Singer Sewn, Saddle Stitched and Volant all come under the ‘Cahier’ family of notebook, which in French translates to notebook. The difference here between a more classic notebook such as a hardbound is its flexible binding, almost like a jotter or exercise book. These types of notebook are more lightweight, thinner with a more contemporary feel.
Saddle stitching is a simple but effective way of binding using metal staples (in the printing industry, stapling is commonly called stitching). The process simply involves stapling the collected and folded sheets of paper through the centre pages. This way, the cover and inside pages are bound together at the same time, rather than creating a book block and attaching the cover afterwards. The excess paper is then trimmed off the three exposed sides to ensure a neat finish and the correct final size. Generally speaking two staples are used but with larger books more may be needed.
Due to the nature of this binding method, there are some restrictions for saddle stitched notebooks. Fewer pages are preferable (up to 64 as a guide) as it prevents bowing in the centre where the pages are folded. Any more pages may prevent the notebook from closing as tightly and create a bulky finish. Saddle stitching also requires page numbers to be in multiples of 4. But there are also some strong advantages to saddle stitching, including low production costs and generally fast turnaround. The pages naturally lie flat which can be perfect for sketchbooks. Although this finish doesn’t come with the same level of sophistication as a hardcover notebook, it is well suited to producing high quantities and notebooks that are intended for everyday use.
Singer sewn notebooks are very similar to saddle stitched notebooks, except thread is used to stitch the pages together rather than them being stapled. Depending on the requirements for the notebook, this has a few advantages over saddle stitching.
Singer sewn notebooks tend to be more secure than saddle stitched, due to the number of stitches down the spine which can total around 40. They are also more customisable and therefore allows for more creativity, as you can choose the specific colour of the thread to complement or contrast the cover colour. Equally, you can match the brand colours to create a seamless look between the cover and thread.
A volant is very similar to a singer sewn notebook or exercise book, but the difference is in the outside material or cover. The cover is wrapped around the notebook pages so therefore the inner stitching of the bookblock is not visible.
A volant is a great choice of notebook if you want something for everyday use as it is thin, lightweight and flexible. Because of the binding, you get a much smaller amount of pages within the book. It is a slim notebook with a ‘false cover’; one sheet of material that tightly encloses the sewn pages inside. The volant is commonly an A5 size, slim, with rounded edges – this would easily fit in your pocket and a perfect note keeper.