes. Matte stocks are smoother and more refined than uncoated, but not shiny like gloss papers. The coated papers produce sharper and more vibrant printing.  

• Gloss paper has a shiny and lustrous smooth coated gloss finish. Excellent for making color  printing pop and catching your customer’s attention. Gloss coated papers are commonly used to convey professionalism, and the coating results in rich colors that makes images and photographs really stand out. Catalogs, magazines and programs are good examples of projects best printed on gloss paper.

• Matte paper exhibits more of a diffused sheen that enhances the contrast of photographs and provides a smoother look than uncoated papers. This makes matte paper an excellent choice for jobs that require high quality color reproduction without the reflective shine that comes with gloss paper. Matte paper is glare free, making it easier to read when there is a lot of typed copy. It is superior to that of uncoated papers. Matte paper is a popular choice for art books, lookbooks, photo books and other projects that require a subtler shine. Photos of people and other flesh toned images really stand out on matte paper since there is less reflection.

• Uncoated paper has no coating applied and is a higher grade of paper than normal copy paper. Uncoated paper delivers perfectly printed pieces with stunningly sharp images and bright, compelling photos. It is easy to write on and a popular choice for journals, coloring books, manuals, workbooks or other materials that are filled with mostly text.


3. For Best Value & Price, Choose Saddle-Stitch Binding

So now we are moving on to picking the best and most affordable binding for your booklet. So many options! There’s saddle-stitch, perfect bound, wire-o and spiral. Do you know what the differences are and what will best suit your needs? See below for all the different binding options and what they are best suited for. 


binding options - saddle stitch - perfect - spiral - wire-o


Saddle-Stitched Binding - Best Price!

Saddle-stitched binding is two staples nested in the spine of the folded piece, securing the sheets together. It can go along the left edge or on top, depending on how the project is planned out. Saddle-stitched booklets can lay flat and stay open when you are flipping through the pages, making it easier to read.

Saddle-stitched binding is our most inexpensive yet professional form of binding. Saddle-stitching is commonly used to bind everything from calendars, magazines, coloring books, programs and more. If your booklet has 8 to 92 pages, this will be the most economical choice to make. If your booklet has a larger page count, we recommend changing your binding type to perfect, spiral or wire-o.

Perfect Binding - Perfect for Large Page Counts

Perfect binding is sheets of paper held together by glue attaching the inside sheets of a book to the cover. This type of bind creates an attractive square spine for a polished look. With perfect binding, you can print on the spine and the booklets will not lay flat when open. The minimum page count for a perfect bound booklet is 28 pages. Keep in mind that while perfect binding has its place, it can be slightly more expensive than saddle-stitch binding.

Spiral & Wire-O Binding - Workbooks, Training Manuals & More

Spiral bound printing is a coil of a plastic continuous loop passing through a row of punched holes at the edge of the printed piece in a spiral. Wire-O binding is a metal coil that passes through a row of punched holes at the edge of the printed piece. Wire-o bound books are a series of parallel wire loops attached along a wire. Spiral and Wire-o binding is used mainly for textbooks, workbooks, notebooks and manuals that you many need to write in or use in a daily setting.


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4. Color vs. Black & White

Catalog Example

Printing in black ink instead of full color is cheaper than full color but not by much! You would be surprised how closely priced color can be to black printing. However, for the sake of savings, black ink is the most economical and cost saving option. If it’s absolutely necessary and you’re on a tight budget, try limiting your booklet to using color only for the outside cover and print all inside pages in black ink. This is especially sensible if your booklet pages are mostly text anyways. Any inside images and logos can be printed in black or grayscale as well.

Of course, printing in black ink isn’t always the right choice. If you are printing a photo book, product catalog or any other highly visual or promotional booklet, we definitely recommend full color. Remember that full color printing is still quite affordable! If you are choosing to print in color (whether the full booklet or just the outside cover), make sure you understand the differences in CMYK and RGB.

• CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) is a color system also known as full color printing and is a process used by most commercial printers.

