Smythe Sewn Book Printing

Written by Christopher Ransom
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One of the most common types of books manufacture din book printing today is known as Smythe sewn book printing. Smythe sewn books are of the highest quality because the pages are sewn AND glued to the binding surface, the spine of the book. Smythe sewn books will stand up to more abuse and can be read on a flat surface. For these reasons many textbooks, picture books and other books designed to stand the tests of time use Smythe sewn binding.

Smythe sewn book printing and binding gets its name from its inventor, an Irish-American named David McConnell Smyth (1833-1807). A pioneer of modern day bookbinding, Smythe took a bold leap forward over the centuries old methods of binding by producing the first technology and methods for sewing book pages to the spine to create a book of superior quality and appearance. Hence, his name is synonymous in the United States with machine book sewing.

When to Choose Smythe Sewn Book Printing

From Bibles to today's bestsellers, Smythe sewn books are the premier binding choice and for good reason. The benefits are obvious-longer lasting binding, a more handsome appearance for your book. When choosing Smythe sewn book printing and binding, you are saying to the world, this is a book that deserves your time and respect. This is a book that can be read and reread for years to come without falling apart.

The drawbacks are equally simple. For one, Smythe sewn binding, which can be mated to paperback and hardcover alike (though most commonly used for hardcover books), is more expensive than adhesive or spiral binding methods. How much depends on the printer and your book's size. A lesser drawback to consider is a somewhat diminished functionality. Smythe-sewn books are durable, but they may also be heavier and less flexible than adhesive or spiral bound books. My experience managing a Barnes & Noble bookstore taught me that some people (most notably teens, go figure), even people with money to burn, just don't like hardcover books. So, how functional do you need your book to be? If your book is to be the type toted around to business meetings or folder over in the confines of an airplane seat, you may not need to invest the extra money for Smythe sewn book printing. But if you want the best, Smythe sewn may be the only way to fly.

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Smyth Sewing

please note that Smyth does not have an "e" at the end.