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How to Create a Book at Home

    How to Create a Book at Home

    When discussing how to create a book in 2023, exporting files to Kindles and other ebook readers is frequently mentioned. But what about the old-fashioned craft of hand-making books? Some claim bookbinding is a vanishing art but is due for a revival.

    This article will teach you how to create a book at home. Not just any blank book, but a professionally formatted novel, memoir, or nonfiction book with a hardcover. Plus, it should cost you at most fifteen or twenty dollars!

    If you’ve written a piece of fiction or nonfiction and want to create a copy to give to someone special (or keep it for yourself), follow the steps outlined below. Alternatively, if you wish to make a blank notebook.

    1. Compile the content for the project

    Here’s what we’ll need to create a book at home:

    • Printing Paper (A4 or Letter Size), uncoated 70-80 gsm
    • 2 sheets of decorated paper (A4 or Letter size), 90-100gsm
    • Elmer’s glue (or PVA Glue)
    • Hot melt glue gun
    • Craft knife
    • Large bulldog clips (paper clips)
    • Good-quality material or paper for your cover
    • Thin fabric ( a purpose-made book cloth)
    • Metal ruler
    • Felt Pen
    • Stapler
    • High-quality cardboard
    • Once these ‘ingredients’ are in place, you must learn how to create a book.

    2. Format the pages

    It is where we digitally typeset your chosen book and arrange the pages to bind it seamlessly. Several varieties of software can use to typeset a book. However, we strongly suggest you utilize the Reedsy Book Editor for the following three reasons:

    • It generates print-ready, professional documents that are simple to read.
    • It requires no training and has a minimal learning curve.
    • It’s gratis

    When you export your book, you will have several options for trim size. Select Digest (5.5″ x 8.5″), the same size as a sheet of folded Letter paper.

    After exporting your file as a PDF, you can proceed with printing.

    3. Print the book on paper

    If you were to tear apart almost any hardcover edition, you would discover that it comprises individual booklets of paper bound together with adhesive or thread. These are known as folios, and they consist of folded signature documents.

    What is a signature?

    A signature consists of pages of text inked on both sides of a single sheet of paper. Before assembling a folio, essentially a booklet, the sheets are wrinkled (and sometimes cut).

    Signatures for our endeavor will print on single sheets of letter-sized paper with two pages on each side. We will compile eight signatures into 32-page folios for our book. Due to how each writing fits into this configuration, each signature must be printed in a specific order; we will demonstrate how to do so.

    Download Adobe Acrobat Pro

    Since we are dealing with PDFs, why not use the tool developed by the PDF’s creators? Adobe Acrobat Pro is a paid application, but the good news is that nearly all of Adobe’s creative software includes a 30-day free trial.

    Once the software has been downloaded, view the PDF file.

    Make sure your pages are labeled correctly

    When opening the file for the first time in Adobe, select “Organize Pages” to see all the pages arranged.

    The first thing you must verify is that the page numbers are accurate. If the page numbers return to 1 after the first text (title page, copyright page, etc.), you must reset the page identifiers for the document to print correctly:

    If so, right-click the first page and select ‘Page Numbering.’ Then, where “Selected” is highlighted, alter the setting to ‘All.’

    It will then consecutively label each page; you’re almost ready to print!

    Print your book in 32-page booklets

    When you click ‘Print,’ you will see the option to print a booklet containing your book’s inscriptions. To produce a manageable booklet, publish the book 32 pages at a time. Here’s how to proceed:

    • Select ‘Pages’ and type in 1 – 32.
    • Under ‘Page Sizing & Handling,’ select ‘Booklet’:
    • Then print out pages 1 -32

    Printing the documents on both sides of the paper will be necessary. If your printer allows “duplex printing,” it will print on both sides automatically. Otherwise, you will need to rotate the pieces midway.

    You will now print out the initial 32 documents.

    Then repeat the process with the following:
    Pages 33 – 64
    Pages 65 – 96
    Pages 97 – 128
    And so on

    You can print multiple duplicates. You will not have to start over if you make a mistake later in the process. Or, if you want to make several attempts to create a precisely bound copy, this will allow you to do so.