• RGB (red, green, and blue) is the color process that computer monitors, digital cameras, scanners, and TV screens use to display color. If you are designing a print project that is RGB, expect a slight color shift to the final prints, as the files must be converted to CMYK in order to produce the printed materials. For best results, design all print designs in CMYK.


5. Affordable Finishing Touches

Once you’ve chosen your booklet size, paper weight, binding method and colors, you’ve reached the point where your project is almost done! Now all you have to worry about are the finishing touches – namely, cover finishing. This is where PrintingCenterUSA recommends spending a little extra money in order to make sure your final product looks its best. While UV High Gloss Coating is completely optional, we think that it’s worth the low cost because it will prevent scratching and scuffing and keep your booklet looking brand new for years to come.

UV High Gloss Coating - UV is short for Ultra Violet Coating, which is a shiny gloss coating applied over printed cover weight paper to make photos and colors pop as well as providing a truly professional look and feel to your book printing. 

Gloss vs. Matte Paper

It is both water and scratch resistant and is great for artwork with a high concentration of ink coverage. UV gloss is highly recommended for orders with quantities under 500.

There are three important things to keep in mind when deciding on whether or not to use High Gloss UV Coating on your project:

1. We cannot guarantee against scuffing and scratching if you chose not to apply High Gloss UV Coating to your cover!

2. We especially recommend High Gloss UV Coating on covers containing solid ink coverage where a large part of the cover or the entire cover has ink coverage.

3. Keep in mind that when applying our High Gloss UV Coating to a Matte stock, it will result in the cover being glossy. The inside covers and other pages will be unaffected.


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6. Bonus Tip!

If possible, try to order a large quantity of booklets at a time. Typically, the more you order results in you paying less per piece. For short runs (10 to 1,000 booklets), digital printing will cost less than offset printing. But, if your order quantity increases to more than 1,000, offset printing becomes more efficient. So, your individual costs for 1,000 booklets will be more cost-effective than 500 booklets. The more you order results in a lower unit cost.

Make sure you are in contact with your online printing company early on in the printing process. Ask for suggestions! Let them know what your plans and specifications are. If you are on a budget, getting in touch with an online printer before you start the design process could help you save lots of money.

Here at PrintingCenterUSA, we will always make sure that you are getting the most bang for your buck and can help you through the entire production process. We are happy to answer any questions on how to save money on your print project. Call us at 1-800-995-1555  or send us an email.


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What is the Difference Between Collated and Uncollated?

Mon, Aug 20, 2018 @ 03:56 PM Ginny Crispin 2

To Collate or Not To Collate Image Header

In the printing world, the terms collated and uncollated are often used when discussing the specifications of a print job. If you have a document that includes multiple pages, it is important to understand the difference between these two key words before submitting your project for print.


What Does Collated and Uncollated Mean?collated vs uncollated diagram

Let’s start with the basic definition of these terms.

Collate means to collect, arrange or assemble in a specific order of sequence. Usually to prepare a document for binding into a booklet, manual, presentation, etc.

If you need 10 copies of an 8-page booklet, choosing to print collated will give you the 10 copies with the 8 pages already in order and ready to go.

Alternately, printing uncollated would mean the opposite. Printing this same document uncollated will print the first page 10 times, the second page 10 times, and so on. You will have to re-order your booklet by hand.


The Benefits of Collated Printoutsthree pages printed collated

Whether you are printing at home or with an online printing company, collating your print document is going to be more beneficial in most cases. If your print job is considered to be one entity in and of itself, such as a magazine, booklet, program, catalog, etc., then it makes the most sense to print collated. You wouldn’t want these pages to be printed at random collated multi page magazinewhere you would have to spend valuable time reorganizing.

These types of projects are also usually collated in preparation for binding, whether it’s a simple stapled spine or something more extensive. Here at PrintingCenterUSA, we offer a lot of binding options for your collated project, such as perfect bound, saddle-stitch, spiral or wire-o binding.


a stack of uncollated flyersSo What About Uncollated Printing? 

