The end-on view of a giant roll of paper ready to go onto a printing press to create a Collector's edition book

Special Edition Books: A Glossary of Terms

All of our special, limited or collector's edition books are carefully-designed and unique, but many are described with similar terms.

Browsing our collection of beautiful books, you'll have encountered terms like "debossed", "endpapers", "gilded edges" and "wibalin bound".

But what do these terms really mean? Have no fear, our bookbinders glossary is here!

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Term Definition
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Accordion fold

A type of fold used for creating pages with alternating folded and unfolded panels, resembling the folds of an accordion.

Acid-free paper

Paper that is manufactured with a neutral or alkaline pH level, ensuring its longevity and resistance to yellowing and deterioration caused by acid over time.

Adhesive binding

A bookbinding method where the pages of a book are glued together at the spine using a strong adhesive, creating a secure and durable bond.


Refers to materials that are acid-free, lignin-free, and designed to resist deterioration, ensuring long-term preservation of books and documents.

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The process of securing the pages of a book together, often using techniques such as sewing, gluing, or stapling.

Blind embossing

The process of creating a raised design or pattern on a book cover or page without adding color or foil, using heat and pressure to create a tactile and visually subtle effect.

Book block

The assembled and folded pages of a book before they are attached to the book cover.

Book jacket

A detachable paper cover that wraps around a hardcover book, often featuring a summary, reviews, and additional artwork to protect and enhance the appearance of the book.


The process of assembling and attaching the pages of a book together, typically involving sewing, gluing, or other methods, and encompassing various techniques to create a finished and functional book.

Bookbinding leather

High-quality leather specifically used for covering book covers, often sourced from goatskin, calfskin, or other animal hides, providing durability, elegance, and a luxurious feel to special edition books.

Bookbinding tape

A durable and archival-grade adhesive tape specifically designed for bookbinding purposes, used to reinforce or repair book spines, cover edges, or hinge areas, providing strength and stability to the book's structure.


A decorative label or personalized sticker affixed to the front endpaper or inside cover of a book, often bearing the name, logo, or artwork of the owner, adding a personal touch and indicating ownership.

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Case binding

A method of bookbinding where the book block is attached to a rigid cover, typically made of cardboard or board covered with cloth, paper, or other materials, providing strength and protection.

Casing-in (also Casing in)

The process of attaching the book block to the cover of a hardcover book, typically done by adhering the endpapers to the inside of the cover boards, ensuring a secure and permanent connection between the pages and the cover.

Casing-in machine

A specialized machine used in bookbinding to attach the book block to the cover, ensuring proper alignment and adhesion.

Clamshell box

A protective and decorative box made of rigid materials, such as cloth-covered board, designed to store and showcase valuable or limited edition books, providing an added layer of protection and enhancing the presentation of the book.


The process of organizing and arranging the pages of a book in the correct order before binding.


A brief description usually found at the end of a book, containing details about its production, including the typeface, paper, printer, and edition.

Cover stock

A heavier and thicker paper or cardstock used for making book covers.



The process of creating a depressed or sunken design or pattern on a book cover or page, usually using heat and pressure to press the design into the surface, resulting in a tactile and visually striking effect. Debossing is often used to add texture and depth to special edition books

Deckle edge

The intentionally rough and uneven edge of a sheet of paper, mimicking the appearance of handmade or hand-torn paper, often left untrimmed for decorative purposes in specialty books or limited editions.

Deckle-edged pages

Pages in a book that have a rough or feathered edge, resembling handmade or hand-torn paper, often left untrimmed to enhance the aesthetic appeal and give a rustic or vintage look to special edition books.


A process of cutting or shaping paper or cover stock using a sharp steel rule or blade, usually done to create unique openings or patterns.

Digital Edges

The process and effect of using moden printing mechanisms to apply a multi-colour image to the outside edges of a book. Similar to Sprayed Edges (see also) but these are either patterns or images sprayed across one or multiple books. Particularly striking when used on books in a boxset or trilogy for example.


A technique of joining two pieces of material, such as book boards, by interlocking them with notched or grooved edges.

