Two Reviews on Amazon Complain About MSCD’s Binding

I was surprised to notice that the first two Amazon reviews of the third edition of MSCD (here) mostly complain about the Wire-O binding. I’m a little perplexed, as I’m firmly of the view that the binding makes the book a lot easier to use. This was thrashed out on the blog in 2008, and I include a link to that post in a response to the first comment. Here’s the text of that response:

J: I’m glad that you find the book worthwhile. Regarding the spiral binding (it’s actually called “Wire-O” binding), I think it’s an asset, and I wouldn’t want to publish the book in any other format. The book is a reference work, and I expect that often readers will consult it while they’re working on something. Having the book remain open at the desired page makes it easier to refer to. In a 2008 blog post I asked my readers which kind of binding they preferred, and they overwhelmingly indicated a preference for Wire-O biding. See

As regards the cover, you have two choices with Wire-O binding: you can have separate front and back covers, leaving the spine open (like the Bluebook or the ALWD Citation Manual), or you can have a cover that covers the spine, in which case the cover isn’t attached to the spine but lies entirely flat when the book is open. That’s presumably what you object to. I’m fine with it, but the ABA actually doesn’t have a choice: it has to have the full cover because its distributor requires that the title of each ABA book be visible when the book is on a shelf with other books.

Regarding comments in my 2008 post about the cover being flimsy, the third edition has a sturdier cover.

Best regards,


I’d rather not have the discussion of the book on Amazon be about the freaking binding. If you have the urge to post a review, by all means do so.

About the author

Ken Adams is the leading authority on how to say clearly whatever you want to say in a contract. He’s author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, and he offers online and in-person training around the world. He’s also chief content officer of LegalSifter, Inc., a company that combines artificial intelligence and expertise to assist with review of contracts.

2 thoughts on “Two Reviews on Amazon Complain About MSCD’s Binding”

  1. Ken, “Wire-O” is a registered trademark covering “binding wires for mechanical bindings.” I think most wire book binding of the type marketed under the Wire-O trademark is not genuine Wire-O-brand binding. I suggest calling it wire binding, unless you are sure that genuine Wire-O-brand wire binding is used in the books.

    I really enjoyed your presentation at the Utah State Bar, by the way.

    • I’m sure you’re right about “Wire-O” being used generically. But referring just to “wire binding” perhaps wouldn’t be specific enough: the only description I’ve seen used to describe the binding of my book is “semi-concealed Wire-O binding.” For purposes of the fourth edition, I’ll look into this more closely.


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