Finally: Book #87

My father’s memoir, published previously in PDF format and available under Family Stories is now a 200 page bound book. I’ve been working on it, with some detours, since January. First I decided to make this book a codex, that is, a normal bound book. Sounds simple and it could be if you know how many pages the book will have. A codex has signatures, sheets of paper folded in half and sewn together. Depending on paper thickness and how you fold your signature you might have from four to ten sheets of paper. (Commercially published books can have different specifications.)


I have ten signatures in the book. Each one has five sheets folded in half to create twenty pages. Now all I had to do was properly arrange the text, which I took from the PDF. Not so simple. In the PDF one page simply follows another. With signatures page 1 will be on the left of one sheet of paper, page 2 will be on right of the next sheet that will become the other side of page 1. Page 3 will be on the left of the next sheet, page 4 on the right. There will be 10 sheets to print front and back creating 20 pages. Page 21 will begin on the next signature. To complicate things a bit more, I wanted to use the inside fold of each signature (page 10-11) to display large drawings or photographs.

Here are the front and back covers of the book. Although my father was trained as a draftsman and did wonderful drawings, he made a living selling chickens to restaurants.




I never photographed my father driving the truck. In these pictures my husband who ran the business briefly after my father had a heart attack is driving.

The PDF I created originally had 114 pages. I knew I would have more pages, if for no other reason than the book is smaller, but I didn’t know exactly where I would end. To make it more complicated, if I was using a five sheet signature, I would have to end on a multiple of 20. That’s a big part of why it took so long. And at least one month was occupied with fixing mistakes. I added as many of his drawings as I could find and many old family photographs. Here is a slide show of some of the pages.


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I laid out the book using Adobe InDesign. It is printed on an Epson printer with Epson Presentation Matte, 8.5 x 14 inches and folded to 8.5 x 7. Finished volume is slightly larger. Cover is printed on Super Max text covering book board and bound with commercial book cloth.

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