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Why is a “Self Cover” Booklet more Economical?

A woman reading an Instruction Manual

What is a Self Cover Booklet?

The majority of books and booklets are produced using a different paper stock for the cover than what is used for the interior pages. For example, it is very common to use a heavier weight of paper for the cover and a lighter weight of paper for the pages. It is also common for a booklet's cover to be made from a coated paper stock while the inside pages are uncoated. In both of these examples, the paper stock for the cover is a different type of paper than what is used for the interior pages.

However, a Self-Cover Booklet uses the same type of paper for the outside cover as it does for the interior pages. The entire booklet, cover and pages, is printed on the exact same type and weight of paper. The ink colors could be different between the cover and pages but as long as the paper used throughout the entire booklet is the exact same type and basis weight, it is known as a Self-Cover booklet.

By the way, any softcover book could technically be produced as a self cover book. But 99% of the time, the self cover option is used in conjunction with the saddle-stitch binding method.

Why is a Self Cover Booklet more economical?

You might surmise that a heavier weight of paper costs more than its lighter counterpart, and thus foregoing the heavier cover will result in some cost savings. Although this is true, any savings due to paper differences are usually minimal. The real savings of a self-cover booklet arise from the efficiencies gained during the printing and assembly phases of production.

Because a self cover book uses the exact same paper throughout, the entire book can be printed, folded, and assembled as a single production run. Conversely, a book that requires the cover to be printed on a different stock than the pages would need two separate production runs - one for the pages and one for the cover. Each would have to be run through the printing press separately, then the pages and cover would have to be matched up and collated together prior to binding. This adds additional time and labor cost to the project.

Another production step that can often be eliminated when producing self-cover books is the scoring of the cover. Heavier cover stocks often need to be scored along the fold line prior to saddle-stitching so they fold smoothly. By using a thinner text weight for the cover, this step can often be eliminated.

Additionally, paper weight is a big consideration for printed items that are sent through the mail. This is why almost all saddle-stitched mailers and newsletters are created as self-cover booklets. Foregoing a heavier cover and using a lighter weight of paper for the entire document will often keep the piece from entering into a higher postage bracket.

What type of Booklet Projects use the Self Cover option?

A printed brochure lying on a table

Saddle-stitched instruction booklets, such as those included with a manufactured product to explain assembly, proper use, and maintenance are often made as self cover booklets using a basic paper stock. Most product instruction booklets will only be referred to a few times, so there is no real need for a durable cover.

Also, multi-page brochures are almost always made with the self-cover option and use the same gloss paper stock throughout. In fact, brochures for high-end products will often use a heavier cover weight for the entire document to add a prestigious look and feel.

Saddle-stitched magazines and comic books are sometimes made as self cover booklets, as are some product catalogs. Multi-page newsletters and bulletins sent through the mail are often made as self cover booklets to reduce the overall weight of the document, thus saving on postage.

Color Vision can produce just about any type of book or booklet you may need, self-cover or otherwise. If you have an upcoming project, get in touch with us at 800-543-6299 or submit our quote request form. We offer all softcover binding methods as well as a variety of finishing options. We look forward to assisting with your next print project!

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