There are a large number of finishing options available for productions printers, so we will focus on the most commonly used finishers. Booklet makers, commonly referred to as saddle stitchers, allow a production printer to output finished booklets from the end of the machine. These booklets feature staples that are inserted into the fold of the booklet to hold the pages together. Booklet makers also incorporate a folder to allow for the fold or spine where the staples or “stiches” are inserted. Folders are also a common finishing option, but they are almost always offered as a part of a booklet making capability.
Often times, a booklet maker will include the ability to trim the edges of a booklet as part of the booklet making process. This is important if the booklets have “bleed” or printed image that runs off the edge of the page(s). One important feature of a high-quality trimmer is the ability to quickly and efficiently collect and eject the scrap paper that is trimmed off the edges of the booklet.
Another desirable feature is square folding. Square folding is just like you would think it is. The booklet maker makes two folds in the spine area of the booklet and places a staple in the center of the spine. The result is a booklet that tends to lie flat and has the appearance of a perfect bound booklet.
In-line perfect binders are one of the most expensive finishing options available for a production printer. A perfect binder allows for large, thick paperback books to be produced in-line with the printer. The pages are collected in the finisher until there are a complete set of pages for a book. The stack of pages passes through a grinder where the spine or bound edge is “roughed up” in preparation for hot glue binding. The glue is applied, a cover is fitted to the stack of pages, and the three edges of the book are trimmed.
There are a wide range of costs for production printing finishers. A basic finisher can cost around $3000 to $5000, while a full-featured booklet maker with all the options can range from $20,000 to $50,000. Some of the faster, more feature-rich in-line perfect binders can cost over $100,000, occasionally approaching or exceeding the cost of the production printer itself.