An easy way to organize a book printing (booklet) at home
Ok, maybe I was a bit’ optimistic with the “print a book at home” and even if objectively feasible today we will see only how to organize the printing of pages in an easy and fast way.
The real problem for anyone trying to print a multi-issue book is organizing the pages. We imagine books as many small booklets made up of A4 sheets folded in half and printed on the front / retro. The image below explains it better than a thousand words.
In the example above we want to print a brochure of 12 pages. Assuming they are A4 sheets:
- on the front of the outermost sheet we will print the pages 1 and 12, on the retro pages 2 and 11,
- on the front the pages of the second sheet 3 and 10, on the retro pages 4 and 9,
- on the front of the third sheet the pages 5 and 8, on the retro pages 6 and 7.
Obviously we cannot launch a classic print with the pages in sequence (1, 2, 3, etc..), or we couldn't organize them like a booklet. To do this on the Ubuntu site we find quite a long tutorial which explains which pages to queue to sort and how to divide them into groups. This process is quite cumbersome and you run the risk – wrong – of having to reprint everything from scratch.
Of all the programs I've tried, I can recommend at least two that will significantly simplify the work.
Boomaga – virtual printer
Boomaga (BOOklet MAnager) is a Linux program that adds a virtual printer (Boomaga) to available printers. The project is currently active and allows us the following actions:
- allows you to view the output launched in print before passing it to the physical printer,
- allows more printing “job” queued in a single solution,
- allows the printing of multiple pages on a single sheet (resized up to 8 pages),
- allows printing “booklet” (which is what interests us) and sub-booklet (more “brochures” lined up to form a book),
- selecting “booklet” allows you to choose how many sheets to include in our brochure.
Boomaga is an open source project. The sources are available for download, or packages for various distributions. There is no version for Windows, as the software is CUPS based and printing management on Windows is very different from how it is managed on Linux (CUPS).
PDF Booklet is a small python program, currently under active development, whose function is to create a brochure starting from a PDF. Many other programs have the set printing function, but none of the ones I've tried have the features necessary for accurate printing. Among the features:
- multiple brochures,
- (tramie PDF Shuffler) adding one or more pages anywhere in the PDF,
- change the print scale or margins,
- rotation of one or more pages inside the PDF,
- manual setting of page scale or size.
I find it especially important to manage internal margins. If we print too close to the binding it will be unnecessarily difficult to read the nearest words. Similarly, if the outer margin is too small we will risk cutting the closest words once the cutter is passed.
PDF Booklet is an open source project hosted on SourceForge, born to be compatible primarily with Windows. In any case the code has been adapted to run on Linux and it depends, as the previous, da python. On the official website (terrible) and on SourceForge are available in addition to the sources, precompiled .deb or .rpm packages.