SMARTbook Binding Choice/Vote!

Military Reference: Multi-Service & Specialty

Military Reference: Service-level

Joint Strategic, Interagency, & National Security

Threat, OPFOR, Regional & Cultural

Homeland Defense, DSCA, & Disaster Response


GBC Plastic-Comb Converted (Limited Stock)

Previous Editions (Limited Stock)

Books in Development


Thank you everyone for the votes and feedback on SMARTbook binding options!

We were torn with the decision of moving away from the plastic-comb binding. We had always chosen it because of the true open-flat qualities. Ultimately though, it was the feedback over the years from readers, distributors, and retailers that prompted us to chose a more traditional spine binding over the previous plastic-comb binding (because of durability, packaging, storage, cost and shelf display issues).

Plastic-Comb vs Perfect-Binding

The overwhelming choice was for traditional perfect-binding instead of plastic-comb binding — by a vote of almost THREE to ONE!

Based on your feedback, we tried to come up with the best compromise for binding by using the more costly “lay-flat” variant of perfect binding with a spine, with the pages glued side-to-side, instead of on the end of the pages for regular “perfect bound.” It’s not a perfect solution, but it does offer a traditional printed- and glued-spine and also about a 75% lay-flat capability — after the pages/binding have been pressed open, flexed and conditioned. (Read more at

Although the lay-flat binding with spine costs more to produce than regular perfect binding, it allows us to offer the aesthetics and durability of a traditional perfect-bound book, yet retain the lay-flat capability that our SMARTbook readers value so much.

And for those who still prefer plastic-comb binding, an option is that you could take your book to a local print shop such as Fedex or Alphagraphics and they could trim the binding off (with an industrial page cutter) and hole-punch it either for plastic-comb or a three-ring binder!

Thank you for being a SMARTbook reader. Hooah!

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About The Lightning Press SMARTbooks. Recognized as a “whole of government” doctrinal reference standard by military, national security and government professionals around the world, SMARTbooks comprise a comprehensive professional library. SMARTbooks can be used as quick reference guides during operations, as study guides at education and professional development courses, and as lesson plans and checklists in support of training. Browse our collection of Military Reference SMARTbooks to learn more.

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