Where can I get books printed?
April 23, 2005 7:22 PM   Subscribe

Where can I get books printed?

As a gift idea, I thought it would be neat to grab some of my friends' and families' favorite books from Project Gutenberg and design personalized covers for them. I'm comfortable binding the books and creating covers, but where can I get someone to print the books as a typical paperback would be printed?

I know Cafepress does something similar, but I prefer to do it myself (and save the money).
posted by paulrockNJ to Media & Arts (8 answers total)
Response by poster: I should be more specific. I'm looking to do this myself, at a Kinkos or something similar (I'd rather not have to send away for it), but they don't seem to offer anything like this.
posted by paulrockNJ at 7:28 PM on April 23, 2005

Any commercial printer should be able to take your camera-ready copy (a clean laser printout should be fine), print it, and bind it. However, doing it in small runs would be cost-prohibitive unless you did it via xerography, and in that case it's going to look, well, like a photocopy.

It'd be cheaper to just buy an actual book of the Gutenberg titles in question, published by a real publisher; many of them should be available that way.
posted by kindall at 8:04 PM on April 23, 2005

If you're going to bind it in signatures, you have to divide the text file into signature-size chunks in your page layout program. In MS Publisher and Pagemaker, that means making each signature a separate file.

Then you can take the files to Kinko's or whereever and have them printed in a duplexing printer.

There may be software that will do the layout in a sequence of signatures, but I don't know of it.

I use MS Publisher (ick!) because that's what I have. It's a lot of manual layout work, but it isn't too difficult. I do have a duplexing printer and do the rest of the binding myself. Mostly I do single signature saddle-stitched pamphlets, but I have done multiple signature books for a friend who does the bookbinding.

If you're doing perfect binding, it's just a question of duplex printing, since you just trim the pages and don't fold into signatures.
posted by warbaby at 8:35 PM on April 23, 2005

Several of the Unix PostScript and PDF handling utilities (e.g. PSUtils) have options for reorganizing a file so that it will be arranged in signatures after printing.

Though "a typical paperback" is usually perfect-bound instead of sewn in signatures. Copy shops sometimes do perfect bindings; you could try calling around to some of the non-Kinko's in your area to see if they do that.
posted by hattifattener at 11:04 PM on April 23, 2005

How to Be Your Own Publisher
In the past decade, technology has made it possible to print books one copy at a time, ushering in a new era. Now, with the industry in flux, self-publishers are losing their stigma. [New York Times | April 24, 2005]
posted by ericb at 6:34 AM on April 24, 2005

If your nearest Kinko's doesn't do it, ask them if another Kinko's does perfect binding. When I worked at Kinko's we had to send perfect bound stuff to the biggest one in town to get it done.
posted by sugarfish at 9:31 AM on April 24, 2005

Boyd Printing in Albany, NY does a great job on small run "vanity" printing ... good prices too.
posted by luriete at 2:33 PM on April 24, 2005

Check out lulu.com. I'm considering using them for a vanity comic I've drawn...
posted by jpburns at 2:35 PM on April 24, 2005

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