2008-11-06

BookletCreator: Son of Nifty Online Resources

BookletCreator is a truly nifty resource.

So you've written the next great novel, photo album, whatever, and you want to print it out and bind it in signatures.

"What's a signature?" I hear you ask? Maybe not you, but that person on the next computer to the right, yes, that one. He wants to know.

Hardcover books, thick ones tend to be made of many bundles of folded pages bound together. Each bundle is comprised of a number of pages printed such that when folded in half down the middle all the pages are in proper order within that bundle, and those bundles, when placed in proper order, are bound together to form the body of the book. Some books have an even edge, some have a wavy edge. Even edged books have been trimmed after binding, as the inner pages of each bundle project out from the outer pages. Each bundle is referred to as a signature; beats me where that term came from, and I'm not looking it up.

Printing a signature requires ordering pages in a very weird manner, so that when printed and folded everything is as it should be. Printing a set of signatures for binding into a book is trickier still if you want to keep the page numbering constant between signatures; signature one ending on page 16, for instance, signature two starting on page 17, signature three starting on page 33, and so on. And then, if you want all the signatures the same size no matter what, you often find that you need to pad the last signature with some blank pages at the end.

BookletCreator will do this for you, the ordering of pages for printing in signatures, when you provide it with a PDF document and answer certain questions, such as how many pages per signature, Left-to-Right or Right-to-Left, etc.

It will take your PDF, your criteria, and automagically reorder the pages so that when printed on a duplex printer all you need to do is count off x number of pages, fold in half, and voila, a signature! x is the number of pages to a signature divided by 4, given four pages per individual sheet of paper.

Then you get to go into more advanced bookbinding matters, but the pages are ready to go.

And the really nifty snazzy thing about BookletCreator? It's free, absolutely free.

Now if anyone knows of a program which would reorder pages for printing three to a side on 8.5 x 14, so that slicing in three produced 8.5 by 4.66 pages, and which would do this for n number of pages, reordering everything for duplex printing, I'd love to hear about it. It would be great for producing slightly off-size paperbacks.

But until then, and in all cases where I want to make hand-bound hardcovers, BookletCreator is The Bomb.

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