Most often, a case bound book (sometimes called a hard cover book or edition bound book) has four distinctives:

  • Cover is hard or stiff
  • Covers are “wrapped”
  • Smythe sewn sections
  • Two end papers (inside the covers)

There are two exceptions:

  • Pages are perfect bound rather than Smythe sewn and then bound into a hard cover
  • Some covers—but very few—may be flexible rather than hard


Why design a case bound book?

People are fretting about whether their job or business will go the way of the dinosaur, buggy whip, or 8-track tape players. But for hard cover and case bound books, they’re only becoming increasingly popular!

Anatomy of a case bound book

casebound book diagram

The image above is a diagram of a case bound book. These are the basic elements of a case bound book:

  • Headbands are the ribbon that is inserted in the spine and shows at the top and bottom of the spine in the finished book
    • Headbands are purely decorative (no function) but may lend a vintage or design element to the finished book
    • Some case bound books have no headbands
    • About 30% of case bound books have no headband; of those which do, 70% have two headbands and 30% have one headband
  • End papers, until recently, were always white
    • Most end papers in case bound books, that we bind, are now coloured
  • 30% of the books, that we bind, are wrapped with printed litho sheets, rather than wrapped in cloth
  • Over 90% of the case bound books we bind are square-backed rather than round-backed spines
  • Dust jackets: case wrapped books that are only stamped can look very bland with dust jackets. Dust jackets give the book an esthetic or artistic appeal. The dust jacket sets the mood or tone of the book, positions it within its genre, or provides hard-hitting sales copy.



  • High-end
  • Lies open flatter than perfect bound books


  • One of the most durable binding methods
  • Stands on shelf with a readable spine
  • Can be easily referenced
  • Has universal appeal




  • Much wider range of materials to wrap cases
  • Designers are colour-matching end papers, head bands and ribbons
  • More unusual sizes are available
  • More high-end ‘coffee-table’ books are being produced locally rather than in China. Even though delivery time lines from China are shrinking, the increasing demand for even quicker turnaround times, designers’ creative input and last-minute changes account for the move away from use of offshore suppliers.
  • More add-ons such as various colours of thread in one book; metal corners; fold-outs; step-cutting; box sleeves; edge-staining; foil gilding are available from our firm.


Case binding: it’s back in style! ‘Old’ has become ‘new’. The classiest way to bind a book IS case binding!