Making your own book can be a way to give a customized gift, or your own work, to preserve online content. DIY make, print and bind books looks intimidating at first, but we’ll guide you through the process of laying out pages, printing, and binding.
What content do you want to include
An informative book can be the perfect gift especially when it has photos of old memories or a bunch of your best recipes, stories or even a set of planner pages. Even though physical copies of books can look daunting, they are the best forms of books especially when you want to keep track of the content.
Once the content has been decided it can then be placed in a word document or converted to a pdf document.
Proper Layout & Printing
Once the content is picked, you need to decide on the book size, how the pages are to be structured and how the binding is to be done. Since different styles have different printing process, this step is very much necessary.
Printing Folded Booklet: Printing Folded Booklets are tricky. If there is a 48-page book to be printed in the folded format, then you have to be careful with the layout. Pages 1-2 has to be printed along with pages 47-48 on one page, so you need to have a total number of pages divisible by four, with empty pages stuffed in the end. All these processes can be automized as explained below.
Printing Full Pages: Printing full pages is easier when compared to the printing of folded booklets. There are certain circumstances where you want to print your book double sided. In this cases, you might want to print the odd pages first, flip them over and then print the even pages on the opposite side. This can easily be automated with a printer which can print both sides.
Creating Imposition Pages.
Since pages can be easily printed using any word processor, the easiest way to bind full pages is to use glue based binding or spiral. By doing this the only step is to make sure that the pages are in the right order.
Imposition printing is a bit more complicated, but space can be saved if the book printed is small. You can create imposition pages easily InDesign, but for those on a budget, there is an easy way using a word processor as described below.
Creating imposition pages with a word processor and PDF converter.
If printing is being done on a letter paper, it is better to shrink the pages you want so that the font size is unaffected later. To do this, you need to go into Word: File > Page Setup. OpenOffice: Format > Page and change your Page Setup to 4.25″ X 5.5″ with at least one-inch margins on all sides.
You need to export it to a PDF file so you can use another utility to convert the pages to an imposition format (Word: File > Save As > PDF. OpenOffice: File > Export as PDF).
Now that the PDF is ready, there are a number of options to convert it to an imposed image. Impose Online is a free web app which will enable your work to be done from the comfort of your browser. A free Java-based alternative is Book Binder. BookletCreator a downloadable tool can also be used and is available for Mac and Windows. All these tools require you to set the options for printing.
Older versions of MS Word have a “Print Booklet” option, so be sure to check under File > Print > Options to see if you can do it that way. If you’re looking for more advanced design options, Scribus is a cross-platform, free layout program available for Mac, Windows, and Linux.
Binding DIY tricks to make the final product look professional
A book is nothing without the bind and the cover holding it together. If you want something simple, you can get your letter sized printout spiral bound at any copy center for a couple dollars, but if you’re looking for something with a little more flair, you might consider some of these options.
Moleskin-Like Notebook: This clever design takes the idea of a Moleskin notebook and makes it do yourself. It’s not easy and requires stitching, but the final product is worth the extra effort.
Hardcover with Glue: If the aesthetic look of your book is your goal then there is no better option than to go with an impressive. You’ll need cardboard, glue, scissors, and a knife.
A simple method for imposition pages: If you went with the imposition method, you can just staple the pages in the middle, or you can go for this classic saddle stitch method using a piece of string.
Screw post binding: This is a great option to make your book sturdy and allow easy addition or removal of pages. Most of the materials can be bought at a hardware store or art supply store, and you’ll need book cloth, binding board, screw posts, glue, wax paper, and linen tape.
Why is it better to leave it to a professional
If all these above tips seem too daunting then it is always best to seek a professional for the printing & binding needs in order to make the final product look fresh & professional. There are plenty of print shops & printing services out there where printing & binding can be done at low costs.