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Why Self Cover Booklets Cost Less

Why Self Cover Booklets Cost Less

When clients are looking to have a saddle stitch booklet printed, we offer the choices of having a self cover or a normal cover. Normally, a booklet will have different weights between the cover and the interior pages (referred to as the “text” pages). Another option is to have the same weight for all of the pages; this is referred to as a “self cover” booklet.

Self cover booklets are a more cost effective way for you to produce your project for a few different reasons.

Saddle-Stitch Booklets

In order to understand the cost of bindery, it’s important to have an understanding of how a saddle stitch booklet is created. For a booklet with the final size of 8.5” x 11” size (the size of a standard sheet of paper), we’ll print four pages on a larger sheet (typically 12”x18” or 11”x17”).

We’ll then staple (also known as stitch) those sheets together, and fold them in half to make the booklet. After the booklet is folded, the excess paper around the edges of the book are cut off for a cleaner finish.


In print terms, scoring is when a piece of paper is indented in order to make it fold better. A perfect example of this is any greeting card. Because that indentation is made, the card naturally folds in a perfect line.

In booklet making, the cover is often scored for a better result. Scoring the cover ensures that the outside of the booklet looks clean, and it prevents the ink on the spine of the book from cracking. Text weight papers do not need to be scored in order to fold properly.


If a booklet has a different paper weight for the cover, we’ll print all the covers at once, then print all the interior pages at once. After that, we have to go through the process of collating the covers with the interior pages. This can be done by either a machine, or by hand. After that, they’ll have to be taken to a different machine to be stitched, and then they’ll be hand folded.

Machine Stitching

Our digital printer has the ability to saddle-stitch and fold sheets of paper up to 12”x18”. If we’re printing booklets with a final size of 8.5”x11”, we can use this option and cut out all of the time needed to fold the books.

Machine stitching does have limitations though. If the covers need to be scored, they won’t be able to be machine stitched and they’ll cause a paper jam because scored stock cannot be run through the printer. Covers that may not need to be scored (lighter weights like 80 lb cover paper), might still have cracking if there is any printing on the spine.


Self cover books are usually entirely composed of text weight paper. Because of this, the machine can stitch and fold the entire booklet, cutting out the labor required to score, collate, stitch, and fold the booklets. Depending on the amount of booklets in an order, those steps can add several hours to the labor process, thus increasing the cost and quote pricing.

Paper Cost – a small consideration

In most cases this is the smallest cost difference when choosing a self cover booklet. Instead of paying a little bit more for a sheet of cover stock, you’ll be paying the same amount for each sheet in the booklet. The difference is usually pretty slight, but worth noting. Self covers can be all cover stock, although it’s less common.

Understanding how different paper stocks will affect your bindery costs can help you plan better for your project. Self cover booklets are a great option for because they take less time to make, which makes them a more cost effective product.

If you have any other questions about the costs of self cover booklets, click here to send us an email at

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