Make Summer Camp Update: Book Block Revision

This post is part of the Make Summer Camp Series: It’s specifically an add-on to yesterday’s post about laying out a book digitally.

Draw to think: book blocks// course I got it wrong. I only realized in the middle of the project that it was wrong.

If you take a look at the diagram at left, you’ll see six sheets of paper making a signature. So far so good.  Each page then gets folded. Again, so far so good.  Six folded sheets get stacked inside one another, so far so good.

When you’re bookbinding a notebook, this much is easy.  When you’re trying to create a book-block, a set of pages paginated in order from beginning to end, this gets trickier.

Because in a book-block, you have to think both digitally and printer-ly, and bound-ily, all at the same time.

So, the printed sheet 1 is equivalent to digital pages 1 and 2 on the screen — but it’s also pages 1 and 2 and 23 and 24 in the book.

Except that it’s NOT.  This is what screwed me up last night.  Page 7 and 18 are going to come out of the laser printer on the same sheet of paper, and pages 8 and 17 are going to come out on the second sheet, and then both get run through a copier to make it double-sided.  But both pages come out of the printer in the same orientation — they don’t get backwards-ified until they’re made double-sided.

Which means, that on the first of these printed sheets, book pages 18 and 7 have to be printed on the page in that order — 18 on the left side of the page, and 7 on the right side.  And on the second of these printed sheets, 8 has to be printed on the left side, and 17 has to be printed on the right. Getting them to come out of the copier correctly is a completely different kettle of fish, of course.  And with a clean copy.

And so I have some substantial revision of my book block to do tonight.  I’m going to have to invert every other page.  I hope I do the right pages.  Clearly I have some more figuring out to do.

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  1. InDesign — it will at least allow you to auto layout a single signature at a time. I have direct experience using this tool for a newspaper (which is like a large signature).

    • THanks. Apple Pages, my main word processor, used to have tools for such things, but they killed some of the critically useful features in the most recent edition. I’ve made requests to bring those back, but no luck yet.

    • That’s foolish of them. I mean, making your own books is kind of rare, but putting together a little booklet, for a newsletter or program or something — that seems to be pretty common. The school newspaper I was involved in creating needed to be either 4, 8, or 12 pages and was printed on 11 x 17 landscape and folded.

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