All About PUR Binding

By on November 7th, 2013 in How to

As a publisher you might be hearing a lot these days about PUR binding.  And you may also be wondering whether it makes sense for your titles.

PUR binding is one of the strongest and most durable binding methods on the market
PUR binding is one of the strongest and most durable binding methods on the market

So what exactly is PUR? Polyurethane or “PUR adhesive” glue came along in the late 1980′s and was used in other industries such as furniture and automotive before being discovered as useful in book binding applications. Its main advantage, a lower freeze point and a higher melting point, has significant advantages, especially for publishers who ship books globally.

Today PUR adhesive is gaining traction in the marketplace as publishers and consumers desire books that will keep the pages bound together more securely over the life time usage of the book.  In fact, since installing its PUR binder over three years ago, PG now uses PUR adhesion for about 40% of its books — both hardcover and softcover.

Even fans of Smythe binding, in which the signatures of the book are sewn together, are recognizing PUR’s value, and are moving over to it.  According to an article in American Printer, (October, 2003), here are just a few benefits of PUR binding:

  1. Lie-flat qualities
    When applied at its recommended thickness

    Even large page count books can be PUR bound and maintain lie-flat quality
    Even large page count books like this textbook can be PUR- bound and maintain lie-flat quality

    — 0.01 inch — PUR is considerably more flexible than standard EVA hot melts. This ability to lie flat when open allows for hands-free reading.

  2. Heat and cold resistance
    PUR adhesive has a lower freeze point and a higher melting point than any other adhesive on the market. Books bound by PUR will not fail at extreme temperatures — even over 200°F or under -40°F. These properties were especially important to customers who send books globally where temperature extremes are commonplace.
  3. Less wrinkling of backbone
    Binding cross-grained paper with standard hot melt adhesives causes considerable wrinkling in the book’s gutter area. PUR’s lower operating temperature, however, doesn’t drive paper moisture away from the backbone. PUR is also somewhat malleable as it cures, allowing the paper fibers to return to their original orientation.
  4. Less “chip-out”
    Since PUR is applied at half the standard thickness of hot melt, there is much less chance for the material to build up on trimmer knives and nick the cover material during trimming.
  5. Square backbone
    Because only a small amount of PUR needs to be used for binding, less adhesive is squeezed out when the cover station and side clinchers attach the cover and form the back.
  6. Cost savings
    One of the most significant reasons for considering PUR adhesion is the cost savings. According to a study in Europe, binders can realize a cost savings of 30 percent to 40 percent by milling off the backbone of the folded signatures and then gluing them with PUR.*

*from American Printer, October, 2003

Publishers’ Graphics Snags Awards in Midwest Publishing Association Show

By on October 25th, 2013 in News and announcements
Budgie Bird Blues and Underbelly were winners of the Crystal Award of Excellence from MPA
Budgie Bird Blues and Underbelly were winners of the Crystal Award of Excellence from MPA

Publishers’ Graphics, a leading POD, short-run and offset book manufacturer, has been honored with two Crystal Book awards from the Midwest Publishers Association (MPA) 2013 Awards Show held recently in Chicago.  Two PG customers won individual Awards of Excellence, the top honor for each category.

Winning in the Children’s Book category was Kathleen Cook with her debut book entitled Budgie Bird Blues.  Illustrated by Peter Bex, the book relates the true story of a family pet parakeet. Also winning honors was Underbelly, a gastronomical publication produced by Blind Pig of Asheville, a publisher based in North Carolina.  Underbelly won top honors in the Journals category.

The 2013 MPA publishing awards honors excellence in the planning, supervision and execution of the physical and visual aspects of publishing media. The entries are judged for general excellence in design, typography, composition, illustrations, paper, printing, special treatments, and binding.

Each award winning entry will become part of a permanent collection at the Special Collections Library of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

A leading POD, short-run and offset book manufacturer, Publishers’ Graphics brings innovative workflows and customized publishing solutions to its customers.  Headquartered in Carol Stream, Illinois, PG has manufacturing facilities in St. Louis, Missouri and Florence, Kentucky.

