Making Handmade Paperback Books
edited: Tuesday, January 13, 2009
By Janet Sue Terry
Not "rated" by the Author.
Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2003
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Creating homemade paperback books can be a fun project.
Copyright (c) 01/15/2003 by Janet Sue Terry
Just before Christmas, my daughter and I, decided to make our own paperback books. I am a fair artist, so started sketching the cover design while I set the book to type.
Setting the type was simply making sure the story was ready for publication by carefully editing the novel in our word processor, and sizing the pages the way we wanted them. In addition we created a personal dedication page for each book, with a private message for the person we were going to give it to. For instance; "To my beloved sister Sherry, who encouraged me every step of the way."
We used Microsoft Publisher to format 8.5 X 5.5 pages. This was half of a regular piece of paper. The book was 356 pages thick so it was pretty bulky. We could have reduced the font and had less pages, or started the chapters at the top of the page to reduce them, however, we wanted to put it together just the way we did.
Fortunately we had a Brother Duplex Laser Printer that printed the pages on both sides. It did a great job. Without a duplex printer we would have had to manually flip the pages to print on both sides. We printed enough to bind 50 books, and then cut the pages in half with a manual paper cutter (the same sort you used in school).
We used 12 pt, 8.5 X 14 glossy card stock paper for the covers. We took the artwork; cover design, and glossy paper to a printer. It costs about 1.27 per cover at our local Kinko store even though we furnished the paper. They were also great about helping us get the size of the cover exact.
Once the pages were cut, and the covers ready, we purchased several bottles of fast setting contact glue from the hardware store. We began by manually creasing the spines of the covers, although it was a tedious chore. The book was almost an inch thick, so the spine had to be that exact size.
Once folded, we spread the glue along the inside of the spine, then manually joggled the pages as straight as we could get them, pressed them against the spine, and using 4-6 powerful rubber bands, we secured the book and laid it aside. The first few were a mess, but we caught on soon enough and the binding looked much better. As we worked, the stack grew, and eventually we finished the job.
The finished book turned out to be pretty impressive, and few suspected that we did it ourselves. We wrapped them, and gave them out as Christmas gifts to friends and relatives.
The negatives were:
The book was too thick. It would have been simpler with a thinner novel.
The glue stuck to the fly pages.
The pages edges were uneven.
The positives were:
No one seemed to suspect that it was a homemade book.
Our family and friends loved it because we made it ourselves.
We were able to resolve the negatives, with more experience.
Did we save money? Probably not. We used a lot of paper and ink cartridges, not to mention the charges for the covers. However, we were able to do it at our kitchen table, in our own time, our own way. Furthermore we could make as few or as many as we wanted.
Poetry, How-To, and Cook Books lend themselves very well to this sort of printing.
An interesting thing we learned is that Kinko will make the books, size we had, for about $35.00 each. So you can order as many as you need and get them back quickly.
A good alternative to printing them at home is taking them to a commercial printer who will print the pages, and cut them, this way they would be even. They can also print the covers and crease them for you, and they are much cheaper than Kinko, who specializes is being a fast print alternative.
In addition there is a nice little tool out there that was designed to hold the pages secure while you are putting the book together. I eventually purchased one myself and it was a great help. http://www.gigabooks.net/
Here is a list of web sites giving instructions, encouragement and help to those who want to try binding their own books.
I love feedback on how you did it, and what helped you the most.
If you have any questions or comments, contact janetsueterry.authorsden.com
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