[UPDATED]: In this blog post we thought we’d explain, in a bit more detail, the various thesis printing and binding options available at The Document Centre, London. Here we look at the options in the same order as they appear on the online order form, so that it’s possible to cross-refer. The photo montage above also illustrates many of the options discussed. So, first up are the options for printing of the actual pages …

Standard Printing Options:

For the internal pages of the thesis or dissertation, our standard paper is 100gsm and is excellent quality, suitable for both pin-sharp text and vivid photographs and graphics. The pages are printed digitally using our state-of-the-art digital printers. During the ordering process you can specify how many pages are to be printed in black and white, and how many are to be in full colour (you can have a mix of both and do notnormally need to tell us which pages are which as that is usually self-evident within the PDF you supply). Specifying the correct quantity of each, however, will give you an accurate final price for your order.

Unless the ‘I require double-sided printing‘ box is checked during the online ordering process, we print internal pages single-sided by default. This is because virtually all universities specify single-sided printing in their thesis/dissertation printing specifications. However you can overrule that, i.e. have double-sided printing, by checking the box if you wish.

Types of Binding Available:

When it comes to thesis binding, most universities require ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ binding but there are some exceptions so we’ll go through all the various binding options available so that it covers all possible university specifications:

Hard binding (usually used for final submission of a thesis/dissertation): this is a style of bookbinding which is rather like traditional hard-back books i.e. the covers and spine are strong and very rigid while internal pages are securely bound in. As with hardback books you’d see in a bookshop, the covers extend slightly further than the internal pages. Our hard-bound theses and dissertations come with a ‘library buckram cloth’ covering which has a pleasant texture and is hard-wearing. A large range of colours are available to suit any university specification. On the online order form you can choose to have metallic foil lettering on the front cover should you wish (for university thesis binding it will usually appear on the spine by default).

Soft binding is a little similar to hard binding (see above) except the covers are not as thick and therefore not as rigid and the internal pages are thermally glued in. However the finished book is still usually able to stand unaided on a book shelf. The covers and spine are covered in a library buckram book cloth although, unlike with hard binding, the outer covers are cut flush with the internal pages. This type of bookbinding is often used for first submission of your thesis or dissertation. The buckram covering is available in a large range of colours to suit any university specification and, for university dissertations, gold or silver foil lettering usually also appears on the spine, by default.

Wiro binding: this method of document binding uses a wire coil (or spiral) to hold the pages together. The pages are first punched with a series of regularly-spaced holes near the binding edge and then the wire spine is clamped down through the holes in the pages so as to keep them in place. The wire spine comes in several colours and also allows the document pages to be turned through 360 degrees and to open completely flat if required. Usually a transparent cover is included at the front end and a card cover at the back. Wiro binding can usually be done while-you-wait, without an appointment.

Velo binding: this is another simple and fast method of document binding and, as such, can also be done in-store while you wait, usually without an appointment. Like wiro binding, velo binding also comes with a transparent plastic front cover and card back cover and the pages also have regularly punched holes (but just 12 in number for velo) near the spine. Different, though, is the binding method; with velo binding the document is bound using a 12-pin binding system which is able to bind up to 600 sheets of paper (3 inches max.) which is way beyond the capability of wiro binding. Universities like King’s College have started to specify this binding system for theses and dissertations in recent times. Learn more about velo binding here.

Thermal binding: as with velo and wiro binding, thermal binding also usually comes with a clear plastic front cover and card back cover and is quick and easy (so can also usually be done while you wait). The binding mechanism is via thermal (hot) glue rather than any physical ‘spine’ addition. Thermal binding is also known as Glue binding, Fastback, Thermo and Perfect binding.

Optional Extras:

As well as the standard printing and binding options outlined above, other optional extras include:

A plastic pocket to hold a CD or DVD. Usually this is positioned in the inside of the back cover but you are free to instruct us otherwise if you prefer it elsewhere (there is a space for special instructions towards the end of the online ordering process).

A CD can be burned or copied so that it contains your file(s). This can be housed in a plastic pocket which can be supplied loose or inserted into your binding, as you prefer. As above there is a space for any special instructions towards the end of the online ordering process.

A plastic corner pocket which can house loose inserts can be glued to the inside back cover, or other location — even left loose if you prefer to position it yourself.

A cloth corner pocket (suitable for hardbound books only) can be supplied instead of the plastic variety. This is positioned on the inside back cover board and can contain loose inserts etc.

A cloth ‘register’ ribbon (again for hardbinding only) can be bound into the book, for use as a bookmark. A variety of colours are available.

Foil (shiny metallic) lettering: For hard and soft binding for university theses, we usually add silver or gold foil lettering to the spines by default. However for hard binding we can also foil on the front cover (as is appropriate for your particular university). Gold is the default so tick the override box if you need silver foil instead. On the online order form, within the ‘Binding Style & Presentation‘ section near the bottom, fill in the appropriate fields for things like the university, degree, first name, family name and so on, and please check your spelling carefully before submitting your order because we will print what you supply.

Turnaround Times

You have quite a range of options to choose from, including:

  • 2 hour turnaround (available during all but our busiest months – orders being processed between 9am and 3pm);
  • 4 hour turnaround (available during all but our busiest months – orders being processed between 9am and 1pm);
  • Same day turnaround (orders must be received by 10.30am in order to be available from 3.30pm the same working day);
  • 2 working day turnaround (orders must be received by 10.30am for that day to count as the first day);
  • 3 working day turnaround (orders must be received by 10.30am for that day to count as the first day).

Please note that turnaround times are for week days only; weekends are not counted as working days.

Example: Order by 10.30am latest on a Monday morning and, if you ordered a 3 day service, your order will be ready by 3.30pm on the Wednesday.

Free Delivery to many London Universities

Once completed, bound dissertations/theses can be delivered free to certain London universities and institutions. These are: Berkbeck College (WC1), James C Maxwell Building, Franklin-Wilkins Building, SOAS, Imperial College, Gower Street, King’s College (Guy’s and Strand campuses), Courtaulds (Strand), The Institute of Education, the London School of Tropical Medicine, Christie’s Education and Regent’s Business School. More can be seen on the Delivery section of the online order form.

It is also possible, when ordering, to specify a different 2nd and 3rd delivery address for any duplicate copies being ordered. So we could send one to your university and another to your home address, for example.

So — whatever specification is required, we have it covered at The Document Centre. All dissertations are bound to the exact university specifications required (unless you tell us otherwise) and, as you can see above, there is a huge amount of flexibility regarding optional extras, turnaround times and even delivery. As the first bookbinders to bring in online ordering of thesis binding into the UK, we have things down to a fine art and are a ‘preferred supplier’ for many of the UK’s universities. To order your thesis binding online click herecontact us or see a map of our London location here, here or simply call us on 0207 928 9738. Lastly, for more about our printing, bookbinding and thesis binding services and the types of binding available, click here.