For more information, visit

Frankfurt Book Fair 2013

By on October 14th, 2013 in News and announcements

The 64th annual Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany just ended and for those who love books, it’s a five day utopia of sights and sounds:  7800 exhibits from close to 100 countries, 12 different exhibit halls featuring International Publishers in Literature – Children’s, Adult, Fiction and Non-Fiction, an Antiquarian Exhibit, Art Books and Stationery, Science Technical and Medical (STM) Publishers, expert speakers and publishing seminars, …. and much, much more!

Here are some photo highlights:



swirl old books

couldn't resist!
couldn’t resist!


cork cover
cork cover
big book
Oversized – 2 feet by 2 feet!
Antiquarian Book Exhibit

Printing for Associations

By on September 27th, 2013 in News and announcements

Did you know that there are over 200 associations just in the Chicago area?  And that PG prints books and publications for many associations – in Chicago and nationwide?

Associations typically have unique printing and binding requirements. Finishing techniques like tabs, divider pages, and three-hole punching are often needed for their publications which range from manuals and guides to binders and workbooks.  And that’s where PG’s expertise and large range of bindery equipment comes in handy.


So here’s a quick run-down on some of the print techniques that are available for associations:

Print on Demand

Print one book, print 500, or anything in between! Full color, coated text paper, softcover, hardcover and a variety of trim sizes are available. Larger print runs are available too.

Keeping Tabs

Tabs, dividers, plastic coil, 3 hole-drill, saddle stitching, perfect binding, bind-in CDs, random alphanumeric numbering, page perforation, shrink wrapping…you name it, we’ve done it in our in-house bindery!   

Instant Quote System 24/7

It’s quoting, simplified! Choose your format, trim size and paper stock; then order and track your book through the manufacturing process, all with one click.

PG Online Book Store

Looking for an easy way to market and sell your book?  Save time and money, and list your book online with PG’s virtual Bookstore.  We’ll take the orders, process credit cards, and ship your books.

Color: No Limits.

Color is not just for covers (we can do those too!), color can be printed anywhere within a book at PG. Generate more interest in your book through the use of color.       

Made to Order: Customization

Challenge our in-house programming staff with your special requirements!  When you partner with PG, you’ll have a custom designed solution that meets your specifications – and is backed by a support team committed to your success.   

Going Global? No worries!

With our established network of print providers throughout Europe and Asia, you gain worldwide access to new sales channels without the hassle of customs issues, shipping and warehousing costs.

At PG, we truly are changing businesses, one book at a time. Call or email one of our association specialists to learn more.

Meet us in St. Louis!

By on August 12th, 2013 in News and announcements

Self publishers, meet us in St. Louis!

The St. Louis Publishers Association (SLPA) and the St. Louis Writers Guild are presenting a vendors marketplace this Wednesday, August 14, from 6:30-8:30 pm.  This annual event brings together editors, designers, printers and book coaches under one roof at The Lodge in Des Peres, MO.  

Stop by and visit with Walker Deibel, VP, Sales and Marketing, from Publishers’ Graphics.  He’ll  introduce our POD, Instant Quote, and Bookstore services to St. Louis area self publishers and small publishers alike.  And he might even have some cake!

self publishers

PG Bookstore FAQs

By on May 3rd, 2013 in How to

It’s a great feeling when your book is finally written and printed. But what’s the next step?  How do you sell it or even let people know it’s available?

The first step is to let people know where to find and purchase your book.  That might mean creating a website to promote and sell the book.  But what if you don’t want to go to the trouble (and expense) of developing a website?Pubgraphics online bookstore

Publishers’ Graphics offers a virtual bookstore to help you do just that.  PG maintains the website, processes orders and credit card payments, and packs and ships your books. To help you list your book, here’s some FAQs from PG’s bookstore expert, Dale Lipp:

What is the PG Bookstore?  The PG Bookstore is a great resource for authors and publishers to sell their books online.  There is no additional charge to add your book to the store.  You can create a retail listing on the store for selling small quantities, and at the same time we can set up a wholesale listing for any wholesale customers you may have.

What are the advantages of using a third party to sell your book? Using a third party like PG frees you up to do what you do best: write!  No one becomes an author or publisher because they want to spend their time taking orders, processing credit cards, and shipping books.  That’s what we do best!