Printing uncollated has its uses, too. If your print document is a flyer, poster, fact sheet, brochure or some other type of single print out, it may be more useful to print uncollated. Your print file might contain 5 pages that explain 5 different types of products that you will be promoting at a booth, conference, convention or trade show. Having your flyers arranged by product would make it easier to target your customer's interests. This same idea also makes sense for handling print documents for business presentations, classroom lectures and more.


What This Means with Online Printing

a pile of uncollated flyers

There are many reasons why you might want to print something either collated or uncollated, bound or unbound. It’s your project and any online printing center will help you achieve your end goal. The good news is that choosing to print collated or uncollated usually does not have an effect on the overall price of your print job. It's a decision of convenience - not money!

PrintingCenterUSA is happy to answer any questions you have about collating your next printing project. Call us at 1-800-995-1555 or send us an email.


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6 Things You Need To Know Before Using An Online Printing Service

Tue, Aug 7, 2018 @ 08:53 AM Ginny Crispin 0

what you need to know about online printing

It’s no question that the digital age has changed the world completely, especially when it comes to our reliance on e-commerce for obtaining goods and services. Online printers have become an easy and reliable way to order the printing products you need for your business.


Why? There are many reasons to make the move and utilize online printing for your needs. It can be much easier, faster and cheaper than using traditional printing companies. Commercial online printing offers a great deal of benefits, including transparent cheap printing costs, easy online ordering and a larger selection of standardized print options. All of which makes it more affordable and less stressful for you.


How do you know which online printing service best suits your needs? Searching through millions of Google results is a daunting task for many people to want to undertake. PrintingCenterUSA excels as a premier, affordable online printing company (we just had to throw that in!). We might be a little biased, but before you decide on a printing company, we want to give you the facts. Here is some helpful information that you can use to make an educated decision on what service may be right for you.


Transparent Reviews

honest online customer reviews You want to find a company that produces your project affordably. On the other hand, saving a few bucks doesn’t do you any good if you end up with a bad product. Choose an online printing company that is completely transparent with its customer reviews. The information you get from online customer reviews is much more valuable than taking a company’s or sales representative's word for it. Customers never hold back and are more than willing to provide accurate information whether it's good or bad. Know what you are getting yourself into before you commit and spend some time reading customer reviews. If they have low average ratings or no reviews at all - buyer beware!


Service (Communication is Key)

customer satisfaction guaranteedFind an online printing company that you can contact via phone, email and chat. Just because you’ve chosen to save time and money with an online printing service doesn’t mean that you have to say goodbye to a good old fashioned one-on-one personal service. Some printing projects can seem a bit complicated. No one wants to run into problems during the production process, but sometimes issues come up and you will find yourself in need of help. Use a company that can give you both the ease of using an online service and the personal service you deserve. 


Transparent Pricing

paying online for printing - get a custom quote

Find a company that is transparent with pricing. One downside to traditional printing services is pricing inconsistency and slow pricing service. You never know what your sales rep will come up with from one day to the next. It is a long and drawn out process. 

Here’s an example of the process you may be all too familiar with: You call or email your sales representative and go over every option or service you are looking for. Then you wait…and wait…and wait some more. What a waste of time!

Use a service that is open and transparent with their pricing. Look for a company that is willing to show their pricing online. Pull your pricing in seconds. Stay away from printing companies that won’t publish their pricing online - they will ultimately cost you more money. Nobody ever wants to be surprised with hidden shipping, delivery, postage or service fees. Choose a company that is upfront with pricing and offers instant, full scale quotes online. No haggle, no fuss! The best printing companies will want you as a long-term partner and will go the extra mile to give you superior service, speed and pricing.



one-stop shopping affords convenience for online printing projects

Why should you take time out of your day to go down to a local printer and submit a project or go pick up your project after it has been completed? As anyone who has ever picked up a couple boxes from a local printer knows, finished printed products can be very heavy...ugh! Why not have it delivered to your door? You might think you are saving by not having to pay to ship the product to you, but if you look at the costs from online printing services, they are usually much more economical than local printing services, even with the shipping costs included. How can online printers do this? Online printing vendors are built and specialize in specific products. Online printing companies have to be optimized with the most efficient equipment to keep costs low and compete for the products they are offering.


