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I've been taking up reading some of Sonatype's Maven books, available online, but I find it more relaxing to read on paper rather than on screen.

Still, loose A4 sheets do not bring me close enough to a book reading experience. Aside from ordering a print copy, what can I do to print/bind a PDF to be as close as possible to an actual book?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

I do one of three things, depending on the book:

  • Print to 2-sided A4 and bind in a lever-arch for storage or dedicated (thinner) binder; this works really well for technical books where I can read a single chapter in a small binder, but page chapters back and forth into my lever-arch collection as required
  • Print to 2-sided A5 and bind in a dedicated A5 folder (or 6-hole punch for my A5 organiser which comes everywhere with me). Same benefits as above, although you need A5 paper and a printer that handles it
  • Print to pocketmod format (I use a pstops script in linux). This is brilliant for keeping wallet-sized chapters handy at all times; useful for when you find yourself waiting in a line with time to read but no book.

Also (can you tell I'm an avid reader?) I have a Sony Reader that's always got things on it. Not so good for technical books (PDFs with images/figures/tables are a nightmare), but great for novels. But that's a bit beyond the scope of your question :)

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I've used a comb binder (see comb binding on Wikipedia), with good results. Check at an office supply store. You get your book, with thicker covers, and a spine that's only moderately annoying. It does lay pretty flat, which is an advantage over regular books.

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Got one at work. Not my favorite binding by a long way, but they work. Use a stiff cardboard for bindings to get a more booklike feel. – dmckee Sep 17 '09 at 15:41
Thanks for the answer. I've tried this way, but the printouts are considerably thicker when compared to the book. How do you solve that? – Robert Munteanu Sep 19 '09 at 20:47
Unfortunately, I haven't solved that. It's a second-best solution. – David Thornley Sep 20 '09 at 13:28

You can use an imposition software to impose it as a booklet before printing. You will then be able to print two book pages on one A4 side and with duplexing, 4 book pages on one A4 sheet. Try looking for the words, "free imposition booklet" in Google. At some point I found a print driver addon for Mac OS X which did it on the fly.

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Problem is when there's alot of pages and you fold them together, they wouldn't align. – Pacerier May 17 '12 at 22:36

check out I have used them for several one-copy print jobs and found their services and products to be very reasonable. If i remember correctly they were about 1/5 the price of kinkos.

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I usually print 2-sided, with 2 or 4 pages per side depending on the text size and length of material I am printing (like a chapter). I have been fortunate to always be in the vicinity of a printer that also handles stapling or binding, so this process is automatic as well.

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i'm sure many of you will find this post right-in-the-bull's-eye.

rgrds, alex

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I googled for glue book binding to find a post I'd read years ago about just painting glue onto a stack of printed pages, and instead found many useful-looking DIY approaches. In particular there was a terrific one on a blog named Talk Like a Duck. He uses an inexpensive purchased program to create properly organized, 4 pages to a sheet, booklets that are then assembled into the book. Very well done presentation.

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I assume that this the blog post :… . Thanks. – Robert Munteanu Nov 3 '09 at 15:48

Your local print shop may be able to do VeloBinding. I've found it to be satisfactory for the type of use you're describing.

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