If you’d like to reach us, feel free to give us a call, send us an email, or come stop by Houchen Bindery.


We’re glad you came here where you can get in touch with us and we can help answer your questions. Make sure to check out our FAQs, where we may have already answered your question. If you’d like to reach us, feel free to give us a call, send us an email, or come stop by Houchen Bindery.

General Support

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I order from Houchen Bindery Ltd.?

Ordering from Houchen Bindery can be as simple as a few clicks. We offer our online book builder for our On Demand Printing theses and manuscript customers, and order forms for all of our other binding services.

After clicking “Order” from the top menu, browse through the guidelines, instructions and information about our specific services to learn about order preparations and how to order from Houchen Bindery.

All order forms are found on the right side of the “Order” page. Download the appropriate form(s), complete and print them, then send them to us along with any materials required for binding (double check Order Instructions before sending materials).

Can I get a quote for my project before ordering?

Of course you can! Feel free to use our Quote forms for hard and soft cover books. If you’d like a quote for another one of our services, please contact us by phone, email, or through our contact forms.

Martin Pugh


Phone: 1-800-869-0420 Email:

Contact Martin

On Demand Printing

Frequently Asked Questions

What needs to be done to my manuscript before sending it to print?
  • Must be a PDF document.
  • Only one PDF document will be accepted, up to 50mb in size.
  • Must be ready to print, as is. We will not alter your document for you.
  • All pages must be either 8″x11.5″ or 8″x5.5″, in either a landscape (wider) or portrait (taller) orientation. The document must be the same size and orientation as selected when ordering your book.
  • DOUBLE-SIDED PRINTING: If wanting page numbers, the number must be included in the document if you want them printed in the book. We will not add them for you. We recommend having them centered.
  • If you require a paper stock other than what we provide, please contact us. You can then either send us the paper stock for us to print on or send us the printed pages on the paper stock you want.
  • If you have signature pages that need to be inserted within the book, please indicate that as a special instruction of the order.
Can I have a logo on the cover?

We do offer die stamping but not through our online store. Due to the cost of producing a die the price can double the amount of the order. If you require a die stamp please contact us for pricing.

What cover colors do you offer?

We have a variety of F grade buckram cloth cover colors available for you to choose from. Visit Buckram Cloth to view your options.

Can I navigate through the ODP sections?

Yes! There are two ways you can go back and forth between the sections of the On Demand Printing form.

  1. On the bottom of the form are buttons that allow you to do this: Previous, Next, and Back to The Last Page.
  2. On the top of the form are listed the name of each section you can navigate through. Note: You have to enter information in a section to go directly to it.

NOTE: Using the traditional website browser back button or F5 will delete all information entered into the form.

Comic Books

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I combine comics and trade paperbacks into one book?

Yes! Using DFAB, PUR, or Oversew binding methods, any combination of paper types and sources can be combined into one book.

Can I create a table of contents and add my own material to a book?

Yes, using DFAB, PUR, or Oversew binding methods. The pages should be included in your bundle and trimmed to size before shipping it to us.

Using Smyth Sew binding you can still add a page, but it involves an extra consideration. The easiest way to do it is to print your content on an 11″x17″ page and to wrap it around the first issue, essentially creating a cover sheet to the first issue in the binding. Downside is a blank page between issue 1 and 2.

How many comics can I put in one book? How few?

How many comics you should put in each volume is a preference. Our most common size received from customers is about 22 issues per volume, or about 1.75″ thick.

Using DFAB, PUR, or Oversew binding methods we can bind up to 35 issues, or 2 1/2 inches, in one volume.

Using Smyth binding we can bind up to 18 issues in one volume.

The reason for these limits is to ensure each volume meets binding standards and will maintain its appearance and integrity over time.

There is no minimum.

How should I pack my comic books?

We see a variety of methods of packing. But however you pack them, make sure there is no empty space in the box and secure each bundle of comics. Many people rubber band each volume and then place it in a plastic bag in case the rubber bands break.