Online Resources & Design Tools

online printing design tool and resource

Find and use free online resources. Some online printing centers offer a wealth of resources to help you set up, design and submit your project. And these resources are all available with a click of a mouse. Did you know PrintingCenterUSA has tons of free tools and downloadable templates that will give you a leg up on your design preparation? These include free downloadable calendar grids available in PDF, InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator formats.



High End Printing Equipment & Supplies

color swatch affords more options for printing creativity

When you choose to print online, you’re going to have a lot more options on what your final product can look like. You will have more choices in size, color, paper texture and weight than smaller, local print shops can usually offer. From full color offset printing to short run digital printing to mail services and bindery, online printers are fully stocked with the latest and greatest technology. It doesn’t matter if you are ordering simple business cards or multipage photo books, online printing offers the most streamlined and efficient service to handle your project professionally and fast.


Trust PrintingCenterUSA to provide you with the information you need to make the best decision that is the right fit for you. PrintingCenterUSA specializes in booklets, catalogs, magazines, programs, calendars, brochures, postcards and more. Check out our customer reviews and become confident in our ability to help you with your next project. 


Sign up for our e-newsletter to get exclusive savings in coupons and weekly specials.  Also, check out our resources for file checklists and white paper guides on calendars, booklets, magazines and more!


At PrintingCenterUSA, our knowledgeable staff is always available to answer any questions and can be reached via email, by calling 1-800-995-1555 or by live chat!

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Dino Coprolite 2019 Calendar - Case Study

Wed, Jul 11, 2018 @ 09:05 AM Amber Gauthier 0


When David Freitag’s Dinosaur Coprolite 2019 Calendar came across my desk, I was immediately interested and had to call him to get more information on these dinosaur nugget calendars. David created his Coprolite Calendar because he didn’t have a calendar at the time. What he did have were hundreds of photos that were taken for his eBay Rock Store, which he started 5 years ago.

David’s Backstory


David used to gold mine for over 15 years in Wyoming out in the desert. He wrote the story, “Wyoming’s Billion Dollar Nugget,” which was published by the California Mining Journal many years ago. “After we reclaimed our gold mining site, I was tired of gold and wanted to hunt fossils again,” says Freitag. In doing so, he found huge deposits of Dinosaur Coprolite along with Dinosaur Gizzard Stones and other dinosaur relics.

Calendar Printing

example2_560x760“After some time went by, I was sitting in my easy chair one night, just about to drift off, when I heard Rick from Pawn Stars on the TV. He said, ‘You know, in the 25 years since I’ve been a pawn broker, about the only thing I haven’t seen come across the counter is dinosaur poop.’” “Well,” thought Freitag, “I have 3 pallets out back with some of the finest dinosaur poo you can buy.” After doing a web search and contacting the show, 5 months later he was in Las Vegas filming his sale of Coprolite on Pawn Stars. Rick bought the piece featured on the 2019 calendar’s cover for $1,100! Shortly after being featured on the show, David heard a Jade collection was for sale and bought 6 pickup trucks full of the gemstone. He then began his rock store on eBay and it has grown very nicely.

Choosing the Print Shop

example1_560x760“I chose PrintingCenterUSA over the others because your front page says that you have been in business for 40 years. That sold me.” says David. He liked the price we offer over other online printing companies, as they are more reasonable prices. “The quality is great and I can say nothing but good things about your products.”

David now sells his calendars on his eBay Rock Store. He has since bought 3 more Jade Collections and is now the largest seller of Wyoming Nephrite / Jade on eBay worldwide! Freitag says, “I have had great interest in geology and rocks for over 40 years. Why will I keep doing it? Because Wyoming Rocks!”

Get Stared on Your Next Calendar!