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A friend of mine writes lots of poems and some of them have even got published in local magazines here. His birthday is coming up and I am thinking of putting all those poems in a book form and giving it to him as gift. I do not have enough money to go to a designer but am willing to spend some time on this. I am looking for tips and links to resources which will help in designing a book.

I am trying to use Paint.Net to design the cover and the content. Then I am trying to use a printer service for getting the book printed in the form of a book.

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The answer depends a lot on what methods you are most comfortable with. Do you plan to carefully hand-copy the poems in a nice script, then hand-bind and cover it? Do you plan to use a one-off printer like lulu.com? If the latter, are you only comfortable using a word processing program or do you want to go so far as to learn a typesetting system such as TeX or LaTeX? –  HedgeMage May 18 '11 at 14:52
    
I am trying to use Paint.Net to design the cover and the content. Then I am trying to use a printer service for getting the book printed in the form of a book. –  manojpcw May 18 '11 at 14:57
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Be warned, if you use a service like Lulu or CreateSpace, you're getting into pretty iffy territory by having things printed which you don't own the rights to. –  Ralph Gallagher May 18 '11 at 16:12
    
Paint.NET is not exactly the best tool for creating books. –  Nick Bedford May 19 '11 at 23:51
    
Perhaps this belongs on Graphic Design? –  Neil Fein May 23 '11 at 21:31
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3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Not sure if you're in the US, UK or somewhere else, but there are quite a few services out there that let you design and create books yourself, and give good guidance on how to get best results. Most provide you with their own software or website interface to help make the process simple and straightforward. Alternatively, you can normally upload a PDF version of your document that meets their guidelines, and they can use that for printing. Here are some for you to look at:

  • Bookemon
  • Blurb (don't get put off by the "photo book" stuff, you can do text only if you wish, and choose pictures for the covers etc.)
  • Lulu.com (likewise, don't get put off about the publishing stuff, you can do private, one-off prints for yourself)

Alternatively (depending on your location), have a look at:

All of them (should) have comprehensive guidelines and help sections on how to construct and format your book. I would suggest deciding on who you'd like to use to print your book first, and then look at their specific guidelines (things like bleed space, what format they want your book in e.g. PDF, and so on) as these may change from printer to printer.

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I am assuming you have already acted on this, but for the benefit of others who might be considering something similar, you can use CreateSpace, which is Amazon's print on demand service, to create a beautiful book with little effort and no cost (aside from the cost of the book itself plus shipping). In addition to that, once you are done, the book will be available for others to buy online. Even if nobody ever buys it, you can say you have a published book out there!

https://www.createspace.com/

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see Ralph's comment to OP: "Be warned, if you use a service like Lulu or CreateSpace, you're getting into pretty iffy territory by having things printed which you don't own the rights to." –  Standback Jul 25 '11 at 13:58
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Your book will be a beautiful gift and of course you want it to look beautiful, too. Here's what many folks do:

  1. Find a book whose design -- trim size, layout, typefaces -- you admire
  2. Adapt the design to fit your idea of a good-looking book
  3. Apply that design to your friend's poems
  4. Print the poems on your laser printer, perhaps using special paper: laid-finish paper is nice for poetry
  5. Find some artwork you like
  6. Print that artwork to use as a cover
  7. Take everything to Staples and have them bind it nicely
  8. Give the book to your friend
  9. Bask in the certain knowledge that you've made your friend's day/month/year
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