Lulu binding options

edited November 2008 in Game Design Help
I'm looking for a little help from LULU veterans here.

I'm working on a game that I intend to print through Lulu. I had wanted to print it perfect bound, but I read the minimum page count for that is 68 pages, and my game is only 54 pages (will be around 31 sheets). Now I assume that by 68 pages they meet 68 sheets, not 68 facing sides yes?

The alternative seems to be Saddle-stitched, how bad / good looking is that? They describe it as stapled and not actually stitched, is that the case, and how does it look on the spine?


  • AFAIK, It means 68 pages, not 34 sheets. The minimum varies with the format (this page have a table with ranges of pages). Also, the min. for add text on the spine is about 70-80 pages. For example, the Spanish version of Donjon has 74 pages (IIRC), and the spine is only sufficient for the text.
  • So by 68 pages they mean 136 sides, yes? That's what I was assuming
  • edited November 2008
    No, they mean 68 sides.

    I haven't seen a saddle-stitched book from Lulu, but I imagine it'd look OK. You could order a proof copy and see. If it's rubbish, then stick a few adverts in and do it perfect-bound.

    Alternatively, you could simply try to enforce your reality onto Lulu's reality. That might work.

  • Couldn't I just get you to and talk some sense into them Graham, you know, nicely, man to man, arm round the shoulder? :P

    68 sides is much better! I can almost certainly find another 14 sides if needed (adverts, title page, index, illustrations, example scenario), that works.
  • I used their saddle stitch / stapled for the ashcan of Pulp! it seems to work pretty well for thinner books, the cover just wraps. Coil is quite good for short books too, the coil is pretty sturdy.
  • Does it really say that? I've got a perfect bound copy of ReCoil from Lulu, and it's 36 pages (numbered pages, not sheets) with a wrap-around cover.

    I've also got a saddle-stitched copy of Rats in the Walls (read: stapled) at 24 numbered pages that looks pretty decent.

    One thing I've noticed, make sure if you do the wider border for the inside edge of the page (recommended for perfect bound) that it's the correct pages. I didn't do it right in ReCoil, and if you are looking for it, it's pretty obvious, especially because I've got a light background image beneath the text area.

    I guarantee you that unless you're doing Ashcan copies, you'll want to order a proof copy to be sure, because even if you love the binding, if it's your first time setting up a print book, you've probably muffed something else up.

    As my games are still in late alpha testing, they are mostly vanity copies, and they're there just in case an opportunity to playtest comes around. It's much better to pull out a hardcopy of a book when you're volunteering to run something than pulling your laptop out. I'm glad I did them though, because it feels good to have them, and it helps me to refine what needs to happen for retail versions down the line.
  • Also, I did a little digging and found this:

    The page count for a given binding type, for some odd reason, differs by the dimensions of the book.

    If you already knew that, then rock on. If not, it might be worthwhile to lay your book out in a different size.
  • Yes indeed, that's my problem, I'm set on A4 for this book, and it has the higher required number of pages for Perfect Binding :)
  • David,

    Their staple bound books look pretty good at A4 TBH. Last one I did was 64 pages plus cover and that came out just fine. My (personal, subjective) opinion is that Lulu's low pagecount/high pagesize books look a bit pants in Perfect Bound. Bearing in mind that the ones I've seen were all printed in the UK or Spain (although, mostly Spain) and the chances are so will the ones you order.
  • Hmmm, I think the best plan will be to order a copy in each format, one stapled and one perfect and see what I think, since it looks like the final page count will be just around the 68 page mark.

    thanks for the advice guys!
  • Lulu uses a number of different POD printers for their printing, so the different sizes and required page counts vary for that reason.
  • I've had a couple of things done saddle stitched (stapled), eg QMR - Book of Bewildering Beasts at 32 pages IIRC, and they came out OK.

    The main thing I learned from doing it was that going for a smaller page size and therefore more pages would have resulted in a much more pleasing physical artifact.

    Do check out the Lulu prices for different sizes in different countries, because since the recent changes there's a lot of variation.
  • edited November 2008
    Yes, I've checked out the local prices, but I am locked into the size because there is artwork in the game that really needs to be a certain size (or more exactly, I *want* it to be a certain size).

    EDIT : moved the image to the *art for games* thread, where it belongs :)
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