Inner bleed not needed for perfect binding?

Am I correct that an inner bleed isn’t required when designing a book layout (perfect binding)?

Also, does the gutter need to accommodate loss of page width during the binding process, or is it so minimal that designers don’t worry about this?

Inner bleed is not required for perfect binding. As with all things like this, the precise impact of the binding process will vary to some degree. The last perfect bound book I did had no requirement for bleed, but the spine edges were left longer to allow for grinding off.

Ask the print finisher what their requirements are and you will have a template for the job.

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Yes, it’s something to consider, but there’s no one-size-fits-all rule for this. It’s as much of an aesthetic consideration as a practical one.

Since perfect-bound books don’t open flat, there’s always some space lost as the page disappears down into the gutter. You don’t want text, for example, to slip so far down into the gutter that it becomes awkward for people to read.

When I faced this problem, I usually found a similar perfect-bound book and measured how much space to leave to provide me with whatever comfortable inside margin I’d need.

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I’d ask the printer or bindery. In theory, it seems like the bleed is not needed, but I have one print vendor (who is a high-end, trusted printer with the latest technology) who requests bleeds on all four sides of multi-page, saddle stitched projects. I’ve never done anything with them that was perfect bound, so I don’t know if that would change.

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For what it’s worth, I always include the bleeds on all four sides, even on perfect-bound books. I’ve talked to printers who want them and others who tell me they simply remove them during imposition. I’ve never had a printer complain because I included them. Since they’re easier for a printer to remove than add, I’ve included them.

Another thing to consider (actually to not consider since the binder will do it unless they tell you otherwise), is that a small amount of unprinted paper needs to occur before the edge of the leaves of paper where they’re glued (4–5 mm or so) — even for photos or background colors that might bleed into the gutter. Ink extending all the way to the edge would interfere with the binding glue.