Dust jacket

See "Book jacket."

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Edge coloring

The process of applying colored pigment or dye to the edges of a book's pages, creating a visually striking and coordinated effect when the book is closed.


A particular version or printing of a book, usually indicated by a specific publisher, date, or other identifying factors.


Decorative elements or features added to a book or its cover, such as ribbons, bookmarks, decorative clasps, medallions, or jewels, enhancing the visual appeal and creating a unique and personalized touch to special edition books.


A decorative technique that creates a raised or three-dimensional design or pattern on the surface of a book cover or page using heat and pressure, adding texture and visual interest.


Decorative bands sewn at the top and bottom of the spine of a book, providing additional strength and an aesthetically pleasing touch.


The double-sided paper or lightweight board that is glued to the inside of the front and back covers of a hardcover book, often featuring decorative patterns or designs, serving as a transition between the cover and the book's content.

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A blank or decorative page found at the beginning and end of a book, typically pasted onto the inside of the cover, serving as a protective and decorative element.

Foil edge gilding

The application of metallic foil to the edges of a book's pages using heat and pressure, resulting in a shiny and decorative metallic finish that adds a touch of luxury and sophistication to special edition books.

Foil stamping

The process of applying metallic or pigmented foil to a book cover or page using heat and pressure, creating a shiny or reflective design or text that stands out.

Fore edge

The outer edge of the book opposite the spine, often featuring decorative patterns or artwork when the pages are fanned out.

French fold

A folding technique where a large sheet is folded in half, then folded again in the opposite direction, resulting in a folded edge that remains uncut and is open at one end, often used for maps or specialty items.

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A folding technique where two parallel folds are made on a page, creating two flaps that can be opened outwards to reveal additional content or larger images.

Gatefold cover

A book cover that folds out to reveal extended or additional content, illustrations, or information, similar to gatefold pages in the book's interior. This feature adds a visually engaging and interactive element to the special edition book.

Gatefold pages

Pages in a book that are larger than the standard page size and are folded inward, creating flaps that can be opened outwards to reveal extended or additional content, illustrations, maps, or panoramic views, adding an element of surprise and interactivity to the book.


A group of folded pages nested within one another to form a section or signature of a book.


The phenomenon of faintly visible text or images appearing on a page, usually caused by the ink or toner transferring from the previous page during printing or copying.


Pronounced "Jee Clay" and is French for "to spray". Giclée prints use super-high quality inks and paper (typically a high-quality, archival-grade paper specifically designed for the printing of fine art photographs and prints). Giclée printers often have 10-12 different types of ink which ensures vibrant colours and a very high level of detail. It is known for its exceptional color accuracy, sharpness, and longevity. 

Gilding (also Gilting)

The process of applying gold leaf or gold foil to various elements of a book's cover, spine, or other decorative elements, such as lettering, motifs, or designs. Gilding enhances the visual appeal of the book and adds a luxurious and ornate element to its presentation. See also Foil edge and Foil stamping.

Gilt edges (also Gilded edges)

The application of a thin layer of metallic (often) gold leaf or gold foil to the edges of a book's pages, creating a luxurious and decorative finish that adds a touch of opulence to the book's presentation.

Gold tooling

The traditional technique of stamping a book cover or spine with heated metal tools or engraved brass blocks, often coated with gold leaf, creating intricate designs, patterns, or text that are visually striking and elegant.

Grain long/short

Refers to the orientation of the paper grain relative to the long or short side of the page. Grain long means the fibers run parallel to the long side, while grain short means the fibers run parallel to the short side.


The inner margin or space between the printed area of a page and the binding edge, allowing for proper alignment and ensuring that no text or important elements are lost in the binding process.

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Half binding

A bookbinding technique where the spine and corners of the cover are made with a different material, often leather, while the rest of the cover is made with a contrasting material, creating a visually appealing and distinctive look for special edition books.

Half title page

The page that displays only the book's title, usually located at the beginning of a book before the full title page.


A printing technique that converts continuous-tone images into a series of small dots of varying sizes to simulate shades of gray or color, often used to reproduce photographs or complex illustrations in books.

