We dealt with the end paper on our blog before. The post focused on one of the possible finishes and its aesthetic aspects. This does not mean that we have said everything there is to be said about the subject. In fact, there is so much more that can be revealed about this inconspicuous element of a book’s anatomy. Today, we will also clarify what “own paper” means.
What is the end paper for?
The main task of the end paper is to bind the inside of the book (the book block) with the cover. If you only remember one thing from this entire post, it should be exactly this bit of information. The end paper has other purposes too; however, the structural one (or consolidating rather) is key. We should therefore attach particular importance to the choice of material from which it is to be made. Due to the strain to which the end paper is exposed, it should be as durable as possible. This would usually come in the shape of paper with grammage higher than what is used for the inside of the book.
The end paper is also extremely important for purely aesthetic reasons. It disguises the cardboard that forms the book’s base cases. It additionally protects the book block from dirt during the bookbinding processes. And on top of that, the endpaper is the first thing the reader sees upon opening the cover, which is why it is worth trying to make it aesthetically pleasing (more on the subject can be found here).
Book block and cover without an end paper:
Tipped end paper – simply a classic
We will start with the most popular and durable type of end paper. Tipped end papers are made of two four-page sheets. They are glued to the inside of the book’s base cases and the book block. Simply put, tipped end paper consists of two sheets of paper that, when folded in half, will be of the same size as the pages of the book block. The sheets are then pasted down to the second and third pages of the cover, and to the inside of the book. So, as you can guess, if you decide to print anything on your end paper, it will be printed only on one side of it, that is in a 4+0 configuration (you can read about this type of markings here). However, not the entire first and last page of the inside of the book will be covered with glue. To permanently bind the inside with the end paper (and thus the cover), it is enough to apply only a thin strip of glue (a few millimetres wide) along the spine of the book on the first and last page of the block. This way of binding the block with the cover is extremely durable and hardwearing.
The diagram is also showing us that it is possible to print on the end paper in a 4+4 configuration. This means that we can place graphics not only on the traditional second and third pages of the end paper, but also on page 4, i.e. the one that is directly adjacent to the inside of the book. Naturally, nothing is printed on the first page of the end paper and the thin strip along the spine of the book on the fourth page as these surfaces of the sheet will be covered with glue and attached to the cover and the book block, respectively.
Own paper – going for a shortcut
Own papers are used for thinner publications, e.g. those consisting of 24 and 32 pages. The own paper is made up of the first and last sheet of the book block glued to the inside pages of the book’s base cases. This means that nothing is printed on either the first or the last page of the inside as they will be glued to the base cases anyway. Thus, what the reader sees as the second and third pages of the cover are the second and the penultimate pages of the block, respectively. It sounds complicated, however it all becomes much clearer when you look at the diagram.
This type of an end paper is usually used at the customer’s request. As a rule, irrespective of the thickness of the book, we would apply tipped end papers. In thinner publications, tipped end papers are sometimes even required: the two additional sheets that make up the end paper add a bit of volume to the publication, thus being friendlier to the machinery. However, if our customers clearly state that this is what they want, and there are no technical objections to do this, we are happy to apply the own paper.
Hooked end paper – a hybrid among end papers
The hooked end paper is a distinctive type of an end paper, rarely applied, and for a limited type of products only. This is because this type of binding itself is unusual: it is a hybrid of a saddle stitched binding and a hardcover, where a single folded end paper wraps around the single-signature inside; it is added as the last sheet in the signature. The sheets of the publication’s inside and the end paper are bound with staples. The first and last pages of the end paper are fastened to the cover with glue. As mentioned before, this type of an end paper is not a daily occurrence at our printing house. We wanted to discuss it here more as a way of presenting the options available rather than something that is commonly used.
Knowing these three types of end papers, can we be sure that nothing will surprise us anymore? Not quite… Sometimes we encounter such works of the book printing art as bookbinders would not be able to even imagine. However, knowing these three types discussed above is enough not to feel lost when the subject of end papers is broached.