How do I provide covers for graphic covers?

Once your books are ready for covers we will provide exact dimensions for each book. You then simply send us a PDF for each volume. You can email, dropbox, mediafire, etc. Whatever works for you.

How do I match a book previously done by Houchen Bindery Ltd?

The best way to ensure a match is to send the volume with your order. If you are unable to send a volume, you can send a picture of the book with a ruler for sizing and placement reference.

How do I match a book previously done by a different bindery?

Send us a picture of the book and a description of what you would like to match prior to sending the books in to us. We will take a look and let you know if we can match it.

How long does comic book binding take?

Most cloth covers are completed in about 4 weeks.
Graphic covers are usually done in about 6 weeks.
Die stamps and hand set lettering take an additional 2-3 weeks.
Custom HBL designed covers may take an additional 2-3 weeks.

Note: During the summer months (late May to early August), all orders will take additional time.

Do I need to remove staples?

No, you do not need to remove staples, but you can. Staples will be removed during the binding process.

Tim Benson

Comic Book Sales

Phone: 1-800-869-0420

Contact Tim


Frequently Asked Questions


What (specific) version of ABLE 6.0 am I running?

There are actually two ways you can find this out: on the login screen, the version number is displayed (e.g., ABLE Library 6.01), or by choosing About ABLE from the Help menu, the version number should be displayed in the resulting dialog box (e.g., ABLE Library 6.01).

Title Composition

How do I create variable prompts in the title composition screen's title text area (e.g., a title prompt)?

Specifying text in the title composition’s title text area as ‘variable’ text in ABLE 6.0 operates much the same as specifying text as, say, BOLD in a word processing program: select the text that you want to be ‘variable’ using the mouse, then click the right mouse button. You should see a pop-up menu, with an item Variable. Selecting Variable will change any currently selected text to be variable indicated by a light blue color, as seen below.

If you wish to remove a variable, you may either:

  • Select the variable text using the mouse, click the right mouse button, and choose the Normal menu item–the currently selected text should reverted back to normal text (indicated by a black color)–or,
  • Select the variable text using the mouse, and delete the variable using the delete or backspace key.
How do I navigate through the title text area (it seems different than ABLE 5.1)?

ABLE 6.0 handles navigating the title text area a bit differently than in ABLE 5.1. In 6.0, one enters text in the title text area more like one would enter text in a blank document using a word processing program.

In 6.0, you can’t use the cursor keys (like Up or Down) to place the cursor in an empty text area–you first have to strike the enter key till the cursor appears at the line you want to enter text at. But, once you’ve entered these ‘blank’ lines, you can navigate up or down through them using the cursor keys.

The same goes for placing the cursor within an empty row. To place the cursor in an empty row, you have to strike the space character until the cursor appears at the (column) position you want to begin entering text at. But again, once you’ve entered these ‘spaces’, you can navigate left or right through them using the cursor keys.

How do I search for a list of records (like the F5 key function in ABLE 5.1)?

In ABLE 6.0, if you want to be able to do a search to retrieve a list of records, you have to make sure that Enable List Search is selected in the Setup: User Parameters menu. Then, if you enter a key and there is no direct match or there is a direct match with more than one item*, a list will be presented if there are records whose key begins with the key you entered. This list may look like the one shown below.

(Remember, though, that this only applies to non-numeric keys like text, private ID, ISSN/ISBN, and call number keys.) *In the initial release, prior to version 6.01, there was a problem with direct matches with more than one item (it would retrieve only the first of the set, not a list).

Why is it that after retrieving a record, I can't type into the key field?

This behavior was modeled after ABLE 5.1, in which you either had to type F3 (CLEAR) or change the key mode in order to begin entering new key text. So, in ABLE 6.0, to enter a new key, either change the key mode or choose the Clear button.

How do I add or delete rows from the Collation window's extras/specials table?

