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Creating A6 Booklets in 7 Easy Steps

A6 Booklets
Disclaimer:Some link in this post are affiliate links. For each sale that is made through the purchase links in this post I get a small commission (that does not affect your final purchase price!). Of course, I'd love if you bought a book through these links, but keep in mind they are in the public domain (and I'll post them in pdf soon). I don't want anyone to come later at me and say they were tricked into buying the book and then realising it was available for free! Anyway, I won't get rich quickly (probably not even slowly) by these sales, but they will work the normal upkeep of this blog.



A few weeks ago I realised that I didn't have a printed copy of Sun Tzu's Art of War, and this thought collided head on with another old thought I had: could I use pdfpages to create A6 booklets? I use it very frequently to turn my papers into handy A4 booklets (a few A4 folded in half), but I did not know if I could do it another time to generate A5 booklets, or even another time to get a small and nice A6 booklet.

As these two thoughts collided, I decided that the best way to check was to use as base PDF The Art of War, a book available through The Project Gutenberg. I formatted it as a LaTeX ebook with custom sizes (to get readable fonts) and compiled using the fantastic and powerful memoir class. I'll give the details of how to create ebooks with LaTeX later this year or in the beginning of the next. I also did the same to Arnold Bennett's How to Live on 24 Hours a Day.

In my next post I'll give you links to the ebooks and A6 and A7 booklet version of The Art of War and How to Live on 24 Hours a Day as a gift for being a reader. For now, I'll show how to create them from any raw PDF and the steps to build the booklet.

You'll need three TeX files, based on the one I already used in How to Create LaTeX Booklets. You can refer to that page if there is something missing in here. These files will turn the PDF successively into 2-pages per sheet to 4-pages per sheet to the final 8-pages per sheet printable booklet.

I named the files Booklet2x1.tex, Booklet4x1.tex and Booklet8x1.tex for pretty obvious reasons. Their contents are:

Booklet2x1.tex:
\documentclass[a5paper]{article}
\usepackage[pdftex]{color,graphicx,epsfig}
\usepackage[left=2cm,top=2.cm,bottom=2.cm,right=2cm]{geometry}
\usepackage[final]{pdfpages}
\begin{document}
\includepdf[pages=-, signature=80,landscape, frame=true]{Wrapper.pdf}
\end{document}
Booklet4x1.tex
\documentclass[a5paper]{article}
\usepackage[pdftex]{color,graphicx,epsfig}
\usepackage[left=2cm,top=2.cm,bottom=2.cm,right=2cm]{geometry}
\usepackage[final]{pdfpages}
\begin{document}
\includepdf[pages=-, signature=40,landscape, frame=true]{Booklet2x1.pdf}
\end{document}
Booklet8x1.tex
\documentclass[a5paper]{article}
\usepackage[pdftex]{color,graphicx,epsfig}
\usepackage[left=2cm,top=2.cm,bottom=2.cm,right=2cm]{geometry}
\usepackage[final]{pdfpages}
\begin{document}
\includepdf[pages=-, signature=20,landscape, frame=true]{Booklet4x1.pdf}
\end{document}
Later I realised that I did not need a5paper in the class part. As I explained in How to Create LaTeX Booklets, the signature is the number of pages per fold: in the case of a booklet, you have to aim for the closest multiple of 4 from above to the number of pages of the PDF file. In this case, I was lucky: the original file had 80 pages, that turned into 40 and then into 20 (resulting in just 10 pages to print).

The building can get a little tricky, because you need to cut correctly the booklet. That is why I used the frame=true option of pdfpages, this draws a thin line around the pages for a very easy cutting process!

Start by compiling the first tex file with pdflatex, and follow with the other files until you have Booklet8x1.pdf and print it two sided.


How to create A6 and A7 booklets
You start with a bunch of pages resulting from the TeX files above

How to create A6 and A7 booklets
Cut in half to get a few A5 pieces.

How to create A6 and A7 booklets
And repeat to get A6 slices. Beware! You have to cut to have an A6 booklet consisting of A7 pages, not separate A7 pages!

How to create A6 and A7 booklets
You'll end with a bunch of small groups of 2 pages (4 pages per sheet). Pile them in a way that the numbers are consecutive. Keep in mind that you will be folding in half, thus on the left you will have page 2 and the right side you will have page 79. On top of this you need to have page 3 and page 78 (covering pages 2 and 79), and so on. If you don't get it know, you'll understand it once you have the pages in front of you, don't worry.

How to create A6 and A7 booklets
Once you have them neatly folded in half and piled, place them over a soft cloth and staple them along the spine. I usually get by with 2 staples, but feel free to go with one or add a third or fourth.

How to create A6 and A7 booklets
You are done! Enjoy your pocket reading. If you wish, you can cover in plastic the booklet, it will last longer.

I hope you found this useful. Stay tuned as I will make freely available the pdf files for The Art of War and How to Live on 24 Hours a Day as pdf ebooks and as printable A6 booklets.
Written by Ruben Berenguel