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A Glossary of Photobook Tools and Terms

The art and craft of bookmaking long predates photography as an expressive medium. Like any discipline, book design/publishing comes with its own nomenclature. Below are some common terms that you may encounter when you begin making and publishing photo books.

Accordion (Concertina) Fold: Parallel folds that open up like an accordion.

Addendum: Information added to the end of a book after publication.

Appendix: Supplemental information added to the end of a book (tables, glossary, bibliography, etc.).

Awl: A tool used for piercing paper to produce pathways for thread when sewing a text block. For best results, an awl should be just slightly larger than the needle used for sewing.

Caption: Awls are used for cleanly punching holes to provide a pathway for thread.
Awls are used for cleanly punching holes to provide a pathway for thread.

Back Matter: Refers to the appendix, index, and colophon at the end of a book.

Bench Sewing: Sewing through a fold to combine signatures into a text block.

Bleed: Edge of the page that is trimmed. If you want images to extend all the way to the edge of your page, you should allow them to extend a bit into the bleed, so you don’t get a thin white line at the edge of the page.

Bone Folder: A tool used for folding creases to produce crisp folded edges.

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