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Print Binding and Finishing Workers
SOC Code: 51-5113.00

Bind books and other publications or finish printed products by hand or machine. May set up binding and finishing machines.

Sample of reported job titles: Binder Operator, Bindery Operator, Bindery Production Manager, Bindery Technician, Bindery Worker, Book Binder, Custom Bookbinder, Machine Operator, Perfect Binder Operator, Production Associate


  • Examine stitched, collated, bound, or unbound product samples for defects, such as imperfect bindings, ink spots, torn pages, loose pages, or loose or uncut threads.
  • Read work orders to determine instructions and specifications for machine set-up.
  • Install or adjust bindery machine devices, such as knives, guides, rollers, rounding forms, creasing rams, or clamps, to accommodate sheets, signatures, or books of specified sizes.
  • Trim edges of books to size, using cutting machines, book trimming machines, or hand cutters.
  • Stitch or glue endpapers, bindings, backings, or signatures, using sewing machines, glue machines, or glue and brushes.
  • Monitor machine operations to detect malfunctions or to determine whether adjustments are needed.
  • Maintain records, such as daily production records, using specified forms.
  • Lubricate, clean, or make minor repairs to machine parts to keep machines in working condition.
  • Set up or operate bindery machines, such as coil binders, thermal or tape binders, plastic comb binders, or specialty binders.
  • Set up or operate machines that perform binding operations, such as pressing, folding, or trimming.
  • Prepare finished books for shipping by wrapping or packing books and stacking boxes on pallets.
  • Set up or operate glue machines by filling glue reservoirs, turning switches to activate heating elements, or adjusting glue flow or conveyor speed.
  • Train workers to set up, operate, and use automatic bindery machines.
  • Insert book bodies in devices that form back edges of books into convex shapes and produce grooves that facilitate cover attachment.
  • Cut cover material to specified dimensions, fitting and gluing material to binder boards by hand or machine.
  • Cut binder boards to specified dimensions, using board shears, hand cutters, or cutting machines.
  • Bind new books, using hand tools such as bone folders, knives, hammers, or brass binding tools.
  • Perform highly skilled hand finishing binding operations, such as grooving or lettering.
  • Imprint or emboss lettering, designs, or numbers on book covers, using gold, silver, or colored foil, and stamping machines.
  • Compress sewed or glued signatures, using hand presses or smashing machines.
  • Meet with clients, printers, or designers to discuss job requirements or binding plans.
  • Form book bodies by folding and sewing printed sheets to form signatures and assembling signatures in numerical order.
  • Design original or special bindings for limited editions or other custom binding projects.
  • Punch holes in and fasten paper sheets, signatures, or other material, using hand or machine punches and staplers.
  • Repair, restore, or rebind old, rare, or damaged books, using hand tools.
  • Apply color to edges of signatures using brushes, pads, or atomizers.

Technology Skills

  • Accounting software - Trade Bindery Software Bindery Estimating System
  • Data base user interface and query software - Data entry software
  • Desktop publishing software - Microsoft Publisher
  • Electronic mail software - Email software
  • Enterprise resource planning ERP software - Trade Bindery Software Bindery Management System
  • Label making software - Label printing software
  • Library software - Houchen Bindery Library Automated Retrieval System LARS
  • Office suite software - Microsoft Office
  • Spreadsheet software - Microsoft Excel
  • Word processing software - Microsoft Word

Tools Used

  • Applicator brushes - Bookbinding glue brushes
  • Banding machines - Strapping machines
  • Book creasing machines - Rounding and backing machines; Scoring machines
  • Book cutting machines - Die cutting equipment
  • Book folding machines - Buckle folders; Knife folders
  • Book jogging machines - Paper jogging machines
  • Book punching machines - Paper punching machines; Punching cradles
  • Book stitching machines - Book stitching equipment; Coil binding machines; Saddle stitchers; Spiral coil inserters (see all 5 examples)
  • Conveyor feeders - Cover feeders; Signature feeders
  • Digital duplicators - Digital duplicating machines
  • Dollies - Hand dollies
  • End cut pliers - Band nippers
  • Flat nose pliers - Coil crimping pliers
  • Forklifts
  • Hand trucks or accessories - Hand trucks
  • Hot stamp printer - Hot foil stamping machines
  • Industrial shrink wrap equipment - Shrink wrap machines
  • Jig block - Bookbinding jigs
  • Knife blades - Paper knives
  • Laminators - Laminating machines
  • Longnose pliers - Long nose pliers
  • Output stackers - Bindery stackers
  • Paint rollers - Glue rollers
  • Pallet trucks - Pallet jacks
  • Paper drilling machines - Paper drills
  • Perforating machines - Perforators
  • Personal computers
  • Printing assemblers - Case makers; Padding presses; Smashing machines
  • Printing awls - Bookbinding awls
  • Printing collators or decollators - Printing collators
  • Printing cutters - Corner rounders
  • Printing guillotines - Board shears; Guillotine paper cutters
  • Printing punches - Push drills
  • Printing trimmers - Hydraulic trimmers
  • Punches or nail sets or drifts - Rotary punches
  • Roller conveyors - Bookbinding machine conveyors
  • Rulers - Book binding rulers
  • Thermal book binding machines - Perfect binding machines; Spine tapers; Tape binding machines; Thermal book binding equipment
  • Utility knives - Bookbinding utility knives


  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.


  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Quality Control Analysis - Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.


  • Finger Dexterity - The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Manual Dexterity - The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Visualization - The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
  • Control Precision - The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Trunk Strength - The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without 'giving out' or fatiguing.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Multilimb Coordination - The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.


  • Interest code: RC
    • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
    • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Work Context

  • Face-to-Face Discussions - 83% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Standing - 82% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team - 72% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate - 46% responded “Very important.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled - 80% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls - 69% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions - 53% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable - 56% responded “Every day.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets - 50% responded “Every day.”
  • Time Pressure - 45% responded “Every day.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results - 39% responded “Very important results.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants - 49% responded “Every day.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment - 54% responded “Every day.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making - 50% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks - 37% responded “Very important.”
  • Contact With Others - 30% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment - 35% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety - 45% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work - 31% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions - 32% responded “Very little freedom.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results - 37% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others - 34% responded “Very important.”
  • Spend Time Walking and Running - 45% responded “Less than half the time.”
  • Physical Proximity - 37% responded “I work with others but not closely (e.g., private office).”
  • Consequence of Error - 26% responded “Very serious.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week - 71% responded “40 hours.”


Percentage of RespondentsEducation Level Required
88%High school diploma or equivalent
4%Less than high school diploma
4%Post-secondary certificate

Work Styles

  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Independence - Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Leadership - Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Innovation - Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

Work Values

  • Support - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Independence - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
  • Achievement - Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.

Wages & Trends

  • Median wages (2017)
    • $15.40 hourly, $32,040 annual
  • Employment (2016)
    • 54,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026)
    • Decline (-2% or lower)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026)
    • 6,000

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