Hand marbling

The art of creating unique and decorative patterns on paper or book covers by floating pigments on a liquid bath and transferring them onto the surface, often done by hand using specialized brushes or combs, resulting in one-of-a-kind designs.


A decorative strip or band affixed to the top and bottom of the spine of a book, typically made of colored threads or fabric, adding a decorative touch and reinforcing the binding.


The flexible area along the spine where the book cover and book block are attached, allowing the book to open and close smoothly.

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The arrangement and positioning of multiple pages on a printing sheet in a specific order and orientation, ensuring that when the sheet is printed and folded, the pages are in the correct sequence.


The name of the publisher or publishing house, often printed on the title page or book spine.


The process of applying ink to a printing plate or cylinder for transferring the image onto paper during the printing process.

Inlaid cover

A decorative technique where materials, such as leather, fabric, or decorative paper, are precisely cut and inserted into a recess or opening on the cover of a book, creating intricate designs, patterns, or images that are flush with the surface.

Intaglio printing

A printing technique in which designs or illustrations are incised or engraved into a plate, typically made of metal, and then ink is applied to the plate. The inked plate is wiped clean, leaving ink only in the engraved areas, which is transferred to paper under pressure, resulting in a distinct and detailed print quality.


A decorative technique where small pieces of different-colored materials, such as wood, ivory, or metal, are meticulously cut and fit together to create intricate designs, patterns, or images on the cover or spine of a book. This technique adds a high level of craftsmanship and visual appeal to special edition books.


An International Standard Book Number, a unique numeric identifier assigned to each edition and variation of a book, used for cataloging and identifying books worldwide.



The process of aligning the edges of sheets or signatures before binding to ensure they are evenly aligned.

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Refers to the alignment of a stack of folded sheets before trimming or binding.



The process of applying a thin transparent layer of plastic film to the surface of a book cover or page, providing protection against wear, moisture, and stains, as well as enhancing the visual appearance and durability of the printed material.

Lay flat binding

A type of binding that allows the book to open flat without the pages springing shut, often used for textbooks, cookbooks, or manuals.

Letterpress printing

A traditional printing method where raised metal or wooden type is inked and pressed onto paper, creating a debossed effect and producing crisp and tactile text or images, often used for limited edition books or fine art prints.

Limp binding

A flexible and unstructured bookbinding method where the book cover is made of a soft material, such as cloth or leather, often associated with older or specialty books.

Line art

High-contrast black and white illustrations or graphics consisting of solid lines or shapes, often created using vector-based software or drawn by hand, commonly used in technical manuals, children's books, or graphic novels.


Marbled edges

The application of marbled patterns or designs to the edges of a book's pages, created using the marbling technique, enhancing the visual appeal and giving a unique and decorative touch to special edition books.

Marbled paper

Paper that has been decorated using the marbling technique, resulting in swirling patterns and colors reminiscent of marble stone.


A decorative technique where colored inks or paints are floated on a liquid bath and transferred onto paper to create unique


The space between the text or images and the edge of the page, providing visual breathing room and enhancing readability.


A physical prototype or model of a book, typically created during the design process to simulate the final appearance and structure, allowing for testing and evaluation of layout, materials, and other aspects before full-scale production.


A strip of cloth or reinforcing material that is adhered to the spine of a book during binding, providing additional strength and stability.

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Offset printing

A widely used printing technique where the inked image is transferred from a plate to a rubber blanket, then onto the paper, allowing for high-quality and efficient reproduction of books and other printed materials.

Offset spine

A binding technique where the spine of a book is positioned slightly inward from the edges of the cover, creating a recessed area and providing protection for the spine when the book is placed on a flat surface.


The process of printing one image or color on top of an already printed image or color, creating layered effects or color variations.


A bookbinding method where individual pages or folded signatures are sewn together using a sewing machine or by hand, creating a strong and durable binding that allows the book to lay flat when opened.



The numbering or arrangement of pages in a book, often indicated by page numbers, folios, or section markers.


A writing surface made from the prepared skin of animals, typically sheep, goat, or calf, often used in historical or specialty book reproductions, calligraphy, or decorative elements.

