Preset format for Hardcover Binding

Hi, I am new to Scrivener so please excuse this question of already answered.

I am a writer of Fiction and Non-Fiction as well as a do hand-bookbinding of antiquarian books. I am looking for a preset for printing my books in “Signatures” for a hardcover binding that makes up a hand bound book. In addition to the standard formatting options of Font, Type Style, etc., I am looking to have the ability to choose Hardcover format (in addition to e-book, Novel, etc.) that prints the pages in the order required to make up the “Signatures” of the book that I bind together.

For those not familiar with “Signatures”, A signature is a group of pages (8,10, … 16, … pages) that are printed front and back with two pages per side in a specific order so that the pieces of paper are folded in the middle and then sewn together in a group (or signature) with the pages in the proper numbered sequence. Signatures are then sewn together in the appropriate sequence to make the completed volume.

An example is: A single piece of paper has pages 1 and 16 on one side and pages 2 and 15 on the other. The next piece of paper would have pages 3 and 14 on one side and 4 and 13 on the other, and so on until you have a complete 1st signature printing of all 16 pages on 4 pieces of paper in the appropriate sequence that are then folded together in a single group. This is done for all pages and the resulting number of grouped pages (Signatures) are then sewn together to make the complete volume.

Simply put, it is just reordering the pages so they are collated appropriately for the sewing process.

This feature would be very useful for anyone wanting to print off Hardcover special editions of their work and have them leather bound for example. I have looked but I can’t seem to find any reference to this particular need. Is this currently available?

Thank you,
David Porter

You might not need Scrivener to do that. It looks like the URL below has a product that does Imposition printing, which includes signature order. Not sure if it is shareware, as it doesn’t mention a license price.

There’s no way Scrivener is going to do imposition for you — and I doubt if it ever will — as that is a job either for high-end layout software or for specialised imposition software. Also, if you’re wanting to produce high-quality, leather bound volumes, I suggest you should compile to RTF and then run that through a word-processor or page layout program which will let you tweak all the metrics — margins, hyphenation, leading, kerning, etc. — more finely than compile will do.

As for imposition, you will want software which will not only produce the signatures, but will also handle creep. On the signature, each inner-leaf will protrude slightly further in relation to the outer-leaf, which will have to be trimmed off before binding — particularly noticeable on a 16-page signature — and the outside margin of each page has to be adjusted by the equivalent amount so that when the volume is bound, they all line up. That’s too much to ask for in a program intended for producing the text, not the layout.

I have used an app called “CheapImpostor” — $35 from — on Mac, which is fast, handles creep, and merely requires single-page PDFs as input. I looked at the Devalipi website … it may be good, it may be cheap, but I don’t know because I’m suspicious of software companies that don’t tell you how much it’s going to cost until you’ve got into the purchase mode, rather than telling you upfront. If you want to do it on Windows, there’s the Devalipi program Merovech points you to, and there may be others, but I don’t know.

Mr X

Thank you both for the great information and suggestions. I didn’t know this standalone software was available a small time binder and at a price I could afford. I looked at the Divalipi website and from the information on the site it looks like what I want to do. They also have a BookMaker program that is listed as a stripped down version. Have you worked with this product? They also have trial downloads that I will try but I have to admit I am kind of paranoid about downloads and malware.

I am also going to look at CheapImposter as well since the price is in my range as a amateur binder, as well as do some research on Google. Creep and additional functionality is certainly a concern. I thought i would have to deal with that manually within the software per page.

You have both put me onto something that will be very helpful. Much appreciated. If you think of any other things to consider please let me know. I am always looking for an improved way to do things.
Thanks again.