In order to add new (empty) extra/special entries into the Collation window’s extras/specials table, you can do a couple of things:

  • Strike the Insert key (which should insert a new row),
  • click the right mouse button (which should give you the option to choose New from the pop-up menu to give you a new row), or
  • when the last column of the last row is highlighted in blue, strike the Enter key (this should also insert a new row).

Similarly, to delete a row:

  • Strike the Delete key (which will delete the row currently selected), or
  • click the right mouse button (which should give you the option to choose Delete from the pop-up menu to delete the row you right-clicked on).

Keep in mind, though, that the insertion and deletion of rows is subject to validation rules for extras/specials in title and item records.

Catalog System

How come when I choose Alt-Z, the ZLink window doesn't come up?

One (simple) possibility is that the catalog system is not enabled. Make sure that Setup: User Parameters: Enable Catalog System is selected (i.e., with a check next to it).

Another (not so simple) possibility is that a certain file cannot be found, one that is needed to display the ZLink window. To see if this is the case, type the following at an MS-DOS command prompt:

set | more

You should see a line similar to the following (but maybe not exactly like it):


If your line doesn’t include these three files




then you need to edit your c:\autoexec.bat file and let us know at But, to do this, open c:\autoexec.bat for editing (e.g., with Notepad), and find the line that looks like


(where … is some text).

Change this line to

set CLASSPATH=c:\swing\swing.jar;c:\swing\windows.jar;c:\swing\zlink.jar

apply the changes, and then restart your machine.

Note: We have had some reports where the win command was present in the c:\autoexec.bat file; in particular, occurring before the set CLASSPATH command. Note that the win command is not necessary for Windows 95, 98, or NT, but if you still want to include in this file, make sure it appears after the set CLASSPATH command.

I want to connect with a Z39.50 server to import MARC data, but I don't know what information to fill in for a new database in the ZLink window.

After choosing Add from the Database menu (in the ZLink) window, you’re prompted for four parameters:

Pretty Name

Pretty Name can be any name that you want to refer to this database as. Host can be the domain name (or IP address) of the Z39.50 server that you want to connect with. Port is the port number used with the host specified, and Database is the name of the database to search over with the host specified.

For example, for testing, you can try the Library of Congress LC Voyager Z39.50 test server, which means you would enter the following parameters for a new database (with Pretty Name set to any name you want):

Port 7090
Database Voyager

(You also have the option of entering the IP address for Host if you prefer.) The above data was obtained at

A good resource for finding other Z39.50 servers to connect with can be found at (this is like an A to Z compilation).

Why do I get an error message when trying to connect to a database?

There could be many reasons for this, but in order, check the following:

Are the Parameters Entered for the Database Correct?

Make sure the data you entered when creating the database in the ZLink window is correct. You could try the most recent Library of Congress test server to see if this is the problem (see ZLink Databases).

Is the Machine Connected to the Internet?

Make sure that you establish an Internet connection before attempting to use ZLink (ZLink will not attempt to make this initial connection for you). You could check that you are ‘online’ by using your web browser to check out a remote web site, e.g.,

Is it a Domain Name Server (DNS) Problem?

If you entered a domain name for Host when specifying the database, make sure your DNS isn’t causing problems. You can avoid DNS services by specifying the IP address instead of the domain name (e.g., versus

Is the Host Alive?

It’s possible that the host may be down. In order to see if this is the case, type the following at an MS-DOS prompt:

ping -n 3 hostaddress

(where hostaddress is the domain name or IP address of the host you’re trying to connect to). If the host is alive and routing is correct, you should see something like the listing below (the result of pinging IP address

Pinging with 32 bytes of data:

Reply from bytes=32 time=80ms TTL=47

Reply from bytes=32 time=70ms TTL=47

Reply from bytes=32 time=71ms TTL=47

Is the Port Number Correct?