Perfect binding

A widely used method of bookbinding where the pages are glued together at the spine using a flexible adhesive, and a cover is attached to the spine, resulting in a clean and professional-looking finish.

Perfector press

A printing press equipped with two sets of printing plates, allowing for printing on both sides of the paper in a single pass, resulting in faster production and reduced costs.


A translucent and smooth type of paper made from parchment, usually made from sheepskin, and treated to achieve a clear and durable surface. Pergamene is commonly used for special editions, calligraphy, or delicate applications that require a unique and refined look.


Pixels Per Inch, a measurement of image resolution, indicating the number of pixels present in one inch of a digital image. Higher PPI values generally result in sharper and more detailed images when printed.


The preparation and processing of digital files before they are sent to the printing press, including tasks such as color correction, image adjustments, proofing, and imposition.

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Raised bands

Raised horizontal bands or ridges on the spine of a book created by the addition of extra layers of material, such as cord or leather, during the binding process, often associated with traditional and handcrafted bookbinding styles, adding a classic and elegant look.


A unit of measurement for paper quantity, typically consisting of 500 sheets.


The right-hand page of an open book, often numbered with odd numbers.


The alignment and precise positioning of different elements, such as text and images, on a page during printing.

Risographic print

A Risograph builds the print layer by layer with different colours each requiring a different stencil which is wrapped around the ink drum. Each different colour has a different stencil and a different drum. Time consuming and expensive but produces striking, rich and deep-textured prints.

Saddle stitching

A binding method where folded sheets or signatures are stapled through the fold line along the spine, creating a booklet-style binding, commonly used for magazines, brochures, or small booklets which often acontain additional accompanying content in our Special Editions.

Section sewn

A binding method where the pages of a book are sewn together in groups called sections or signatures, providing strength and durability.


The use of the same paper stock for the endpapers as the rest of the book's pages, resulting in a consistent appearance when the book is opened.


A small decorative line or stroke added to the ends of characters in a typeface, often used to improve readability and add a classic or traditional aesthetic.

Sheet-fed printing

A printing method where individual sheets of paper are fed into the press for printing, as opposed to using continuous rolls of paper.


A group of pages printed on a single large sheet of paper that is folded and trimmed to create a section of a book, usually consisting of 16 or 32 pages.


A protective box or cover made of sturdy materials, typically matching the book's design, used to house and protect a book while allowing for easy removal and storage, providing an additional layer of protection and enhancing the presentation of the book.


The process of cutting large sheets of paper into smaller, finished sizes suitable for binding or further processing.

Smyth sewing

A strong and durable method of sewing pages together using a series of interlocking stitches, providing added strength and flexibility to the book's spine.


The outer edge of the book where the pages are bound together, often displaying the title, author, and publisher's name.

Spot UV coating

A glossy and raised coating applied to specific areas of a book cover or page to enhance the appearance and create visual contrast.

Spot UV coating

The application of a glossy and clear coating to specific areas of a book cover or page using UV light, creating a contrast in texture and shine, often used to highlight certain design elements or add a striking visual effect to special edition books.

Spot varnish

A clear or tinted glossy coating applied selectively to specific areas of a book cover or page, such as text, images, or design elements, to create a contrast in texture or highlight certain details.

Sprayed edges

The application of colored pigment or paint to the edges of a book's pages using a spray or airbrush technique, creating a visually striking and coordinated effect when the book is closed. Sprayed edges are often used to add an additional layer of aesthetic appeal and customization to special edition books, enhancing their overall visual presentation. See also Digital Edges

Sprung text

The appearance of a slight misalignment or unevenness in the text or images near the spine of a book, caused by the tension or movement of the binding materials.

Stamping die

A specialized tool or plate used in foil stamping or embossing to create specific patterns, designs, or text on a surface.

Step and repeat

A technique in prepress and printing where an image or design is repeated multiple times in a precise arrangement on a printing plate or cylinder, optimizing paper usage and efficiency.


An illustration or image that is printed on a page slightly smaller than the preceding page, creating a layered effect when the book is closed.