One additional question: Does anyone have any thoughts on the printing process in regards to printing the book on archival materials? (Acid Free Paper, a printing process like inkjet or laser that will hold up over time and yet be affordable for a small shop?)
Thank you,

No personal experience, but I would have thought that:

  • there would be no difference printing on acid-free paper than other papers
  • laser printing would have better permanency than ink-jet, but if you want to print in colour, dye sublimation — or whatever it’s called — would give the best results, but that would come down to cost.
  • whatever printing technology you opt for, you’ll probably save yourself a lot of trouble by using a duplex printer, and within that the best you can afford.

I really think you should go to a professional print shop and ask there about these matters.

Mr X

Thank you for the input. I will ask around to see if anyone has experience with this. The issue I am concerned about is longevity of the print. If I am understanding inkjet archival quality correctly, it is interpreted as guaranteed to last 20 to 100 years which would concern me if I were doing a high quality leather binding and the print starts to fade after 20 years.
Still need more discovery on this.
Thanks for the help.

Are there inkjet printers around that deal with signatures? Are there inkjet printers that can print duplex?

In answer to your second question, I’m sure that there is a number. I have a Canon MP640 inkjet (now probably replaced by a more up-to-date model) which prints duplex. Whether it does so with the precision required for dealing with signatures I don’t know; its precision is good enough for my purposes, and it seems to print accurately, but that may not be enough for the purposes described above. I’ve noticed that in my local computer store there are, as well as several different models of inkjet duplex Canons, inkjet duplex printers under the Epson brand, and possibly also HP, but again as far as I know their marketing doesn’t suggest whether they’re designed to handle signatures.

David, no experience. I recognized the challenge you had and did a little googling about. I’m also not seeing anything that suggests Divalipi has malware, but you should have a good antivirus app running regardless.

Would love to know what your final choice is and why it was that choice. I’m sure someday somebody else will be looking for the same features.

I have a Brother inkjet that prints duplex, so there are plenty around. You can print on a non-duplex printer — I did that in China — but you have to make sure you know how the paper must be turned for the specific printer, as they do differ as to which side they print on and the direction, and pay careful attention while doing the printing.

As for printing for signatures, that is the reason for using dedicated imposition software, as that repaginates the image to print the pages in the right order and to adjust the image position for printing to deal with creep. Furthermore, Cheap Impostor has settings to cope with printers that have imbalanced non-printing areas. What I don’t know, since it’s some time since I used it, is whether it can also cope for creep on different weights of paper. I imagine the low-cost offering from Divalipi will probably be similar — their top-end software will almost certainly do every thing, but I guess it’s very expensive.

Mr X

The Epson WF-3640 wireless inkjet does duplexing. From what they say, CheapImposter does handle the Creep issue and should also allow for me to define the number of pages in a signature,but I’ll only know after I test it out. I can’t imagine the printing would be so erratic that precision would be an issue but you know what they say about assuming…

My biggest concern is the ink and how long the impression stays on the page. I have an ancient single sheet manual press that when you take the time to set the type and roll on the ink, that print will last forever… and that’s how long it would take me to print a book. I am sure the ink is a special formula to be able to work with an inkjet and I just seem to find definitive information on how long a book will last. A Perfect Binding paperback is meant to last any time at all, so longevity isn’t an issue. But a leather bound book should be a guaranteed heirloom. Hmmm, with the new 3D printers I wonder if you could print a pop-up book? :wink:

Anyway, thank to all for the great discussion.

Sorry, in regards to a previous post:
“Would love to know what your final choice is and why it was that choice. I’m sure someday somebody else will be looking for the same features.”
I will try to keep you posted as I go through this and test a few things out. It just seems like it would be a natural inclusion for Scrivener to go with the other formats like Novel, E-book, Kindle, etc. If authors are using Scrivener to print the novel for submission, or format for Kindle or e-book, they are already going the extra mile to see their work in print or on-screen. I am sure every one of them would love to have a special leather bound copy for their own bookcase. Even if it’s just one copy for themselves. They have put a lot of themselves into it.These are their creations, their “Darlings” that they are proud of and should have the ability to have at least one special presentation copy.
Ok, I am off my soapbox…