A saddle-stitched or stapled booklet is a booklet of up to about 64 pages, bound at the spine using two staples. This is usually the most economical method of binding a booklet.
However, the amount of times I have been asked for a booklet with a weird number of pages like 10, or even 7, I have lost count! So in this post I will explain why that can’t be done.
I think the main reason for this is a confusion of terminology, between those doing the printing, and those who need the printing done.
In the printing industry, the number of pages in a saddle-stitched booklet is well known to have to be a multiple of four. This is because one sheet of paper has two sides, and once folded in half, it has four sides. Outside the printing industry, a person might consider only the front and back of “leaf”, forgetting the other half of the folded sheet (located elsewhere in the booklet) needs to be considered.
What’s in a name?
To create a saddle-stitched booklet, multiple sheets of paper are folded in half, laid across a “saddle” then stapled together along the spine with two wire staples, to make the “stitches”.
The other three edges are then back-trimmed for a neat finish. To create a booklet with A4 pages, the open/flat size of the sheets will be A3.
Each sheet of paper has a front and a back, so two sides.
Fold the sheet in half. Unless you have messed up royally, you should now have something resembling the below.
Now you have four pages.
But what if you need eight pages? Take a second sheet of paper, fold it in half, slide it inside the other folded sheet, and staple those suckers together right on the fold.
Now you have eight pages.
But wait, you need more? Add another folded sheet. Boom, twelve pages!
This means that if you would like your booklet to be stapled, your total number of pages must be a multiple of four.
“But MJ, I have ten pages!”
If a page in your stapled booklet is blank, does it cease to exist?
You will either have to cull your stapled booklet back to eight pages, or pad it out to twelve.
Supplying the file
One more important thing to consider here is that when setting up the design for your booklet, every printer will want this supplied as single pages, and NOT as spreads. When the pages are printed they will be actually be done in “sections”. This is perfect for the outer cover, and the inside spread. But the rest of the pages will not be printed side by side.
The smaller dimensions your stapled booklet has, the more complicated the imposition can be! Lucky our stellar prepress department can take care of the hard part for you.