Wednesday, October 17, 2007

DIY Booklet

For some reason, the professor of my Creative Writing and Short Story classes chose me to compile our combined submissions for this semester into a book. It was additional work that I could have done without, but at the same time, it proved to be a pleasant enough diversion, so I took it.

And today, I got the finished product out.

Okay, so it was more of a booklet than a book, but at close to 120 pages, it's still a formidable booklet. It was fun figuring out ways in which to get it to print right.

For simplicity, I laid out the whole book in AbiWord. Not nearly as full-featured as or Scribus, but for what I needed, it was the easiest way to get things done.

From AbiWord, I printed out to PDF.

I then processed the PDF file using a nice utility called page-crunch. page-crunch is actually the front end to psutils, a set of command line tools for PostScript processing.

page-crunch is nifty because it allows you to regenerate a PDF document two pages to a sheet. However, it's not perfect. It has a "Produce a Book" option but it only rearranges the sheets so they come out as leaflets.

Since I wanted a center-stapled book, I had to enter the order in which I wanted the pages printed. Sounds difficult for a 120-page book? It is! That's why I wrote a Python script to generate the correct page ordering for me.

So anyway, I printed all the pages back to back and they came out okay. Next were the table of contents and the cover, then off to our friendly neighborhood printer to get it center-stapled and cut.

Voila! I'm a publisher now!


  1. Congrats, doms. The booklet looks stunning. By the way, the family and I were in PI last month. It would have been nice if you and Manong Chaz got together. :)

  2. Hi Dom,

    Nice work. You may wish to try for your next step as a publisher. Open source for the book publishing industry:)

  3. Hi, Zaizee! Ma-o lagi! sayang wa ta nagkita. Na-a naman gud ko sa Davao. If I go to the US, I'll be sure to look you guys up.

    Hi, SGC: thanks for the tip. I have a friend who's actually published her novels there. This was just a small project, though, so our local copiers could get the job done.

  4. Another way to do it is use OpenOffice Writer. It does a great job of printing items in booklet form.

    1. Layout the page as legal - portrait with 1 inch margins. Yes legal, even though you are using letter sized paper. Use an 18 pt font. When it prints in booklet form the whole page shrinks so anything under 18 is too small to read, 16 is ok for notes.
    2. To print use this print setup
    letter -landscape
    duplex short side flip
    click the brochure check box under options
    3. Print
    Does a great job of printing booklets.


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