The information in your book can be shared with your readership in many ways, in both physical and digital formats, with variations available for each format. Here are some options to consider. Bear in mind there are pluses and minuses to each format – choose the 1 which best-suits you and your readers’ needs.
Both paperback and hardback books have a range of bindings. Again there are pros and cons to each sort.
Paperback binding options
If you have a small number of pages and plan to produce a “pamphlet” sized book, the saddle-stitching is an option. This uses thread to join the pages together at the folder spine. It’s not suitable for standard-length paperbacks (35,000-40,000 words, 150-200 pages).
Spiral bound books use a plastic or metal coil to hold the pages together between two thicker, printed cover sheets. A series of uniform holes are made in the paper along the left-hand or top edge, with the coil threaded through. Spiral binding is a good choice for course workbooks, because they lay flat and are good at staying open on a specific page. This binding suits short to medium length books. If there are lots of pages, turning the pages over becomes fiddly. The downside is you can’t write the title of your book on the spine. This makes your book unsuitable for retail bookshops and libraries as it cannot be shelved without obscuring the title and author name. It causes problems with their stock control. It also makes it tricky for readers to find your book on their own bookshelves at home. They are also relatively more awkward to slide out of rucksacks.
Perfect bound books are the most common form of paperback. There is a solid, flat spine with the title and author name printed on it. The page count can be as low as 80 pages and run up to several hundreds, which makes it ideal for most nonfiction titles. If you opt for a larger paper size, they also tend to stay lying flat if your reader needs their hands to do something as they read, (think cooking recipe books), or if they need to write responses in the book.
Hardcover binding options
Case binding refers to a book that has a cloth or printed cover that wraps round a stiff front and back coversheet. Hardbacks undoubtedly help your book make a grand entrance as it reaches the hands of your readers. The higher price of hardback books also suggests you have written a prestigious and valuable publication. The only problem is they cut into your profit margin quite considerably, being around 3 times the price of their paperback cousins. In an age where books are heavily discounted and retailers expect to make a profit from the deal too, your royalties and quickly evaporate!
Dust jackets are a separate, printed, paper cover that go over a basic cloth or paper binding. The advantage is the inside and outside covers that fold inside your book interior give you additional space to explain the benefits of your book and to position yourself as an expert in your field. Unfortunately, the flimsy paper covers are easily damaged, leaving your book looking torn and tatty.