Exposed Smythe

What are Exposed Smythe Sewn Books? This style of binding has no cover on the spine. One the spine, all you see is folded sections, thread and glue.

Exposed Smythe

The image below is the first we ever bound in this style for a major Toronto printer. Since then, we have done several. I’ve said before that I’m not smart enough to know the difference between a fad and a trend. Which one is Exposed Smythe Sewn Books? I can’t say for certain, but we keep seeing more of them!

Exposed Smythe

The next image is of a piece we screen printed on rough board, which we then mounted full surface to the first page.

Exposed Smythe

We’ve done books as shown below where we dye the glue, which gives the spine a solid colour.

Exposed Smythe

A special feature that can only be shown off on Exposed Smythe Sewn Books is having each line of thread a different colour! You can see this unique effect in the image below. On this particular book, you’ll notice the green stained book edge … this is something we can add to several other binding styles.

Exposed Smythe

Other value added features we can add to Exposed Smythe Sewn Books are:

  1. The printer prints one different coloured line on each section that we fold, collate and sew. The results is, for instance, a 10 section product that would have 10 different colours on the spine.
  2. We have produced books with up to 12 different colours of threads.
  3. We dye the glue to have 1 or more colours of glue on the spine


  • Alternating smooth/bumpy spine – tactile
  • Coloured thread and/or dyed glued spine
  • Shiny spine


  • Lays as flat as a regular Smythe sewn book
  • Same durability as a regular Smyth sewn book or casebound/hardback book

Factor to Consider

 This style of binding doesn’t currently allow for printing on the spine, so there’s no title visible when on a bookshelf.

2480 Lawrence Ave E Toronto, ON M1P 2R7 Canada