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A question of bindings

There are lots of ways to fasten together sheets of paper into a coherent unit. The ones which particularly concern us today are staples, and an absence of fasteners. Glue may indicate a magazine, a journal, or a book. It is ambiguous as a binding material, I believe. Spiral bindings usually indicate high-end brochures, although they can also indicate small-circulation academic journals.

strange_complex asserts that if it's stapled, it's a magazine. Some of the free "newspapers" available on the Underground are held together by staples. Does that make them magazines? C. requested a poll on the subject, so here you are. The broad question of identifying types of media by their bindings is a rather interesting topic, but harder to squish into a single poll.

It is made from pieces of paper folded in half and staples along its spine. What is it?

A magazine
Possibly a magazine, possibly a newspaper
Art/Recycling/Something else

Ideally, there would be a "has" before "staples" in that poll question.



( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 24th, 2009 12:00 am (UTC)
To me, if there are staples involved in any way, it's a school project or a 'zine. Magazines are glued and newspapers are simply folded.
Feb. 24th, 2009 12:21 am (UTC)
Eh, both magazines I subscribe to, New Scientist and Private Eye, which have circulations of hundreds of thousands and are available in newsagents throughout the land, are stapled.

The Economist claims to be a newspaper, even though it is well outside the normal format for such.
Feb. 24th, 2009 12:27 am (UTC)
I think it's only thick glossy magazines which are glued. Of the ones I get regularly, New Scientist is staples as is the magazine of the Royal Statistical Society. The thicker and more glossy Artrocker and Dive Magazine (about diving not about seedy places) are both glued.
Feb. 24th, 2009 12:25 am (UTC)
Generally I would say something folded and stapled is a magazine, but I would also use the type of paper to distinguish. To me magazines are usually printed on coated paper, whereas newspapers are on rough paper/newsprint.
Feb. 24th, 2009 12:28 am (UTC)
It it's ringbound it could well be a conference proceedings -- though lots of places give you them on CD now to save costs.
Feb. 24th, 2009 12:29 am (UTC)
Sorry, by ringbound I mean (I think) what you mean by "spiral binding",
Feb. 24th, 2009 12:33 am (UTC)
The saddle stitch is used for too many items. Our Call for Papers, for example, is bound in that way - but I don't think it could be argued as either magazine or newspaper.

I consider the paper used - newsprint is a newspaper or other temporary news source (like the newsletters the school district sends monthly) and although usually merely folded, I've seen larger issues fastened on rare occasions. Glossy (even if only the cover) indicates a magazine, and then there is a subsection that includes the miscellany that are sizable Calls for Papers and other ostensibly temporary publications, usually printed on standard 20lb, that are still neither newspaper nor magazine.
Feb. 24th, 2009 12:41 am (UTC)
In the library, magazines and newspapers are both referred to as "serials": serial publications. For cataloging purposes, the binding is unimportant; they could be folded papers, stapled floppy booklike things, or even hardbacks. It's the recurring publication that groups them together. I think we pay less attention to binding because that's so easy to change.

But I think the quality of the paper and the frequency of publication matter more to the magazine/newspaper distinction than the binding does. Magazines publish less frequently and can thus use better quality paper; newspapers publish roughly daily, and thus use cheap newsprint.
Feb. 24th, 2009 12:50 am (UTC)
This is a really interesting question. I can think of leaflets, tracts, pamphlets, bulletins, or brochures that would be paper and stapled, however.

The whole question kind of puts me in mind of when I worked in an environment where a lot of Russian official documents where processed. In the '90s, at least, many of their "work history" books were bound with beautiful red ribbon and thread. I even used to save the ribbons!
Feb. 24th, 2009 02:09 am (UTC)
Size and paper come into it for me, too. If it's tabloid newsprint, I'd call it a newapaper. If it's smaller and glossy and has articles, it's a magazine. If it's full of pictures and has fewer words, it might be a graphic novel or comic book. And if it's very small, with only a few pages, it could be a tract or pamphlet or brochure. To me, a leaflet is a single page.
Feb. 24th, 2009 07:09 am (UTC)
The Economist is stapled and firmly asserts itself to be a weekly newspaper, which I find hard to disagree with.
Feb. 24th, 2009 08:41 am (UTC)
It's a stapled pamphlet [g]
Feb. 24th, 2009 09:27 am (UTC)
To be fair, I think I revised my view later in our conversation to something more along the lines of "If it's stapled, it may be a magazine or a newspaper, but if it isn't stapled it definitely isn't a magazine." As a couple of people have commented, the finish of the paper matters too - but I don't think that would be an entirely reliable way of distinguishing between a newspaper and some comics.
Feb. 24th, 2009 10:25 am (UTC)
I think you did too, now that I think about it. It's so much easier to write a poll when the issue is black and white!

Most comics are effectively single-topic magazines, yes? Unless published as books.
Feb. 24th, 2009 10:14 am (UTC)
Having been involved in such publications myself, I would say paper quality and printing methods are far more important in determining the sort of publication you're reading than the binding. The journals on the Tube are made from newsprint, so they're newspapers.

But things are changing very rapidly in the world of periodicals, so I'm not sure any sort of distinction like this is really relevant; after all, not very many years ago at all, you were only a quality newspaper in Britain if you were a broadsheet. The format defined the categorisation, but now, that's most definitely not the case.

What separates a newspaper from a magazine might become entirely a content thing, therefore -- and with lifestyle sections et al. in regular papers these days, even that distinction is blurred.
Feb. 24th, 2009 12:03 pm (UTC)
It's a fanzine with pretensions whose editors own a long-arm stapler.
Feb. 25th, 2009 05:13 am (UTC)
I put magazine, but I recognize that a) some news magazines (specifically the Economist, which is stapled) call themselves newspapers and b) that some news papers staple their newsprint together (both free newspapers here in Toronto). My thought was that strictly speaking (if you want to employ a formal universal definition) all newspapers are magazines, but not all magazines are newspapers. Note I don't think all staple bound papers are magazines, but at least some of them are. So of the three I thought the first was more correct (none are strictly true as I understood the statements, but they are ambiguous).

I think the key feature of a magazine is a periodical collecting together more than one thing (so multiple articles, stories etc.). A non-periodical collection of multiple things would I guess be an anthology rather than a magazine. A one-off monograph stapled would be a book (again strictly speaking), even if a small one (arguably all collections of papers are books in a strict sense).
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )