Bookbinding: How to.

This is going to be a work in progress. It’ll be somewhat sequential, but don’t bet on it.
Part one has got to be: how to prepare a download for binding. And I’d say either go HTML and take it into your word processor for manipulation, or go PDF and trust the writer’s setup.


  1. dhawktx

    Oh, and use a Print to PDF utility so you have a hard coded output for them to print. That way you’re not dealing with their software.

  2. Hawke

    Oh my! It’s far more complicated than I thought O.O

    Thank you very much for the information. I will work on this more now 🙂 I’m glad I have a “junk” copy of this to chop up and try working with, to figure out the signatures. It’s a little more than 150 pages long when formatted to the page size I want. I don’t know if there’s a technical term for “as big as a folded piece of standard paper.” But that’s the size I want. *grin*

  3. Hawke

    Just coming back from my junk copy for a minute. As I mentioned before, they attempted to print this on tabloid 11″x17″ paper, double sided, with “book fold.”
    I went through and “numbered” my pages so I could see just what went on, and where things are in the bad copy.
    Second sheet contains pages 2 and 149 facing each other. On the back, pages 3 and 148 are facing each other, but are upside down in relation to pages 2 and 149! Oh, and 148 is on the back of page 2 and so forth. All through the document this is the case.
    It makes my head spin!

  4. dhawktx

    Sorry if I made it sound too difficult, it’s more fiddley than anything. But, yes, if you are making sewn signatures you have to figure out the layout of it.

    If you have 152 pages, that’s 38 sheets (152/4). If you want no more than 8 sheets per signature, that’s 4.75 signatures and you’re going to have a blank page or two here – If you go to you can find html versions of fairy tales with illustrations you can use as ‘fillers’ since they are now in the public domain. Keep in mind that the illustration can actually be dropped on the page in place of a text box, just reflow your text for that signature to the next text box in line.

  5. dhawktx

    Ooops! You posted while I was replying.

    THAT is why I said to print your file to PDF. That way it’s a straightforward print where they print all the odd numbered pages *of the PDF file*, flip the sheets over and print the even pages reversed. They should know which way to flip it – don’t let them make you pay if they mess up. If you want to be kind you can prep a two sheet ‘test’ signature for them to make sure they’ve got it going right before they do the big boy.

  6. Hawke

    I am very glad to have asked this question here. Your advice has helped a lot! I’m eager to take on the challenge. I’m just easily intimidated by computers sometimes 😀

  7. dhawktx

    So glad to be able to help!

    RE: what size do you call it? Officially, there isn’t a name for it! The modern US paper sizes are based on some very old papermaking ‘realities’ – the mill makes a roll of paper and when it is rolled it’s not quite perfectly even on the roll and the edges get damaged. The roll gets to the plant that is cutting it into sheets and the first thing they do is run it through a trimmer and take off the damaged edges (which go to recycling). The roll is then taken to a machine that measures and cuts the paper size required for production – the ‘Parent Sheet’ can be many sizes depending on whether the finished goods will be ledger, legal, or letter size. We are still working from inches and everyone else has gone to metric, where the Parent Sheet is very civilized and can be cut into any of the sub-sizes, as each is 1/2 or 1/4 of the previous size.

  8. dhawktx

    Yes! That’s what I was talking about, just with plain boxes rather than shapes! Good! Remember to turn off the Outline one the box…

  9. Hawke

    Dummy run for the first signature looks good…! Eight and a half more to go! I feel like I ought to be surrounded by glowy sparkles, with bells chiming and a little “Level Up!” marquee over my head! 😀

  10. dhawktx

    You make me proud Hawke! (Name’s not bad either!)

  11. Hawke

    It is DONE!! Just wanted to let you know! I ended up leaving the outline on the boxes – because I’m placing little hand painted embellishments and the outline’s useful to me for that. The folks at the printer were very happy when I said, “I’m back, and it’s going to be simple this time!” Poor lady – it’s the UPS store, they handle this kind of thing, but not quite this way, and never books as such.

    The book cover turned out to be the trickiest part, involving some blue air as I had to stop in the middle and go back *again* to the articles and video and figure out what I’d done. But I got it fixed. The book is lovely and I’m so glad I got this done in time for Christmas! And knowing, now, what I’m about, perhaps I can do some more like this for next year 😀

    Thank you once more, so very much, for all your help!

  12. dhawktx

    Links to piccies? I wanna SEEEEEEE!!

  13. MadadhAllaidh

    Hello, all. I spent some time looking for a ‘Newbie Intro’ thread as I feel it is more polite to knock first before barging into someone’s ‘home’. I didn’t see anything that seemed to fit that function, though I admit that I could just be missing it (the format of this site is not yet familiar to me). Apologies in advance for any missteps.

    I know that I need to post something to complete registration, so I chose this thread as I have some experience in Conservation Book Repair through my day job. Though much of my work in that area (a side function of my regular job) involves general collection book repair (meaning, not the higher end of working with rare material), I was trained with higher end techniques and the process alone teaches one quite a lot about the nuts and bolts of how a book functions as a tangible item.

    I haven’t had time to read through the entire thread yet as I am currently distracted with an ailing wee beastie, but I suspect that much of what I might say may already be here. In the interest of having something to add, though, I’ll just quickly mention that we often have used tools and such from Gaylord if you are looking for archival material for your projects.

    Later, as my life becomes less complicated (fingers crossed) I may try to look through my old notes from my mentor in the field (there’s an apprentice/mentor lineage for us that goes back to Kupp of Stuttgart… I always find that amusing) to see if there’s anything I can add here that folks may find useful.

    Overall, I may be quiet at first here – I tend to be reserved in public anyway, but if I think I have something useful to add over time you may see me now and again.

    Warmest regards, everyone.

  14. AbigailM

    Once upon a time a couple of decades or more ago, when I had my Apple llc and a StyleWriter printer, it came with a little booklet printer utility that would turn one sheet out of the printer into 4, or 8, or 16 pages, all in the right order and right side up after you stacked and folded and cut them.

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