In today’s world, so much of what we purchase is digital. This is a useful feature for those of us who read a lot because it saves precious space in our homes, making it more functional for other things. Still, there are some digital ebooks that need to be printed, such as a printable planner. Let’s talk about some ways we can make yours functional for daily use.
These ideas will give you plenty of options for binding cheaply, which works fine for most ebooks and printable planners. We will also talk about how to bind your books at home in a way that will make them much easier to use, but it will cost a bit up front.
PRO TIP: Don’t want to do any of the binding yourself? No problem. You can always take it to your local office supply store and have them do it for you!
Since we are primarily talking about printable planners, I will give you the pros and cons from that perspective. This will give you an idea of what will make your printable planners more functional and easy to use on a daily basis.
Ways to Bind Your Printable Planner
Depending on what type of planner you are working with, you will need to open it every day, week or month to look inside. Keep in mind what your specific needs are for your planner or ebook.
For instance, is yours a garden planner? You will likely open it at least every week if not every day to find out what your garden needs, if not every day.
In any case, the following is a very brief overview of each type of binding. While I have not used them all, I am familiar with some of these methods and machines.
Please take special note of the pros and cons I list, as those will be specific to my thoughts on using each method for printable planners, rather than all ebooks in general.
Very Low or No-Cost
If you are looking to bind your planner quickly and inexpensively and you have a home office, you may already have what you need to bind your new ebook or printable planner.
It may not be the very best way, but it will render your new item usable today. You can always do something different in a few days if your quick solution doesn’t work well for you. Here are some ideas:
Pros: brads are a very inexpensive option, small and compact enough to keep them in your drawer for future printable planners and ebooks
Cons: not the best binding for an often-used book like a planner, doesn’t look nice, you need a 3-hole punch
Cost: $1-3 (more if you need a 3-hole punch)
3. Binder Clips
Pros: binder clips are quick and very easy to use, can be removed and replaced easily when you need to turn pages
Cons: you have to remove the clip every time you want to turn the page, not the best for a book or planner you will use daily
4. Reclaimed Notebook
Pros: perfect to use for a printable planner–provides easy page-turning and makes your planner able to be divided into sections, FREE!
Cons: might be dirty or worn
Cost: $0 (unless you need a 3-hole punch)
Low to Mid Cost
These solutions will most likely require you to get out to the store, and will definitely cost more if you don’t already stock these items in your home office.
5. Clear Window Binder + Sheet Protectors
Pros: a clear window binder allows an option for a prettier planner cover, page protectors keep your pages from getting worn. Sometimes you can use erasable pen on the page protectors so no reprinting or waste is
Cons: if you plan to have your planner split into sections, the sheet protectors tend to cover the tabs on most store-bought section dividers; if you don’t find a decent erasable pen for your sheet protectors, you will need to have some of the pages uncovered, and you’ll need to reprint them often
6. Hand Binding
Pros: looks nice, can be done cheaply, or more expensively, you can add a custom bookmark to the book itself, fully customizable
Cons: hand binding is time consuming to learn and do, requires tools you may not have handy
Cost: $10-15 (assuming you have a drill)
Higher Cost (but only for the first book)
These options will cost more on the front end, but once you spend the money, you can bind plenty of printable planners and ebooks with what you have, depending on the size of the planner or ebook.
7. Comb Binding
Pros: looks nice, fast and easy, will never need to purchase another machine, and the combs are pretty inexpensive for a box (starting at .06+ depending on size); allows book to lay flat when opened, which means it is easy to use, turn pages, and write on any pages you need to
Cons: a comb binder will start at about $60, so it’s a lot of money to shell out in the beginning; sometimes the “teeth” of the comb will come off the pages in weird places (but it’s pretty easily fixed once you get the hang of comb binding); manual
8. Coil Binding
Pros: spiral/coil binding works really well for books, and there is no chance of pages becoming unbound in weird places; looks much nicer than other binding methods; allows book to lay flat when opened, which means it is easy to use, turn pages, and write on any pages you need to
Cons: any coil binder will have a higher starting price and the coils are more expensive by about 3x the price of combs (.40+ depending on size); there is a chance of the coil creeping out of the holes on one end of the book (usually with lots of use); manual
9. Wire Binding
Pros: wire binding works really well for books, and there is no chance of pages becoming unbound in weird places; looks much nicer than other binding methods; allows book to lay flat when opened, which means it is easy to use, turn pages, and write on any pages you need to
Cons: a wire binder machine is more expensive than most of the other options, but still more affordable than a coil binding machine; binding spines are about the same as the coil spines and way more than the comb binding spines (.40+ depending on size); manual
10. Thermal Binding
Pros: binding with a thermal binder looks the nicest; machine is electric so the work is done by the machine; relatively inexpensive to get started, coming just behind the comb binding option
Cons: the binding paper is very expensive ($1+ depending on size); book will not lay flat as with the above machine binding examples
Hopefully this brief overview has helped you make a decision on the type of binding that will work best for your needs. Which one did you choose?
Carol L says
This post is really timely for me, and a great resource. It would be nice to SEE what each looks like (NOT the machines, but the BOOKS after they are bound.)
WHY do you need special paper for the thermal one? These, I thought , were for after you have printed the book out …..