It’s also possible that you have the incorrect port number specified in the database entry you created in the ZLink window. To see if anybody is even listening at that port, launch telnet, and choose Remote System… from the Connect menu. Enter the following parameters:

Host Name hostaddress
Port portnumber
Term Type ansi

(where hostaddress is the host you’re trying to connect with, with port number portnumber). If the port number is correct, you should be able to connect (in which case, you can choose Disconnectfrom the Connect menu).

Why Still Can’t I Connect?

At this point, you should contact us at!

Why is it that when I import MARC data using ZLink, the results I get aren't what I expected?

The processing of MARC data goes through several stages before it actually appears in the title composition screen, and it is important to understand the order of these operations.

Phase I

As stated in the File Maintenance reference guide, operations are done in the following order (see further below for post-Phase I release information):

  1. MARC field is placed into ABLE field according to Editing parameter (e.g., Insert); If the MARC field is unavailable, the ABLE field is used as it is.
  2. Any truncation is then performed on field resulting from (1).
  3. Any uppercase conversion is performed on above result from (2).
  4. Any substitution (of spaces) is performed on above result from (3).

This gives (4) as the final result. So, depending upon which data is actually imported and how you have your catalog system mapping table set up, you may get results you didn’t expect. A few examples follow below (for insertion editing, truncating on spaces).

Example 1

ABLE Call field: DEF

MARC data: ABC 123

Step 1 (Editing): ABC 123DEF

Step 2 (Truncation): ABC

Result: ABC

Example 2

ABLEä Call field: DEF

MARC data: ABC-123

Step 1 (Editing): ABC-123DEF

Step 2 (Truncation): ABC-123DEF

Result: ABC-123DEF

Phase II (and Beyond)

But, the above only applies to Phase I. In Phase I, the order of operations has been changed to:

  1. The MARC field is obtained (if unavailable, an empty string is used).
  2. Any truncation is then performed on field resulting from (1).
  3. Any uppercase conversion is performed on above result from (2).
  4. Any substitution (of spaces) is performed on above result from (3).
  5. Result from (4) is placed into ABLE field according to Editing parameter (e.g., Insert).

The examples now become as shown below (with insertion editing, and truncating on spaces).

Example 1

ABLE Call field: DEF

MARC data: ABC 123

Step 1 (Extraction): ABC 123

Step 2 (Truncation): ABC

Step 5 (Editing): ABCDEF

Result: ABCDEF

Example 2

ABLE Call field: DEF

MARC data: ABC-123

Step 1 (Extraction): ABC-123

Step 2 (Truncation): ABC-123

Step 5 (Editing): ABC-123DEF

Result: ABC-123DEF

File Maintenance

How do I defined certain bindery parameters (e.g., cover colors, foil colors, etc.)?

The actual insertion, modification (or deletion) of bindery parameters (codes using ABLE 5.1 terminology) such as cover or foil colors is a file maintenance feature not yet implemented in ABLE 6.0 (Phase I). In order to perform these operations during Phase I, you need to use ABLE 5.1 file maintenance services. Please remember, though, (as mentioned in the Release Notes), not to run ABLE 5.1 and ABLE 6.0 at the same time!

How do I add or delete rows from a mapping table?
[This has been added to the documentation for ABLE 6.01.]

In order to add new (empty) mapping entries into the table, you can do a couple of things:

  • Strike the Insert key (which should insert a new row),
  • click the right mouse button (which should give you the option to choose New from the pop-up menu to give you a new row), or
  • when the last column of the last row is highlighted in blue, strike the Enter key (this should also insert a new row).

Similarly, to delete a row:

  • Strike the Delete key (which will delete the row currently selected), or
  • click the right mouse button (which should give you the option to choose Delete from the pop-up menu to delete the row you right-clicked on).
Can you just show me an example of using the catalog system?

Here’s a sample catalog system ‘walk-through’.

Setting up the Mapping Table

Create a new mapping table (in Window: File Maintenance: Catalog System Mapping) under the name TEST (this should leave you with 1 blank row).

