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I found a very interesting book design in the TeX showcase (pp.pdf/pp.tex):

http://www.tug.org/texshowcase/

  • Does the source really have enough information inside to produce such nice formating?
  • Can this format be readily applied to a LaTeX document?
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2 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Does the source really have enough information inside to produce such nice formating?

No it hasn't. It contains just the mark up and neither the drop-capital image, nor the corresponding style. The font is missing as well.

Can this format be readily applied to a LaTeX document?

What do you exactly mean by readily? As it is, without any changes? Then the answer is no. But I'm quite confident that a similar result can as well be achieved using LaTeX markup.

A header to roughly obtain the format of the book might be the following:

%\usemodule [simplefonts]
%\setmainfont [Jenson] % I don't have Jenson

\usemodule [lettrine]  % For the drop cap

\definepapersize [custom] [width=152mm, height=229mm]
\setuppapersize  [custom]

% Blindly guessed
\setuplayout
    [
        backspace=2.8cm,
        width=9cm,
        height=18cm,
        location=doublesided,
    ]

\setupindenting     [yes, small]
\setuppagenumbering [location=bottom, alternative=doublesided]
\setupbodyfont      [10pt]
\setuphead          [chapter] [number=no, align=middle, header=empty]

% Needs to be fixed with proper markup
\setupheadertexts
    [\midaligned{\italic\getmarking[chapter]}] []
    [] [\midaligned{\sc Pagan Papers}]

\starttext

\chapter{A Bohemian in Exile}

\midaligned{\sc A Reminiscence}
\blank

% I don't have this image
%\placefigure[left]{none}{\externalfigure[w20]}

% Compensate for missing drop cap
\lettrine [Lines=4] {W}{ hen}
many years ago now, the once potent and extensive kingdom of…
[…]
\stoptext

This should just considered to be a starting point. The markup of the source should be improved and properly divided into chapters/sections, to make the correct phrases appear in the headers.

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  • No, it seems like a part of a larger project, it doesn't even have \starttext...\stoptext, and non of the style used is present in the file either, so I think it is by it self is pretty useless and tells nothing.
  • I've no idea
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