A ring binder is provided that has attachable and detachable covers. The opposite edges of the binder's spine are hingedly attached to the proximal edges of respective front and back extensions which are relatively short in a direction perpendicular to the hinge axes. The extensions are sized to be substantially coextensive with the maximum projection of the binder's rings along an axis that is perpendicular to the inside surface of the spine, and the rings and associated structures are either mounted on the inside of the spine or inside of the back extension depending on the ring type. The front and back extensions function to extend the front and back covers to the hinges when the covers are attached to the extensions' distal edges. When so attached, an assembled ring binder having hinged covers is created that appears and functions as a conventional binder when used.