What are the steps to using this service?  There’s only a few:

  1. PG must print at least one copy of the book prior to listing the book.  This ensures that what we are listing on the bookstore meets your quality standards. Printing beforehand also works out any printing issues ahead of time.
  2. The next step is to register as a user at
  3. Complete and return the listing agreement. This is a brief form that I can email to you.
  4. Write a short description of the book and also a short paragraph or two “About the Author.”

That’s it!  Within 48 hours or less, your listing will be live and ready for business.

What tools are available within the site to promote your book?

The site has numerous easy-to-use social media tools to help you showcase and build an audience for your book. Sharing links from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google + and scores of others lets your friends, family, colleagues and potential customers where to purchase your book. The social media channels are a good starting point to market your book; the rest is up to you!

Hot off the Press: Chickens and (Coffeetable) Books

By on April 25th, 2013 in Publisher Spotlight

Owning chickens has fast become the new urban chic, with books being written and published frequently on all aspects of the phenomenon.  PG customer, HenschelHAUS Publishing has just published a memoir of Claudia Bruckert’s chicken clan, titled “A “Rooster’s Tale.”


The author tells her story through the eyes of a young rooster named Change, and follows the clan of chickens through a year of life including dust baths, brooding chicks, and awful territorial battles between families.  It’s a great insider view of everyday life, full of enchanting events and intriguing facts, and beautifully photographed by the author.

In this oversized coffee table book, Claudia answers the essential questions:  Do chickens talk? What does a rooster do all day? Would a mother hen attack a hawk? What happens within a family of chickens?

PicMonkey Collage123

There are charming illustrations and full bleed photographs in this hardcover book.  It’s a reading joy for children, adults, and everyone who takes animals seriously and a warmhearted inspiration for seasoned and aspiring chicken farmers.

HenschelHAUS is an independent and traditional publishing house that works closely with authors to produce timely, high-quality paperback, hardcovers, e-books and audiobooks.  Located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, HenschelHAUS is under the leadership of president and book maven Kira Henschel.  Along with her team of experts, she has midwifed over 120 books from idea to finished book.  You can read more A Rooster’s Tale here, and visit the HenschelHAUS website as well.

When Does POD Make Sense?

By on March 22nd, 2013 in How to

IMG_7It’s a common question: does it make sense to print your books offset or use print on demand (POD)? Both printing processes offer unique advantages that can make the decision difficult. Let’s take a look some of the factors to consider:

Print Quantity:

Size of the print run is the probably your most important consideration. Conventional offset printing is best suited for producing large print runs of 500 books or more. With relatively long lead-times and high press set up and make-ready costs, larger press runs are generally needed to make conventional offset printing cost-effective.

Smaller press runs of 100 or less are becoming increasingly common as a way to eliminate unused inventory and costly storage. If your quantity ranges between 300-500 books, your best bet is to quote both ways: offset and digital.

Short press runs do have advantages when it comes to testing the waters. Printing one or two books allows publishers to launch targeted, niche books that are generally not economical for conventional printing. Printing a small amount is a great way to test the market without breaking the budget.


Most would argue that conventional printing produces a higher quality result. But today’s POD printers are pushing technology to the limit and producing bookstore-quality books. As equipment and technology improve, so too does digital printing.  Digital is closing the gap and now rivals that of offset printing to reproduce consistent tone, contrast, color and brightness, and sharp black text.


In general, conventional offset printing does offer more choices in terms of paper—color and weight—book sizes, and cover printing techniques such as embossing or foil-stamping. Some techniques such as varnishing or spot varnishing are performed in-line while other processes such as die-cutting and foil embossing are sent outside, regardless of which type of printer you select.

Book size and format influence the size of the press and which papers options are available for that press. Because of the small size of most digital presses, paper sheet sizes are generally limited to a maximum sheet size of 12 x 18, which limits your book size to 11 x 11 (with some exceptions).

Paper choices are also opening up for digital printing. As paper mills realize the vast potential of digital printing, weights, colors, and sheet sizes have all been expanded in the last few years.


When lead times are critical, it’s hard to compete with digital. With faster set-up and make-ready times, POD books are ordered, printed and bound, and shipped all within a few days. Before choosing a printer, it’s always a good idea to check customer reviews and to contact other writers who used the service.