Then, enter this information (for rows that are marked with an asterisk (*), the ABLE Field in that row can be selected from the pull-down list):

ABLE Field

MARC Field
















Space ( )







Colon (:)


Slash (/)














Slash (/)








(Remember that new rows can be created by right-clicking and choosing New.) When this is completed, your table should look like the one below.

Setting up the Z-Link Database

(Make sure the sure the catalog system is enabled in Setup: User Parameters: Enable Catalog System.) Then, create a new database (in Window: Catalog System), by choosing Add from the Database menu in the ZLink window. Here, enter:

Pretty Name TEST (LOC)
Port 2210
Database OCAT

so it looks like the dialog box below,

and then click OK, and close the ZLink window.

Making the TEST Table Active

Make sure the table created above is active, by choosing it from Setup: User Parameters: Catalog Table, as shown below.

Creating a Format

Create a format with format ID TEST, and enter the following in the title text area:





Then, make each of these ‘variables’ by selecting the word, right-clicking, and choosing Variable (they should all be blue, as shown further below). Finally, add this format using Update: Format: Add Format.

Importing MARC Data

Now, start with a (clear) title, then specify format TEST (so the t, c, i, and auth variables appear in the title text area).

Then, bring up the ZLink window (through Window: Catalog System), and choose the database TEST (LOC). Once connected, search for this criteria:

ISBN 0262111004

You should see in the search results a volume:

Futures past :, Koselleck, Reinhart.

Choose to import this.

The results I get in the title composition screen are shown below:

ISSN D16.8.K63313

Coll DLC

Title Text Area tFUTURES/PAST/

cD16.8.K63313 1985



(Note that t, c, i, and auth are still variables in the title text area.) This can be seen below.


Where are valid MARC fields that I can use (when creating a mapping table)?

A good introduction to MARC records (and the field and subfield codes they may contain) is at

If you don’t have the patience for that, and just want to see what you can do with the catalog system, see Using the Catalog System.

If you’re just looking for other valid codes (e.g., “I’m tired of importing [245a]!” ;), then one source for USMARC Bibliographic codes is at

Help System

Why do tooltips appear when the mouse is over a label (e.g., next to a text field), but not when over the text field itself?

This is simply by design.

ABLE Server

Why is it that when I log into ABLE 6.0, another instance of the ABLE Server launches?

This is actually the ‘normal’ behavior for the ABLE Server. (On ABLE 6.0 Standalone) one instance should be running before you log into the system, and once you successfully log in, you should notice another instance has been launched.

Java Virtual Machine (JVM)

What version of the JVM am I running?

You can find this out by going to an MS-DOS command prompt and typing


The first line should display the version number; e.g.,

Microsoft (R) Command-line Loader for Java Version 5.00.3186

(The above version number, 5.00.3186, is actually the proper version number–the version of the JVM installed by the c:\swing\msjavx86.exe installer.)

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE)

What version of IE am I running?

If you have IE running, you can choose About Internet Explorer from the Help menu: there should be a full version number displayed, e.g., Version 4.72.3110.8. If the version starts with a 4, you’re running what is commonly just referred to as IE 4, and if starts with a 5, then you’re running what is (similarly) referred to as IE 5.

How do I enable the Java Console?

In order to enable the Java Console, perform the following steps:

1. Launch IE,

2. (if using IE 4) go to the View menu, select Internet Options…, or (if using IE 5) go to the Tools menu, select Internet Options…,

3. choose the Advanced tab,

4. scroll towards the bottom of the list till you see a Java VM category, and

5. make sure Java console enabled (requires restart) is selected; this should look something like the following below.

6. Then, click OK, and restart IE.

How do I save text from the Java Console window?

It’s not obvious, but you first have to select the text that you want (using the mouse), and then use the Ctl-C key combination to copy the selected text. Then, you can paste this text somewhere where you can save it.


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