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Creating and Printing a Book with Your Home PC

Updated on December 1, 2016

Introduction to printing your book

This hub is the second in a series of hubs devoted to printing and binding your books at home with your home computer and printer and using your homemade jig to bind your book after it is printed.

This hub will cover the set-up of your page layout to print and the process of setting up your inkjet printer to output printed pages. In order to create a model that can be used for most projects, I will use a book project containing 150 pages and measuring 5 inches wide and 8 inches tall. This layout will be for a novel but you can change the layout anyway you wish as long as you use the basic margin allowances for each page.

You may also consult your word process program manual for instructions in how to create a multi page document with page numbers and odd even pages. 


This is a sample layout of facing pages

This is a sample layout of a novel. Note the measurements. Use these to set up your own  book.
This is a sample layout of a novel. Note the measurements. Use these to set up your own book.

Setting up your book to print

After you have your book set up in your word process program and your pages are ready to print, you will go to print page set-up and set the size of your paper in the dialogue box under user defined. Another box will show up and you will enter the right size of your book (note: check print preview to make sure the proper size is selected.)

A note about paper: I suggest you use 24lb inkjet with a brightness of at least 96, that is rated for two sided printing. If you are going to print color, you may want to use 32 lb stock. You can go green and use recycled paper! To get your paper cut to size, you can do it yourself with a small paper cutter, a few pages at a time, or some office copy shop centers will cut a ream of paper to size for a small charge.

When you print your book, I suggest you print a section of 10 or 15 pages at a time. You can set a page range in the print dialog box. This is in case you run into any problems. Most printers can set up to collate. If you should happen to have a printer that does two sided printing, I would follow the directions in your printer manual. If your printer does not do double sided printing, I have created a printing diagram to show you how to print on both sides by just flipping over the odd printed pages and print your even pages.

This printing process may take some practice. In order to save on ink, I would print some test pages first to make sure everything is coming out as it should. Make sure to pay attention to your pages as they print. Check page numbers to see that they are in proper order.

Note: if you want to figure out how much ink you will use, by my own experience, I have printed a 320 page 8" x 5" novel with 1/3rd cartridge of ink. That means you can probably print about 4 to 6 - 150 page books with a single black ink cartridge using the text only setting, maybe more, depending on how much black area you print.

Printing two sided pages

Printing your book

Take your time and do not rush the printing process. Once you get it down, printing additional books will become easier with more practice. You may have an occasional jam or pages might come out blank in between. Always make sure to fan your paper well before inserting into printer. I would not load more than 30 or 40 pages at once. Check out your printed pages and make sure the page numbers are in order and you have the even pages in sequence with your left hand pages. You may want to start out your printing by choosing a small project at first and work your way up to a larger book.

The illustration below shows you a double page example of a novel I printed recently which will give you an idea of what your book might look like. Again take your time, be patient and follow instructions and you can print a book yourself and bind it with your own homemade binding jig featured in my first hub. 

An opening chapter page from a printed novel

This is the opening first chapter page of Dark Sabbath, my fourth novel. 334 pages
This is the opening first chapter page of Dark Sabbath, my fourth novel. 334 pages

A final note about book printing

This is just a brief guide showing you how to to get started in book printing. Use your own imagination and ingenuity to advance your skills and knowledge of book printing. If you have any questions about this process, please feel free to send me an e-mail and I will try to give you the best advice I can.

After you print your first book, you are invited to visit my next Hub page regarding laying out, printing and attaching your book cover, which will be coming up soon. In addition, I will be offering tutorials on creating different kinds of books. In the following weeks, I will be adding hub pages to offer advice on how to write your first novel. Good luck with your book project!


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      Andre Franklin 3 years ago

      My sister has actually been wanting to get some books printed that she's been working on for a little while now. From the information here, it doesn't look like the printing is going to be too difficult. Though, I can only really see this being useful if you're only printing off a couple books at most. More than that, and I feel like it might be more beneficial to find someone to print it and put it together for you.

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      davidspyle 9 years ago

      Great job, John. Thanks!