PG Author Christine Keleny, who just self-published her third book ROSE FROM THE ASHES, offers this advice: “Whatever option you choose, do your research. Read the fine print for issues such as rights and extra fees. But also take into account the time, effort, and money you realistically have to spend on printing your book. There are many small presses out there that are willing to help you if you don’t want to do much on your end, whether they are local or on the internet.”

Christine adds: “Join writers groups online or within your community. You can gain good information about what other people have already figured out. With my first book, I paid someone to tell me the steps to allow me to do it myself (finding an editor, learning how to format the book so it’s ready for the printer, finding a printer…), so now, by book three, it’s a lot easier and my cost is pared down.”books[1]

She concludes by saying: “Someone can help you make the outside look pretty, but if the story needs work, then you won’t get good reviews and you’ll lose future customers. So write, write, and rewrite!”

Cooking Up a Book of Recipes

By on March 1st, 2013 in How to

It seems everyone has a drawer full of family recipes with a plan to someday turn them into a book.  If that describes you, consider producing your own cookbook.  Besides being one of the hottest trends in POD these days, it’s a fun project that provides a lasting record of your favorite dishes.

It doesn’t have to be fancy either.  Many cookbooks are printed with a laminated four color cover and plain black text inside, and bound with wiro binding.  To inspire you, here’s a few examples of mouth-watering cookbooks printed recently at PG.



Seven Quick Tips

Photographing food is often the most challenging part of a cookbook project. But with practice, it’s easy to take photographs as tasty as the dishes themselves, especially with these quick tips from photographer, Cindy Roth:

1. Use real food, with the freshest ingredients possible. No special styling techniques.

2. Great lighting is essential. It helps pick up the details.


3. Don’t shoot straight on; angles are more interesting!

4. Add accessories to enhance the photo, such as utensils, napkins, etc.

5. Set your camera ISO speed at 200 for highest quality image.

6. Get close to the food; most beginners shoot from too far away.

7. Don’t try a souffle’ unless you’re quick!

For more info, visit

For more photography hints, visit

Digital Paper Primer

By on February 27th, 2013 in How to

With more and more authors and editors choosing to print their books digitally, questions pertaining to digital printing and paper seem to crop up daily.   Advancements in digital technology give you more paper options than ever before, but with these changes, also comes some confusion—coated, uncoated, matte, caliper, C1s… all these terms can be confusing to those new to printing.

To make things even more confusing, every printer uses different terminology and stocks different paper grades,paper quote depending on their equipment and preferences.  If you’re quoting your project with PG, here are some terms you’ll likely see:

Covers:  for softcover books, we offer a few standard options for your book covers.   C1s refers to a heavier coated or glossy stock that is coated on one side.  We stock a 10 pt (point) and 12 pt, with a 12 pt slightly heavier and more durable.   Caliper is the measurement of the thickness of the paper. It is now listed on our site next along with the PPI.  PPI is the method used to calculate the spine thickness. 

Although not listed, we can also customize your book with specialty stocks.  The book pictured below has an uncoated 100# cover called Classic Columns, manufactured by Neenah Paper.   If you select your own stock, just be sure it is digitally compatible and guaranteed to work on a digital press.

Uncoated stocks with textured finishes must be digitally compatible.
Uncoated stocks with textured finishes must be digitally compatible.

Text:    50#, 60# or 70# weights are the most common options.  Anything under 50# is generally a newsprint grade and not suitable for digital printing due to its high dust content. If you’re looking to reduce costs, opt for a 50# weight, which will reduce the overall weight of the book and lower shipping costs.

One caution:  If you have imagery or heavy solid ink coverage, be aware of opacity or “show-through” with lighter weight sheets.  When you have image content, be safe and go with a 70# or 80# weight.   Heavier weight paper also offers a tactileness and substance to your book that contributes to its overall aesthetic appeal.

If your project is a textbook or workbook, select the heavier 70# or 80# weight so they stand up to continual wear and page-turning.

Colored papers are good options as well.  In addition to several shades of white, we offer a subtle off-white or natural color that can help warm up your book.  Alternatively, a white coated or glossy sheet has a harder surface which makes color photography pop on the page.

Color, texture, and weight of paper all communicate subtle messages to the reader.  If possible, always try to consider your paper choices early in the design process.  Remember that paper can dramatically affect not only the budget, but the overall aesthetic of your book.  As always, give us a call or “chat” with us online if you have questions.

For more information, visit