    Choosing the right paper

    Feeling the paper as you turn the pages is a significant part of the reading experience; therefore, selecting the proper paper stock is crucial. If the piece is too thin and lightweight, it will be more fragile during binding. If you choose a store that is too heavy and thick, folding the signatures won’t be easy (and prevent your novella from appearing like a doorstop).

    You can research your paper online. Or, even better, visit a stationery store where you can examine the stock before purchasing. If you want to construct a book with a professional feel, we recommend selecting a paper stock that is:


    Seventy to eighty gsm (grams per square meter)

    If the notion of using recycled paper appeals to you, that’s fantastic. Just examine a sample before committing to purchasing a ream.

    4. Assemble the binding for the spine

    It would be best to have your entire book printed and separated into eight-page folios (on which 32 pages are published).

    Take the sheets on which pages 1 through 32 are printed and meticulously fold each page in half, being mindful of the correct direction. Then, meticulously assemble them in the proper order and secure them with an open stapler as follows:

    Stapling Book Binding

    You can staple them to a folded bath towel or pair of old denim so as not to damage the table. Additionally, you must bend the points of the staples with your own hands (or a metal ruler if you prefer to protect your fingertips).

    It would help to alternate where you position the staples on the spine between folios to prevent bulging. You may arrange them as shown in the diagram.

    You will want to fold the pages as tightly as possible; to accomplish this, you can join them with a rubber band and then press them with a stack of weighty books or other objects. You can leave them there overnight.

    And there you have it: a bundle of 32-page folios containing your entire book.

    The time has come to bind these folios. In some bookbinding techniques, the folios are joined using stitching, but we will use hot adhesive in our case.

    Utilize your bulldog clips to maintain order in your arrangement of folios. Apply hot adhesive along the spines of the folios, ensuring the glue does not drip between the folios.

    How to make a book: gluing the spine

    Apply fabric to the spine before the adhesive has cooled. The material should only be adhered to the book’s spine; the sections that drape over the front and rear covers should be unattached. Clip the fabric and folios together with bulldog clips.

    Create a book cover when the glue has cooled and hardened (you may need to wait several hours). You will observe that the pages need to be perfectly aligned. It is typical. Trim the excessive paper with a craft knife and a ruler until each page is appropriately aligned.

    Ideally, you only need to trim the margin opposite the spine.

    5. Create the cardboard book cover

    Utilize your collection of folios to create two identical hardcovers on your cardboard sheets. They should be approximately one millimeter larger than your pages.

    Then, construct a spine. It should be the same height as the front and back covers, while the spine’s perimeter should match the bound folios’ thickness AND the front and back covers.

    Create a book by forming the spine

    Using Elmer’s (or PVA) adhesive, adhere the front and back covers and spine to the paper or material serving as the book’s cover. Half the breadth of the card should leave between the covers and spines. Additionally, there should be an additional inch of material on all sides. Ensure the adhesive distribute, and use a credit card to remove any air bubbles that may have formed.

    Glued hard coverings constitute a book.

    6. Join the pieces to make your book at home

    This section is delicate and will have enduring effects on readability. Now, the bonded folio will affix to the hardcover. Using Elmer’s adhesive, the loose fabric wings on both sides of the spine will be adhered to the front and back covers.

    Allow these to dry for a couple of hours. Keep the coverings open and the pages clear. It is best accomplished by placing the book on its back and supporting it with other hardbacks.

    Trim the patterned lining paper so that it can be adhered flush with the first page. Then, when the book is complete, apply a thin layer of adhesive to the cover and first page, and comply with the lining paper. (Note that the quantity of glue depicted in the diagram is for illustrative purposes only. Use sufficient adhesive to cover the entire surface and ensure a secure hold.)

    7. Design a dust jacket

    The final step, optional but highly recommended and enjoyable, is to design a beautiful dust jacket for your book after you have assembled all its components. A dust jacket not only ties the project together (and protects the cardboard hardcover from damage) but also adds a concluding touch that makes your self-made book appear identical to any professionally-made book on the market.

    A naked hardcover can be gorgeous, but creating a dust jacket that captures the book’s essence and highlights its subject matter is standard practice. You may have created your cover for your favorite public domain book because you couldn’t locate one you liked. It is your opportunity to make amends.

    You can design your dust jacket using book cover design software such as Canva or InDesign or employ a professional designer to make your final product stand out on the shelf.

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