Creating a simple book to give to friends
August 17, 2015 7:34 AM   Subscribe

My dad, before his death, came up with a series of Jack Handy-style quips that he wanted to be made into a book to give away to friends and family. He also envisioned some line-art comics to go with some of the pages. How/where do I design this? Where do I get a thing like this printed?

I want to make a keepsake book out of these jokes for my dad's family and friends, as he requested I do. It can be hardcover, softcover, pretty much any resonable size, would prefer color print but black and white might be doable. Pretty sure it would be 50 pages or less. Probably about 50 copies total. I might want to include a few photos of him and/or friends on some back pages, but that is not a requirement at all. Priority is first on the text, next on the comics, last on any extras. I have no idea what something like this might cost per piece, but let's assume the budget is unlimited and I'll peruse any/all options.

Assuming I have all of the words I want printed, and all of the images I want to use (I plan on commissioning some art from an artist online), how do I design and create this book? Should I use something like Photoshop, or are there services that I could use a web app to plan this out? I thought maybe a service like Shutterfly could do this, even though it's primarily print and not photos, but I'm not sure. There must be a specialized service that I am incorrectly Googling for and not finding.

I just want to make a nice-looking little book for people to remember my dad's goofy sense of humor by.
posted by rachaelfaith to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
iPhoto has great templates for putting stuff like this together in a nice package.
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:43 AM on August 17, 2015 might be a good option for you. This sounds like a lovely project - best of luck with it!
posted by torridly at 7:56 AM on August 17, 2015

Photoshop is not a page layout program. In fact, if your artist is any good you shouldn't have to run their work through Photoshop at all.

On the Mac, Pages would allow you to do a book like this fairly easily, although if you have InDesign or know somebody who does, that's the professional tool of choice for page layout.

Either way, if you've never done a book layout before and are willing to spend a little cash, you could hire someone to do it, and they would look into the printing as well.
posted by zadcat at 7:59 AM on August 17, 2015

Response by poster: Sorry, forgot to specify my tech specs. I have a terribly old MacBook that probably couldn't run iPhoto and has trouble turning on, but I could give it a go. I have a monster desktop PC that I built that has Windows 7 (and is mid-upgrade to Windows 10), and a good laptop with Windows 7. I have beginner-to-moderate skills with photo editing programs, but for this project, would prefer not to have to use them much, if at all.
posted by rachaelfaith at 8:00 AM on August 17, 2015

Print shops around here do hardback binding for thesis presentations, although 50 pages might be a bit thin (the hardcover would be as thick - if not more - than the pages). Vanity/Self-publishing companies also might do the job.

I think most places these days accept a properly formatted (paper size, margins) PDF file, and work from there. To do the layout, you can use any modern-ish word processor, (more than capable of WYSIWYG editing). Set page size and margins according to what the place you're doing it recommends, dump the text in the file, then start stylizing the text, adding images, page breaks, etc.
posted by lmfsilva at 8:01 AM on August 17, 2015

Best answer: I made a similar book of my great-grandmother's stories and illustrations using It turned out great.
posted by something something at 8:15 AM on August 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

Best answer: is excellent. they have a standalone tool for creating books... as well as a cloud version.

there are templates for different sizes and types of books.
posted by bobdow at 8:21 AM on August 17, 2015

Best answer: nthing They have great templates and the books we've ordered from them are very good quality.
posted by bedhead at 8:37 AM on August 17, 2015

Try Walgreen's. I did something similar for a friend, creating a photo book using Walgreen's Photo. They have an online site for uploading and laying out your photos and text, and once you're done you can have it shipped to you, or if you're not willing to wait a couple days for shipping, you can have it printed at the nearest store in about an hour. They have different templates, styles and color schemes so you can make it your own. My project, like yours, was more text than photos, and it was no problem at all. You can add text anywhere on the page, and adjust font size and style to your liking. I recommend having a first draft printed before finalizing it - I found the page margins varied a little between the on-screen image and real life. Other than that it was easy, flexible, and not too expensive.
posted by mama penguin at 6:03 PM on August 17, 2015 by Amazon) can do on demand printing (probably under $10 for what tie describing). For layout I recommend grabbing a copy of Microsoft Publisher. If you have experience with graphics programs and the Office suite you should have no problem figuring it out.
posted by pyro979 at 8:28 PM on August 17, 2015

Best answer: I would use Blurb as well, especially if you don't have graphic design and layout experience.
posted by shazzam! at 10:06 PM on August 17, 2015

Response by poster: Blurb it is! Already downloaded their BookWright program and have started to lay out pages. Thanks, all!
posted by rachaelfaith at 6:05 AM on August 18, 2015

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