The process of sewing together folded pages or signatures to create a book block.


The material onto which images or text are printed, such as paper, cardstock, or fabric.

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Table of contents (ToC)

A list of the book's chapters or sections, usually located at the beginning and outlining the order and page numbers of the content.

Tail edge

The bottom edge of the book opposite the head edge, typically trimmed or finished to match the other edges of the book.

Thumb index

A series of cut tabs or notches along the edge of a book's pages, allowing for quick reference or easy navigation through sections or chapters, commonly used in reference books, directories, or cookbooks.

Tipped-in or Tip-ins

The process of attaching an additional page or insert to a book by applying adhesive to one edge, allowing it to be flipped open while remaining connected to the book. Commonly used for signature pages and image pages. The tip-in is applied by hand which is labour intensive but saves shipping thousands of physical books around the world for authors and illustrators to sign.

Title page

The page that displays the book's full title, author's name, publisher's name, and sometimes the place and date of publication, typically located at the beginning of a book.


The process of decorating or embellishing a book cover or spine using various tools, stamps, or blocks, often heated, to create intricate designs, patterns, or text, adding a decorative and visually appealing element to special edition books.

Tooling inlays

Decorative elements or designs created by cutting or incising into the surface of the book cover and filling the recessed areas with contrasting materials, such as leather, fabric, or metal, creating intricate and visually striking patterns or images.

Trim size

The final dimensions of a book after it has been cut to its desired size.


A particular design or style of lettering, including various fonts, weights, and variations, used to represent text in printed books.


Unsewn binding

A binding method where the pages of a book are not sewn together but instead held in place by other means, such as adhesive, staples, or metal clips, allowing for easy replacement or removal of pages.

UV coating

A high-gloss, protective coating applied to the surface of a printed page or cover and cured instantly using ultraviolet light, enhancing durability and visual appeal.



A high-quality, translucent paper made from calfskin or synthetic materials, often used for special editions, illustrations, or delicate applications.

Vellum overlay

A translucent or semi-transparent vellum sheet placed over a page or illustration in a book, often used to protect delicate


The left-hand page of an open book, often numbered with even numbers.


The left-hand page of an open book, often numbered with even numbers.


A small, decorative illustration often used to separate or enhance chapters or sections within a book.

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Water gilding

A technique of applying gold leaf to a book cover or page using water and adhesive, resulting in a highly reflective and luminous metallic finish that adds a touch of luxury and opulence to special edition books.

Web offset printing

A high-speed printing process where paper is fed from a continuous roll rather than individual sheets, allowing for rapid production of large quantities of books, magazines, or newspapers.


A type of high-quality bookbinding material commonly used for covering the exterior of books. Wibalin is a durable, textured paper-based material that offers a wide range of colors and finishes, providing an attractive and tactile surface for the book's cover. It is often used for special edition books or premium bookbinding projects.


A single word or short line of text that appears alone at the top or bottom of a page, separated from the rest of the paragraph, often considered undesirable in book typography.

Wire-O binding

A binding method that uses a series of double-looped wires inserted through holes along the binding edge of the book, providing a secure and flexible binding while allowing the pages to lay flat when opened.

Wove paper

A type of paper with a smooth and uniform surface, created using a woven wire mesh mold during the papermaking process.

Wrap-around cover

A book cover design that extends from the front cover to the back cover, usually featuring continuous artwork or a panoramic image.



The height of lowercase letters in a typeface, specifically the distance between the baseline and the top of the lowercase letter x, often used as a reference point for determining the overall size and proportions of a font.


A method of printing that uses electrostatic charges to transfer toner onto paper, commonly known as photocopying.



The process of paper or materials acquiring a yellow or brownish tint over time due to aging or exposure to light, air, or other environmental factors.

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A binding method where pages are folded accordion-style and held together with a zigzag pattern, resembling the letter "Z" when viewed from the side, allowing the book to expand and collapse.

Zigzag fold

A type of fold that creates a series of parallel zigzag panels, often used for brochures or leaflets.


A type of adhesive film or overlay with a dotted or patterned texture used for shading or adding texture to illustrations or photographs in printed books.

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