Exporting your Perfect Bound Book as a PDF File

File > Export > Adobe PDF (print)

Body File
Export your body/inside file as Pages

Cover File
Export your cover file as Spreads

Marks & Bleeds
Check Crop Marks, Bleed Marks, and Use Document Bleed Settings.


Check Video PDF after Exporting to be sure that your PDF file looks correct.

Make sure to open your PDF in Acrobat.

File Examples

When you open your two files in Acrobat, this is what they should look like

If you want the inside of your cover to be something other than the paper color, make sure your cover file has two pages. The inside of the front cover is on the left and the inside of the back cover is on the right.

Need Extra Help?

If you have further questions about file setup, please contact us by email or by scheduling a consultation.

File Preparation for Perfect Binding

Booklet Sizes

8″ x 10″ (portrait) or smaller are standard book sizes.

Covers larger than 12″ x 18″ must be printed on our inkjet printers. This costs more (we charge our inkjet by the square foot of your image) and this will add up to 1-2 business days to your turnaround time. Keep in mind that our inkjet papers also cannot print double-sided and depending on the paper selection may have a watermark on the backside of the paper. 

Spine Calculations

Below is an estimate of spine width calculations. Keep in mind this is just an estimate.

The dimensions of your spine will depend on the paper type you choose for your interior pages and the thickness of the paper stock.

We will do our best to adjust your cover file if needed. However, we may ask that you edit and resend your cover file once the binding process is underway. Please keep an eye on your CCS email.

File Preparation

You will need to create 2 InDesign files. There will be a Body/Insides file and a Cover file.

Body File

The interior pages must be laid out in InDesign, as facing pages, with a bleed included in the document.

Document Size is the dimensions of your final book in inches.
Bleed set to 0.125″ on all sides
Margins set to at least 0.25″ on all sides


Cover File

The interior pages must be laid out in File > New Document…

Height = Page Height
Width = Spine Width + (Page Width x 2)

Give your cover file 2 columns and set the column margin to be the spine width. You now have guides for your spine. 

Set your Documents Margins & Bleeds to 0.125″ (to match your body file)



Perfect bound books are glued at the spine which results in approximately a 1/4″- 3/8″ of the inside edge of your pages to be less visible since a perfect bound book cannot lay completely flat without the spine breaking. 

There will be a portion of each inside page that will lose visibility (or be swallowed) into the spine. Be mindful of this while designing and adding an extra cushion to the binding-side margin of each page. We recommend approximately 1/2″ of a cushion. 

For this reason, we highly recommend printing a proof copy before submission. 

How to design for images & text across a two-page spread

The gutter can be problematic when you are placing an image across the center spine. 

When an image or text covers a two-page spread, the inside 1/4″ on both pages will be obscured. This amounts to approximately 1/2″ in the center of the image or book. Text and images may not line up correctly across the spine. This is a natural occurrence with a perfect-bound booklet. 

Generally speaking, 1/2″ for your gutter margin is the best recommendation for most books.

Need Extra Help?

If you have further questions about file setup, please contact us by email or by scheduling a consultation.

Pricing & Paper Information

The Imaging Center offers a bulk discount on select “body” papers for perfect-bound books.

The Imaging Center offers a variety of papers for discounted perfect-bound books. If you intend on using a paper not included in the available paper list, the cost per sheet will be outside of the discounted pricing we offer for perfect binding. This can increase the cost of your job considerably.

Pricing chart for Imaging Center supplied paper

We encourage students to provide their own paper. Students can supply their own paper or work already printed, but some papers won’t work in our printers or perfect binder, so check with an Imaging Center Technician before submitting your job. 

Pricing chart for student supplied paper (BYOP)

Please make an appointment via Calendly to drop off the paper or to chat with an IC staff member about what would work best for your project.

Perfect Binding

Perfect Binding is a form of bookbinding in which the book pages are bound by gluing together single sheets. With this binding method, the pages and cover are glued together at the spine with a strong yet flexible glue. The other three sides of the book are trimmed as needed to give them clean “perfect” edges. Because of this gluing process, creating the square spine, the pages do not lay flat while you are flipping through them. 

Perfect bound books look clean and professional. They are ideal for catalogs, portfolios, photo albums, small-run comics, and self-published artists’ books.

Perfect binding works best for books that are 20+ printed pages. If less, it might be cheaper and more ideal to either saddle-stitch or wire/plastic bind your booklet.

Turnaround Times & Proofing

The standard turnaround time for the entire perfect binding process is 8 business days, not including weekends. The IC can have a proof copy ready in three (3) days, and the finished book(s) (5) five days after the proof is approved. This does not include weekends. 

If you do not want a proof copy, your final book(s) will still take 5 business days. 

We highly recommend getting a proof of your book. Proof copies are printed on the papers that you have selected at the sizes you submit. If you are supplying your own media, make sure to supply the IC enough paper for the proof & final copies. 

Proofs are 1/2 price if you approve the order. If you decide to cancel the order, the proof copy will remain at full price. 

Proofs are labeled with a sticker on the inside cover. 

The perfect binding process at the Imaging Center is done all by hand and takes a considerable amount of production time which pulls trained staff & management away from their other duties. For this reason, the IC does reserve the right to deny certain amounts of perfect binding requests. We may recommend other options for booklet binding (saddle-stitch or wire/plastic coil)