- The available options
- Formats available
- Choose the fonts
- Build it
- Wait 10 minutes while we build it
- Retrieve the file
- Fonts preview
- Further help, reporting problems, helping out, thanks...
This page provides a “guided tour” to the Book Builder feature.
The idea is to provide a simple way to let the readers and distributers change the format of the PDF. The library offers out of the box 3 different PDF, the EPUB and a plain HTML page available for downloading. Sometimes this is not enough. Maybe you're sick of the default fonts, or you want a different arrangement with signatures. So I am going to explain you what to do.
We start with the simple browsing. Choose a text you want to reformat. You'll find at the top, on the banner, the link “Add this text to your book”. Click on it to add it to the collection. At this point you need to have the cookies enabled, or you won't be able to do anything. The cookie will expire when the book is produced or you close the browser. This screenshot should be make this step clearer.
When you click on the icon, you'll land into the book creator page. You can browse back to the previous page, now. It's safe to do so, your browser will remember what you added. You can access the Book builder page using the standard link on the black bar on the top of the page.
Repeat the two step above until you have a nice collection. This is not mandatory: you are free to reformat even a single text.
Now, let's say you are quite satisfied, and you stop on the book creator page. You have your list available for editing: you can change the order of the titles using the arrows, or remove the text from the collection. The buttons should be clear enough.
Pick a name for the collection. A random string (at least 5 character long) will do, but you are encouraged to choose a sensible name, which describe the content. The produced PDF will be available for some time to the whole world (but in no way with your name/ip/whatever attached), hence the importance of having a sensible name.
The available options
If you selected only one text, you'll be asked if you want a Table of Content.
Then you are asked if the PDF should be imposed or not.
The imposed formats available are meant to be printed and folded on the paper size specified. So the "a4 imposed" is meant to be printed recto and verso (on both sides) on A4 paper, folded and clipped, while the "letter imposed" is the same, but for letter paper, standard in the USA. See the picture:
What the hell are “signatures”?
Anyway, there's a problem. If you're doing the poor man's binding, i.e., folding and clipping with a long arm stapler, there's a limit to the sheets you can stack. After 20 (with a poor man's stapler), the booklet will become too thick to be clipped, and you are going to trim the resulting booklet (with a kind of professional paper trimmer). So, the solution is to split the text in thinner booklets: the signatures.
You'll understand that the dimension of the signatures is a variable. Sometimes you want signatures of 60 pages, sometimes of 80 pages (i.e., 20 sheets), depending on the total number of pages. The service the library offers will calculate the best signature for your book, but you are prompted for a range. Are you asking why?
Because someone of you will want all the book on a single signature, regardless of the total page number, because they are going to cut the sheets (or the printing service is going to do it). Others will prefer thicker signatures, others thinner. So please give a range if you want the stuff to be imposed. The default is between 40 and 100. But think and change it accordingly. If you set the values to 0, all the book will be imposed on a single signature, i.e., without splitting it in booklets.
Another example. The estimate page count is 101 pages. This probably means you won't be able to fit it in a single booklet. So change the range to read “40 to 60”. The signature calculated will be between these two values, probably giving you a PDF to be imposed in 2 booklets of 52 pages. White pages will be added at the end of the second booklet. Print it double-side, fold and clip the two booklets, and you're done. If needed, redo the above steps changing the signature range.
Maybe you're asking how can you know the resulting signature, i.e., where you have to split the pages. It's very easy. Just look at the first page of resulting imposed pdf. The page number on the first page on the left shows you the last page of the first booklet, and each booklet has an equal number of pages. Does the first page shows  and  ? Ok your signature is 48. Does it show  and ? Ok, your signature is 36. Doesn't it show anything, just the logo? Don't worry. It means that the book fits in a single signature, so you don't have to split anything.
Still confused? Ok, drop in the XMPP channel or send a mail, hopefully someone will help you.
When you choose the paper format for the imposition, you can choose if you want the binding correction or not. If you're wondering what the hell is this, see the picture below:
The binding correction is that region of the paper which is stolen by the binding.
If you are going to clip the booklets, you usually don't want any binding correction, because the clipping doesn't eat space, so pick the format without binding correction. If you are going to ask a service, or you are equipped for binding (usually with glue, or glue and clips), you need some space near the spine, otherwise the book will become unreadable. So choose the option “with binding correction”. Please contact us if you think that the binding correction is not wide enough. (See below).
You can choose the paper format.
* Mini format for e-reader: a square of 105x105mm. Really small. The only sensible use for it is the reading on screen. Some larger images, some preformatted blocks will probably go crazy. You have been warned.
* A4 paper: standard A4 paper.
* A4 imposed (A5), no binding correction: it's a A5, suitable to be imposed on A4.
* A4 imposed (A5), with binding correction: same as above, but with binding correction.
* Letter paper: standard Letter paper (for USA)
* letter imposed (half letter), no binding correction: width 5.5in, height 8.5in, suitable to be imposed on the Letter paper.
* letter imposed (half letter), with binding correction: same as above, but with binding correction.
If you need some other format, please contact us (see below), we can add them at will.
Choose the fonts
You can choose the font family and the dimension (10, 11 or 12 points).
The standard font used on the library is Linux Libertine. You probably want to change this. Below you can find a preview of the available fonts. They are all free fonts, almost the best that can be found. If you think we're missing something, we'll add it. But you have to contact us. (See below). Important: the only guaranteed font is the Linux Libertine. Using other fonts could lead to missing characters if the text contains non-Latin characters, such as Greek or fancy symbols. You can try, but you have been warned. It's a limited case, however. Most of the texts are not going to have problems.
Input the easy answer to the antispam question and hit the “Build it” button.
Wait 10 minutes while we build it
Usually 10 minutes are enough to give you the book. You can browse the internet while waiting. Visit the Book builder page to see the status.
Retrieve the file
For a limited amount of time, you'll find your book listed in the “latest book built” (you did choose a smart name, right?). After a month, it's removed.
This is a quite fancy font, but really interesting. Probably not suitable for longer texts, but awesome for articles.
TeX Gyre Schola (New Century Schoolbook)
Rumors say that it's one of the more legible fonts because often it's the same font you used to learn to read. Good for longer things, kind of classic.
TeX Gyre Heros (Helvetica)
I don't know why someone would use this sans serif to read something longer than a page or two. Anyway, providing it is not a problem, so it's here just for the sake of completeness.
This is a saner (and much prettier) sans serif. Again, suitable only for shorter things.
This is the standard font used on the library. It's very wide, but if you already printed some things from the library, you will probably want something else. You'll have to come back to this if your text with other fonts is missing some glyphs.
This is the standard in the TeX world. It's pretty nice and readable, it packs very well, but again, you probably have seen it too many times. It completely lacks non-latin characters.
TeX Gyre Pagella (Palatino)
The Palatino is a nice font. It's a very readable serif, and not boring. Recommended.
Fonts not available (yet?)
The Gentium fonts are nice, but they have a problem: they are missing the bold variants (bold and bold italics). So it's a no go. The Gentium Basic fonts provide a complete set, but there would be too many problems with missing glyph, so they are just not ready.
Further help, reporting problems, helping out, thanks...
If you find problems on the service, please report them or via XMPP, or, in case there's nobody there due to “real life” issues, mail to "marco -AT- theanarchistlibrary.org" (replace the " -AT- " and the spaces around with @).