One book I ordered this semester is a loose leaf book (3-hole punched) that I'm currently keeping in a binder. Problem is, the pages are quite thin, and tear very easily near the hole punches. What can I do to help prevent this?

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    It's expensive, but you could put every page inside a sheet protector. – user15932 May 31 '14 at 1:53

You could take the book to a copy shop, and have it binded properly (e.g., hot glue, hardback, etc.). Here in the Netherlands, that costs about 3 euros for a simple but effective glued back.

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    Time-wise, this is definitely the best solution. Your university book store can likely do this for you very quickly. – eykanal Aug 24 '12 at 11:56
  • Hadn't even thought of that, thanks! I'll head down there today to see what kind of options they have. – Nick Badal Aug 24 '12 at 16:13
  • Heck, spiral or comb binding is fairly cheap, and for light-use has served me quite well. – Fomite Sep 22 '15 at 21:33
  • @Fomite Indeed, but while answering, I saw the "2000 pages" requirement come by, which kind of biased me towards glued backs :) But for (much) smaller documents, comb backs are probably the cheaper/easier way to go – Rody Oldenhuis Sep 25 '15 at 12:43

Find someone who has access to a document scanner and scan it. Our departmental copier/printer can also scan (I think the spec is 100 ppm), so 2000 pages will take a while, but not forever.

EDIT: Have you contacted the author to see if an electronic version is available?

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    Coincidentally, this version actually came with an e-book version. But since I had to pay for the physical pages, I personally feel like I should make use of them. – Nick Badal Aug 24 '12 at 16:12

In the olden days, you could buy little sticky circles that you'd place around the holes and this would prevent the pages tearing out of the binder.

Another approach is to put the whole thing in a box.

Or maybe scan the document and carry it around on your iPad – that's probably the modern solution.

  • Putting it in a box, I'd be afraid the pages would get out of order, or be lost. The sticky circles would work, but for a thousand pieces of paper x 3 holes each sounds like a big pain - as does scanning 2000 pages. – Nick Badal Aug 24 '12 at 8:00
  • My only other suggestion is a bad one. Put the book on a shelf and don't use it. (Perhaps seal it first in perspex.) – Dave Clarke Aug 24 '12 at 8:03
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    You know that there are scanners/copiers that can load automatically separated sheets of paper, don't you? Often your library or department has one. – Federico Poloni Aug 24 '12 at 10:46
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    My experience with reinforcement rings was that their primary effect was to create much larger tears in the paper very shortly after the unreinforced sheet would've ripped anyway. – Dan Is Fiddling By Firelight Aug 24 '12 at 12:46
  • Met too. But that was a while ago. – Dave Clarke Aug 24 '12 at 12:54

I use Acco Pressboard Covers for exactly this purpose, and they work great.

  • Cheap and effective solution. Other forms of binding will be more durable in the long term -- spiral/comb binding, glue binding, velobind (which I was very fond of when i had it easily available).... Note that your school's print shop, if there still is one, may have one or more of these option available internally. – keshlam Jul 16 '15 at 20:56

Manufacturers should either reinforce the page edges or stop hole-punching the pages; the paper is just too thin for the books to be used in 3-ring binders. One solution I found is to use reinforcing strips. They are pre-cut to page-size (10.75" by 1"), but are not hole-punched. You stick them on the page edge and then hole-punch it. You don't necessarily need to reinforce all of the pages of your book, just the first few pages in the front and back and the occasional page that gets torn out.

One of the advantages of loose-leaf books is that you don't have to carry all of the chapters in your backpack. You can take the chapter you are reading, and possibly the index, glossary, answers, etc., and leave the rest of the weight at home. One way to do this is to use swing-clip or zip-up report covers. Since the covers can be reused, this is also an environmentally-friendly way to solve the problem. After all, one of the reasons loose-leaf books are made is to reduce waste, especially for books that become outdated each year when a new edition is printed. Loose-leaf books require less material to manufacture and less fuel to ship.

One final idea is to bind the book using binding post screws or brads (available at office supply stores). Make a cover for your book with two pieces of cardboard (possibly from the backs of old notebooks), hole-punch, place your pages inside, and then bind the whole thing with screws or brads.


I use a binder AND a pressboard. In the binder I use tabbed dividers, one at table of contents one at the break between chapters I am currently using and one at the start of the index. Then in the press board I only have the current working chapter. It works for me. My original idea was just to pressboard all the chapters but I ran out of them before I got done, so binder and 1 pressboard.


In the past, I have bought a small 3 ring binder, and just removed 1 chapter at a time to put in the binder. The great thing about this is you don't have to carry around hundreds of pages the entire year, when you only are using a few dozen at a time.


These work wonderfully.


you can break it up into groups of chapters, but make a copy of the front table of contents and the back index for each bound group that you want. these posts unscrew so you can switch it around when you want.

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