PUR Binding vs. Smyth Sewn Binding

Two books of approximate equal thickness. PUR Bound hardcover on the left and Smyth Sewn Hardcover on the right

We are often asked for the term “layflat binding”, which in our operation is a completely different type of binding. But with further questioning, we usually determine the need is for either Smyth Sewn Binding or PUR Binding.

So which one of the 2 lays open flat?

Which one lays open flatter? In this comparison it is very hard to say which one is better. They are nearly comparable in open-ability.

The typical default answer would normally be that Smyth Sewn Binding lays more flat than a PUR bound book.The answer to this question isn’t as straightforward as you would expect. In this example, with books of a substantial page count (and thus weight), the 2 books are hard to differentiate. Over the years I have discovered that different paper stocks, different page dimensions and different page counts will open differently.

Aside from open-ability qualities, there are other factors to consider such as production cost, production time and durability.

A few highlights to consider:
* Smyth Sewn Binding will run more money than a PUR Bound copy of the same book.
* Smyth Sewn Binding will take longer to produce, due to more steps in the process.
* PUR Binding is the strongest type of adhesive binding in the industry. Smyth sewn is also traditionally the best type of binding, but in theory it could fall apart due to wear and tear sooner than a PUR Hard cover.

Care to talk about the options? Feel free to call me or email for a free consultation on your project and options for manufacturing your bext edition!

Martin Pugh
Marathon Press
(402) 371-5040