Q: why are piano books often perfect glue bound and thus, don't lay flat 🤔?

I'm reading so many thread about pianists finding alt ways to view/play their pieces because the glue binding is non-functional (e.g., destroy and rebind their books in drastic cases).


One speculation is that it's cost related, but for high print runs, the production cost of the book wouldn't be that much higher if you changed it to binding that laid flat better.

Most piano books are already "expensive" for their B/W page count. E.g., a 132p Royal Conservatory piano book costs ~$40CAD / 30 USD. Music licensing/royalties factor into that cost, but for a lot of classical composer piano music books, the sheet music is in public domain...

@dirchansky I suspect it's also a lack of forethought, they probably just put the pages together and send them to the printers with no extra thought or information, and above 48-ish pages, printers do perfect binding by default.

Perceived quality may also be part of it. Spiral binding and saddle stitch just seem "crappy", even if they're more practical. And most people don't even think of sewn binding on soft-covers, even though that is an option.

@eishiya TY for weighing in!

So sad that the lack of forethought is forcing so many users/buyers of such books to find workarounds 😭

To your point, if we were to assume that the designer/printer people were being attentive, that maybe they chose against spiral or staple binding because it was thought to scratch up the piano?!

But then like you said, sewn binding would be a good alt...

The truth eludes us!

@dirchansky That's a good point! Both can be coated to make them softer, but I guess they'd still be a scratch risk.

Sewn binding that lays flat requires a book construction just like hardcover books (with a backing strip separate from the cover spine) even if the cover is soft, so it costs like a hardcover would. If the books are softcover, then it's probably because they want them cheap xP

@dirchansky The sad thing is, if they went with PUR binding, it would cost only a little bit more, use the exact same printed pages, but would open fairly flat :| They don't need totally different binding, they just need more flexible glue.

(I still want everything properly sewn together when possible though. Nothing feels nicer and stays flat better <3 But if they want it cheap...)

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