Spiral Binding vs Wire-o Binding

Spiral Binding and Wire-0 ™ Binding are often spoken of interchangeably, but there are some minor differences between the 2 styles. (See photo above)


Wire-O Binding

wire-o back cover view


This binding is also sometimes referred to as Wiro, twin loop binding, or mechanical binding to name a few.  The wire mechanism comes in a few standard colors such as Black, White, Brass ( or gold) and Silver. The mechanism is clamped shut with pressure to a semi-permanent method of binding. There are other variations of wire- o binding in terms of material (painted metal, or plastic coated).

The benefit of Wire-O style binding is all pages layflat and the sheets can flip a full 360 degrees.

Wire-o  comes in a range of standard diameters from 5/16″ to 1.25″

There are 2 main types of binding, it should be something worth checking with your binder before specifiying wire-o binding. It’s called the “pitch” .  Some machines are 2:1 pitch and others are 3:1.  It refers to how many loops/holes per inch. (pictured above is 2:1 pitch on a workbook).

3 to 1 pitch wire o
means 3 twin loops per inch

Spiral Binding

Spiral Binding or plastic coil binding

Spiral Binding is also sometimes called coil binding or plastic coil binding. The plastic binding is one continuous spiral shaped piece that winds on to pre- punched holes and is secured off at top and bottom. Most often, Spiral binding is considered the lesser or the 2 styles in terms of professionalism or perceived value.

Both spiral and wire-0 bound books lay flat and flip over 360 degress.  The Spiral bound book will have a slight offset to left and right pages as shown in the picture below. The Wire-o bound book will open with no offset on left and right pages (slight difference that may not matter, depending on the end use.

Generally speaking as the production cost between the 2 styles  may be fairly close in price, but there are some subjective or “other reasons” for choosing one binding method over the next. Spiral bound workbooks are quick and easy to produce and they may be suitable for children’s educational booklet and other types of seminar information, etc. Both spiral and Wire-O are used in cookbooks, planners, journals, workbooks, music books and more.  The spiral mechanism is generally plastic coated, but there are fancier stainless steels and copper spiral mechanisms that are very fancy.

note the offset on left and right page as the book is open. This is due to the spiral.
example of the end cut on a spiral bound booklet








I do hope you have found this helpful. The final end use of your book usually predicates the route to go on binding and finishing. We are here to help answer any questions on your next project. Let me know how we can be of any assistance!



Martin Pugh
Book Publishing Manager



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Free Consultation for Individuals & organizations!

When it's time to print your book, let us be your guide!
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With over 30 years of Book Publishing experience, Marathon Press has helped thousands of clients self-publish anywhere from 20 to 50,000 copies of their book titles. Marathon has worked with several of the top names and organizations in the photography and photobook industry.

Wire-o Bound Booklets and Calendars

Twin Loop, Mechanical Binding

Wire-o Binding for Calendars, Cookbooks and more!
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Some of the style variations we offer are: *Soft cover Wire-O, *Hard cover Wire-O and *Concealed Wire-O (both hard cover and soft cover) * Twin Loop with Calendar Hanger

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Sizes from 8 x 8 up to 14 x 19" !

Layflat Albums
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Marathon’s Layflat Albums are produced with German Pro Photo paper which has a matte finish and a neutral white point with a slight shimmer. Water resistant so you can easily clean off a spill. Acid free and chlorine free.

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Let us be your Guide!

Choose between printed hard cover or cloth bound with optional foil stamping. Optional dust jacket printing with 3 lamination options

Let us help guide you to the most appropriate paper options for your book project. We have 9 standard text options and 6 standard soft cover weight options for paperback books.

We have a long track record of award winning quality work for some of the most demanding artists and photographers in the industry!

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