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What Are Book Signatures, and What Does Imposition Mean?

Once the signatures are ready, they are arranged through a technique known as imposition.

Before your latest book project can be published, it needs to be prepared. One step of the process is creating what is known as a signature. Once the signatures are ready, they are arranged through a technique known as imposition. Imposition allows the book’s pages to be put in the proper order before the first run of printing can begin. Let’s learn about both of these elements of the publishing world.

What Are Book Signatures?

Essentially, book signatures are bundles of raw pages before they take on their final, published form. Several pages can be assembled on a single signature sheet. Large book orders meant to be printed for an extended run through offset printing presses use book signatures most often. But even though this sounds complicated, it isn’t. It merely allows the processes of printing and binding to be completed more quickly and efficiently.


You may be wondering how many pages are in each bundle. The page bundles for each signature are assembled in fours, from 4 pages all the way up to 64. Other example book signatures include the following:

  • 8-page,
  • 12-page,
  • 16-page,
  • 24-page,
  • 32-page

What Does Imposition Mean?

Now that you know what book signatures are, it’s important to know what imposition means as well. The proper layout for the imposition of the book signatures is established through software that your printer will use. Imposition is completed before the book goes to press. The signature needs to be printed, and then folded and trimmed to achieve the correct look. The folds are made both horizontally and vertically so that page 2 will touch page 3, page 6 touches page 7, and page 4 can touch page 5. Once the method of imposition method is finished, you will have a booklet with a spine. The purpose of the trimming technique is to allow this booklet to open. Work with your printer to find the best-looking design for your book, and you should be well on your way to make a splash on store shelves and bestseller lists!

Advantage Book Binding can help you create the printed book you’ve always wanted!

Are you interested in having a bound novel?  Are you entering the workforce, interested in a bound portfolio to showcase your work?  Advantage Book Binding offers plenty of services and binding types that are perfect for suiting your needs. We also offer specialty binding options for those of you looking for something extra special.

Advantage Book Binding can advise you as to what kind of binding style will work best for your specific project, taking into consideration budget requirements to provide you with the most cost-effective and project-specific solution for you. Please contact us today for more information, and keep up with us on Facebook, Google +, Twitter, and LinkedIn.