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Misunderstanding of binding terms:

Instant binding – Temporary binding – While-u-wait binding – Soft binding:


Misunderstanding of binding terms caused from social construct discourse of institutions such as Universities and Colleges, in addition to the misunderstanding of the students discourse of the same terms. However, the bookbinder has specific terms for each style, although has l adopted university and student terms to allow ease of accessibility, but this in itself leads to greater miss conceptions and perceptions of various binding styles.

Universities and Colleges use different constructed language for binding styles. The institutional use of ‘Soft binding’ was originally used for pre-viva work that needed to be assessed at the Viva and may require additions or alteration dependant on the viva panel suggestions. Therefore, a Temporary Soft style of binding was required for this. Prior to the final adjusted text to be Hard bound and in a ready for University Library submission and publication.


This illustrates the use of institutionalised socially constructed language of the term ‘Soft Binding’ that can be anything other than soft. Modern Universities such as the University of London Colleges; UCL, KCL, Goldsmiths, Royal Holloway, Birkbeck, I of E, Queens College, Queen Mary, LSE, Imperial College etc, ask for the ‘Soft binding’ to be able to stand alone without falling over. This specification requires thin boards to be attached under the cloth cover, students can often mistake this style for a Hard binding and appears far from soft or temporary.

In addition, other styles of Soft, Temporary, Instant binding is bound as a while-u-wait service with the styles of Wire binding, Thermo binding and Velo binding. (Please see separate pages for these styles).

Students may perceive that Wire, Velo and Thermo binding are ‘soft’ and ‘Temporary’. However, Student often uses the term ‘Soft binding’ to mean a ‘Paperback ‘style of binding, this style is actually termed Perfect binding.



Wire binding

Velo binding

Thermo binding

Perfect binding

Written by David Stevens