I'm an amateur typographer. Until now, I've always printed various sizes of prints, flyers, saddle stitch, and so on.

I would like to move to small perfect bound paperbacks. However, I don't know where to start.

What kind of glue should I use to create these, and what tool can I use to apply it? Are there chemical risks associated with some kinds of products, or can they be used safely in a home environment?

Because most of my work is done using printers, the glue should be compatible with common kinds of inkjet and laser printers, common paper, coated paper for printing photos, and inks (toner, dye and pigmented inks).


Are there machines that would make this process quickly repeatable and with good results?

3 Answers 3


There are machines for doing perfect binding on a small scale. They start in roughly the $50-$100 price range, and go up from there. They're generally "thermal" (they heat a strip of hot melt glue in the binding). If you search "thermal binder", you'll find a bunch of options. Here's a random, low-cost example from Amazon just as an illustration:

enter image description here Source

Most of the large companies that make binding equipment and supplies, like Fellowes and GBC, offer versions.

The general way they work is you use a cover that has a glue strip in it. You wrap the cover around the pages and stick the assembly in an upright guide over a heating element. The machine melts the adhesive, then you stick the book in a cooling stand. The whole process takes a few minutes per book.

You can buy premade covers that have an opaque back and transparent front, so your own cover art shows through. They also sell glue strips that you can stick in your own cover.

I've used similar machines that were more "commercial grade". The process is simple, fast, and clean, and the results look very professional. They work with any type of paper and don't affect the printing (the heat is applied only to the edge).

If you mess up, or need to remove or replace a page, you can usually just put the book back in the machine, remelt the glue, and swap out the page.

  • Thanks for the reply, I would like to know if the kind of result with an automatic machine could be good enough to be sold. I would avoid premade covers because the books I will print will have their and the strip holding pages element will be hidden inside the cover itself. Are also machines like that up to A3 size ? Nov 9, 2019 at 16:38
  • @user3450548, the results look very professional, like a commercial result. When I used one years ago, we had plain heavyweight paper covers. Some are like a single piece of cardstock and some are like cardstock covers with a flexible cloth tape binding connecting them. You could also create your own using glue strips. This link will give you an idea of the kind of stuff readily available. (cont'd)
    – fixer1234
    Nov 9, 2019 at 18:38
  • 1
    A3 is pretty big, so it might be a challenge to find off-the-shelf covers, although if the cover will be glued inside another cover, you may not need full-size. I suspect binding on the short edge wouldn't be a problem because that's a pretty standard dimension. Binding on the long edge would probably depend on the machine. I wouldn't be surprised if the inexpensive machines don't handle something that long. You'd need to look at the specs.
    – fixer1234
    Nov 9, 2019 at 18:38

I do a lot of bookbinding, and I always use good 'ole Tacky Glue for everything. It dries flexible and clear and is pretty strong. You can get it cheap at Hobby Lobby. I've used this glue on many a book and never had any regrets at all.


For paperback you should use dendrite(known as Dandy in Bangladesh). It looks yellow. I am using this for papers and books for a long time.

enter image description here

  • 3
    Thanks for posting this. It looks like Dendrite is a brand name for a bunch of different kinds of adhesives, and might be sold only in India. Can you add a link to a specific product to help identify the one you're referring to? Also, if you can find a generic description of the glue, it might help people in other areas find a locally available equivalent.
    – fixer1234
    Nov 6, 2019 at 16:59

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