How Does a Booklet Maker Work?

Booklet Makers / Booklet Making MachinesIf you want to bind a booklet or instructional manual, and don’t want to use a binding format that uses a spine, you may want to consider using a booklet maker (found here). These compact machines come in a variety of sizes, depending on the amount of books you want to create. So how exactly does a booklet maker work?

Booklet makers use staples, instead of binding elements, to bind books. These staples, usually 2 or 3, are placed along the middle of the booklet rather than the edge. Booklets bound on a booklet maker are usually 8 ½” x 5″ folded and usually range in size anywhere from a couple of pages up to 60, depending on the machine that’s used.

Booklet makers typically complete the binding process in a matter of a few of steps.

  1. Paper is first inserted into the machine.
  2. The booklet maker then applies staples along the middle of the sheets.
  3. The booklet is then folded in half, completing the process.

The size of the book depends on the capacity of the booklet maker. An entry level booklet maker typically staples around 10 sheets of paper, which ends up being 40 pages (front and back). High end machines can staple up to 25 sheets, which ends up being 100 pages (front and back). Keep in mind, when looking for a booklet maker, that sheet capacities are based on standard copy paper. That amount will need to be decreased if you are using card stock.

Before booklet makers existed, paper was first folded in half using a folding machine. Folded paper was then placed on a saddle stapler and stapled. This process involved multiple machines and took a minute or two to complete. Booklet makers cut that time by at least half.

Booklet makers can be broken up into three different categories, based on how the machine is built and how it is used. These three styles include semi-automatic, automatic and in-line. I will briefly cover each of these machines.
Automated Booklet Makers

  • Semi Automatic – This type of booklet maker is especially popular because it is much more affordable. It is usually designed for low to medium-volume work. The operator typically pulls a lever, which activates the staple heads. When the lever is returned to its original position, the booklet maker then grabs the paper and folds it in half (by means of an electric motor). The process is extremely quick.
  • Automatic – Automatic machines use a motor to staple and fold the paper. Most of these machines still require the operator to feed the paper into the machine, but the rest is automated. A book takes just seconds to complete on an automatic machine.
  • In-Line – These machines are designed to work in conjunction with a collator. Separate stacks, usually hundreds of sheets of paper, are placed into the collator. As the collator collates the paper, it feeds the stacks automatically into the booklet maker where the document is stapled, folded and comes out the other side of the machine completed.


The biggest complaint I here from customers using booklet makers is that the page edges don’t line up. This is perfectly normal and occurs as more sheets are stapled together. The edges of the paper will gradually fan out as more paper is stapled together. For this reason, many businesses like to use a stack cutter to chop of and align the edges of the booklets. Some higher-end booklet makers include built-in cutters for an all-in-one process.


There are several different brands of booklet makers. I really don’t have any issues with any particular brand. For entry-level booklet making, I really like machines by Formax, MBM, ISP and Martin Yale. For higher-end booklet making, I really like machines by MBM.

You can find our entire selection of booklet makers here. We currently offer about 14 different models, so feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 if you have any questions about them. We have been selling booklet makers for decades, so we have a lot of experience that may help you with your choice.

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