Perfect-Bound Covers

IMG_9740For perfect bound books that you will be printing and binding yourself. (at the bottom of this page you will find directions for setting up the cover for commercially printed books such as Calliope)

  1. Dust Jacket that is similar to one found on a paper-back novel.

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  • For the first option (the dust jacket) you must glue a blank page at the front and back of the book block first.
  • Then, create the cover as one single page in Adobe Illustrator that is long enough to accommodate both the front and back panels plus the spine and end flaps. To determine this, you will need to know the thickness of the book first. Add this amount to the width of the front, back and end panels, that will be your total length. Leave a little extra length at first.
  • There is no gluing for this option. Score and fold the cover to fit the spine first then wrap it around your book folding the end flaps around the first and last pages respectively.

2.  Wrap-Around with Flaps is similar to the dust jacket option but is glued onto the spine. (You might vary this option by excluding the end flaps. If you do exclude the end flaps, you will not need to add the blank pages at the front and back of the book block. If the spine is glued with no flaps then the result is like a paperback book.)

  • For the wrap around with flaps cover version, you must glue a blank page at the front and back of the book block first just like you would for a dust jacket.
  • Then, create the cover as one single page in Adobe Illustrator that is long enough to accommodate both the front and back panels plus the spine and end flaps. To determine this, you will need to know the thickness of the book first. Add this amount to the width of the front, back and end panels, that will be your total length. Leave a little extra length at first.
  • Score and fold the cover to fit the spine first, then wrap it around your book folding the end flaps around the first and last pages second.
  • Follow the steps in the video to attach the cover to the book block
    (thanks Brian and Mackenzie)
  • After the cover is glued at the spine to the book, score both the front and back covers 3/8 inch from the spine. If necessary, place a bit of glue in this “pocket” as well. This will allow the covers to open without putting stress on the glue binding itself and the covers open instead 3/8 inch from the spine.
  • Then if necessary, trim the book block of pages to their final exact size. You may simply need to use the sanding block to lightly even the pages.
  • Finally, wrap the end flaps around the front and back pages. In the template below, the flaps are half the width of the cover panels.

The size of the front and back panels for both of these options is the same size as that of the pages.  The height  of the spine is also the same as the page height. The spine width is determined by the number of pages in your book—the book block.

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3. Hard or Board cover with Spine

IMG_9736The size of the front and back cover boards for the hard cover option are not the same size as the pages. They are instead 1/4 inch taller and 1/8 inch wider than the page size. The spine height is also 1/4 inch taller than the page height. The spine width is determined by the thickness of the text block of pages.

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  • Case Bound Hard Cover

  • Hard Cover Coptic Stitch Binding


For perfect bound and Commercially Printed Only. (such as Calliope).

When binding the book the binder will trim where the pages meet along the spine, this is known as the grind off. {Grind off Definition: The portion along the spine of perfect-bind signatures that will be removed during the binding process.} Unfortunately, with InDesign’s “Facing Pages” option there is no ability to add that needed bleed. That area is shown in red in the image below.

When a document is provided to a printer with no bleed for the grind off there is a lot more pre-press work required to makes sure your pages flow properly with the pinch.

With the lack of bleed there is an increase chance your printer may incorrectly set up or have to alter you design so that it can be bound with little error.

There is debate that it is the Printer’s job to make sure that the book prints properly—we   agree 100%, but we believe this document set-up solution is a great way to get the spread look that “Facing Pages” offers while providing your printer with the bleeds they need to produce the book correctly.

1. Create a new document.

> TURN FACING PAGES OFF (This is the most important part of this entire tutorial! If this is on, then you will not be able to add bleed between pages.)

> Create a Bleed of .125 in (This is what most binderies need to create a “Grind Off”)

2. Create a new master page.

> In the panel options change the “Number of Pages” to “2” and the pages size and width should be that of one single page in the book.

3. Pages tool (Shift + P)

> With the pages tool selected click on the right page of the spread. Then change the x-axis by adding .375 in to it.

>This will give us our .25in  bleeds and a gutter of .125 inches. to separate the pages visually (The gutter is not necessary, but a preference of ours.)

You are done! Now you have a master page that gives you the spread look with the bleeds your printer needs.

Click on the preview mode (w on your keyboard) to see how the spread will look when the bleeds are removed.