If you are looking for a way to print cheap books for your class of readers, look no further. Booker is a python script that takes your 5.5 inch by 8.5 inch manuscript and creates a saddle stitch ready prepress pdf file that you can use to print on an ordinary printer. All you have to do is edit lines 128 and 121 to reflect your output location. The script was made for Ubuntu Linux so if you wish to use it on Windows you will have to make some simple modifications. Included are a couple shell scripts to get you started with dependancies and the format of the shell line used to invoke the booker script.
The booker script has automatic margin adjustment to make trimming the edges with a guillotine possible while not clipping off the text.
Included with the zip file is the booker script, the shell script helpers, and the "Gospel According to John" in both prepress and original manuscript form. The translation is provided by the World English Bible organization which allows for free distribution.
To download click on this link:
You may wish to refer to the included manuscript in LibreOffice format for how the layout should work. In general you must have your page size to 5.5x8.5". You may wish to examine the book of John manuscript for clues on page style, numbering and margins. You must select duplex printing, long edge, portrait mode output for your printer. Your manuscript must have pages in multiples of 4 or there will be an error. You ought to have a blank page after your title page, and a blank page before your back cover as well. I've used photopaper before for covers with some success but it can get sticky the more it is handled. Construction paper may work better for covers. If you don't have a book press, the whole book can flop open if it has too many pages. For this reason I recommend your page limit to be no more than 72 pages. If you need more pages you could try playing with margins, or shrinking the text. But ultimately to maintain quality books you need a font that more people can read and you may have to split your manuscript into multiple parts.