Making a paperback book from a LaTeX file
March 23, 2015 9:31 PM   Subscribe

I need to reformat a LaTeX document: PDF, LaTeX for printing as a paperback

at the Asquith Press Book Printing Service in Toronto.

First: what's the ideal format for a PDF to be printed as a book in this way? In particular, I mean page size, margins, and any other special considerations.

Second: what LaTeX package(s) should I use to accomplish this with this document?

Thank you!
posted by sindark to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think your first stop should be asking this book printing service how the formatting should best be done. Perhaps take a look at other similar books to see what formatting they use.

For the latex details, am I correct in assuming that you didn't write the document yourself? I ask because the code seems relatively sophisticated already, and I'd assume that whoever wrote it would probably not have too much trouble adapting the layout to whatever specifications you end up deciding on.

For laying out margins, page size, etc, the geometry package is good. I see that it is already included in the file. The documentation is here.

Also, I'd suggest asking for further help at the TeX stackexchange site, which is full of experts who love answering TeXnical questions.
posted by number9dream at 9:52 PM on March 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

A printing service that accepts LaTeX files should likely offer a CLS ("class") file that typesets the document per their requirements. Publishers like Springer Verlag and Elsevier do this, for example, so that what you send and what gets rendered follows their style guidelines, so that one SV book looks like another SV book. You might call this class using \documentclass{foo} in your LaTeX file, for instance, where you have foo.cls in your path, somewhere. You might contact your printing service.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 11:26 PM on March 23, 2015

For the latex details, am I correct in assuming that you didn't write the document yourself?

The document has been written by a team, but largely by me, and I have done all the LaTeX stuff.
posted by sindark at 9:52 AM on March 24, 2015

> First: what's the ideal format for a PDF to be printed as a book in this way?

This is totally dependent upon the equipment available. The library's printing service specifies the available sizes. In general, I would go with the "small book" format (5.5 x 8.5 inches/13.97 x 21.59 centimeters), but some of your diagrams seem to be SUPER detailed and they might not be legible even on an 8.5x11" page...

> In particular, I mean page size, margins, and any other special considerations.

Page size should match the dimensions given by the printers, so 13.97x21.59cm for the "small book". Margins will be an issue of taste, but if you're not experienced with design, try leaving larger margins than you're used to -- take a look at some actual printed books for comparison.

Other: you should definitely be using the `book` document class (not article), with the `twoside` option. This will shift the margins to the correct side of the page when printed as a book. If you'll be printing a small book, you'll also probably need to reduce the size of the type and the line spacing. You should remove all color text.

I would personally put all the references at the end in their own section, but this seems to vary by field. When there are multiple references, as on page 44 (206 and 207), I would add a comma between these to make it more typographically clear.

Try to avoid hyphenation in titles, as on page 127.

You are going to have issues with at least some of your diagrams. Some of them are just badly produced to begin with (like the gray-background one on page 54), while others seem to be low resolution in the PDF. If this is just an artifact of the PDF conversion, you should ensure that these are exported at minimum 150DPI, preferably 300DPI for printing. If these were your own diagrams, I would suggest only using colors in diagrams if they are redundant to other features like line style or decorations.

Good luck!
posted by beerbajay at 1:56 PM on March 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

Could anyone suggest syntax for the geometry package to create a 5.5" by 8.5" book?

I am looking at the user manual, and there seem to be a lot of variables to consider.
posted by sindark at 10:10 AM on March 29, 2015

According to this tex stackexchange question, you can set the paper size like so:


posted by beerbajay at 3:39 AM on March 30, 2015

Thanks. I have posted this question on that site too.

We need to have printed versions ready by April 17th, when we will be formally presenting the case for fossil fuel divestment to the president's ad hoc committee.
posted by sindark at 7:22 AM on March 30, 2015

Thanks for the suggestions so far.

I tried making a 'book' class document using some basic settings:

The .tex and .bib have the same filename and location.

As you can see, there are a number of problems.

For one, the document necessarily has some rather long chapter/section titles. This is inevitable, since this document needs to respond directly to particular policies and procedures. Is there a command to get rid of the overly-long headers at the top of pages?

(This is cross-posted at StackExchange)
posted by sindark at 7:17 PM on March 30, 2015

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