2008-05-12

Make a book

I had been wondering about how to create a printed book from the novel that I had written a couple of years ago and I just now got it in my head to put everything together. I'll list the steps that I took from a big ASCII file to the printed page.
  1. Convert ASCII to LaTeX: (beyond the scope of this article)
  2. Produce a postscript file from the LaTeX source:
    • latex novel.tex
    • dvips novel.dvi
  3. Alternatively, if you're starting from an existing PDF (which is what I had to do, I had lost the LaTeX source) you can run pdftops to get to this step.
  4. Run psbook -q -s 8 novel.ps > novel_bookorder.ps — this rearranges the postscript file so that pages are in the following order 8, 1, 2, 7, 6, 3, 4, and 5. The -s 8 means use a signature of size 8. This will be useful during the next step.
  5. Run psnup -q -n 2 -p letter novel_bookorder.ps > novel_book.ps this puts two pages onto each 8.5x11 output page. Print the pages back to back. We will now have 4 pages on each sheet, two on the front and two on the back. The page will be in landscape orientation, but the printing will be side-by-side portrait. Coupled with the previous command we can now fold over two pages to form an 8-page signature
  6. Combine the signatures (sewing, stapling, choose your method)
  7. clamp the sewn signatures and run hot glue along the spine of the book, this would be the time to add a cover.
This should work reasonably well. Though I have not had much luck with staples, they seem to contribute too much thickness to the spine and make clamping awkward. Sewing would likely work much better but I don't have any good suggestions for technique.

7 comments:

Alpha1 said...

Thanks. The instructions are easy to follow, and it does exactly what I was looking for!

Chris said...

Glad to have helped. I think I should look for a good tutorial on how to make covers.

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Mark William Darbyshire said...

What LaTeX class did you use? Did you make any modifications to it to make it suitable for a novel?

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jon said...

Hello,
This worked very nicely for 4-page-per-sheet layouts than produce an 8 1/2" by 5 1/2" booklet.
I'd like to make a booklet that is half of the size described here... 4 1/4" by 2 3/4"
I tried psnup -q -n 4 -p letter pro7_bookorder.ps > pro7book.ps but the page order is wrong.
Any suggestions?

A good way to sew your signatures together is through perferations along the fold, then running thread through the holes and into a cloth spine. You can then glue your spine into the boards of a hardcover.

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A sciency type, but trying to branch out into other areas. After several years out in the science jungle, I'm headed back to school to see what I can make of the other side of the brain.