15

I find the standard book class, and others like tufte or memoir, a little "sad" in the end. I mean, look at technical books at a library: they have fancy headers, colors, graphics at page borders, chapter numbers moved around artistically, and the like. They also have what docbook calls "admonitions": little boxes decorated with "warning" or "info" icons. The list can go on further.

I always expected that there would be a flourishing "market" for such classes, but I cannot find much on the web.

Now, I know you can write your own class, but I really don't feel like, for several reasons:

  • I am really bad at graphics and the like
  • I think a writer should focus on contents, and it's already difficult to master latex as it is
  • a class made by someone expert would better meet the "standard" criteria for a good readability

Thank you very much for your attention

EDIT: not that there are not some good classes, but I'd expect you could find hundreds or more, so you can choose the one you like most, and not having every book in the world look the same. There are abundance of choices for less useful things, like desktop themes or worse...

  • 3
    Maybe you can find something here: latextemplates.com – DG' Sep 20 '13 at 7:27
  • @DG' Thank you. I saw that site, but if you go to "books" section they only have two classes. I'm really surprised you cannot find hundreds or thousands of them, after all latex is the best and most used tool to write books (citation needed :-) – m.alessandrini Sep 20 '13 at 7:32
  • 2
    Both memoir and the KOMA-Script classes allow for high customization. With both » fancy headers, colors, graphics at page borders, chapter numbers moved around« are possible (see tex.stackexchange.com/a/94703/5049 for an example). And there are many different possibilities to define boxes with little icons... – clemens Sep 20 '13 at 8:01
  • 1
    @cgnieder Thanks. I agree, but "high customization" falls in the same problems of defining your own class. It's a big effort, where you have to learn many things you will probably use never again. – m.alessandrini Sep 20 '13 at 8:06
  • 9
    @m.alessandrini I think you have to remember here that book design is hard, and most of the examples you are thinking of are commercial books which presumably cost significant amounts to put together. As such, it's unlikely you'll find them 'in the wild'. – Joseph Wright Sep 20 '13 at 8:38
14

The problem for rich book templates is that this template must have just the features what you need, nothing more, nothing less. This is very difficult to obtain in practice, when the election is a matter of taste. A rich class or book template could be useless for general use if everybody want to customize it. Even is you find the perfect template, soon or later you will notice that it was already used by a lot of people, so you will try to do something different to be an original guy, but then probably is better start painting on a blank canvas that correct that was already painted.

The exception are the academic environments, where the usually abhorrent taste from some academic authority that issued a standard style have priority, no matter your personal taste. Consequently, there a lot of thesis templates out there.

Another exception may be the highly specialized books, where the main priority is not the originality but the ease of writing the contents for a very defined format, that could be rich or not. An example are the cookbooks (see A cookbook in LaTeX?) that ideally could have a attractive format, and the opposite are the screen­plays class that are intentionally (?) spartans.

Nonetheless, to the list of the standard book class, memoir, scrbook (Koma-Script), and tufte-book you can add the class bookest:

\documentclass[logo,guitgreen]{bookest}
\setlogooptions{width=2cm}
\usepackage{graphicx}
\usepackage{mwe}       % for the example logo
\usepackage{blindtext} % tor the example text
\title{A Bookest Example}
\author{The Author (that's me)\\[1cm] 
\inslogo{example-image-a}}
\begin{document}
\maketitle\thispagestyle{empty}
\tableofcontents
\Blinddocument
\end{document}

MWE

And octavo for pocketbooks:

\documentclass[titlepage]{octavo}
\usepackage{blindtext} % tor the example text
\title{An Octavo Example}
\author{The Author}
\begin{document}
\maketitle
\tableofcontents
\Blinddocument
\end{document}

MWE2

And caesar_book, for (science) textbooks or theses. This class remember the tufte-book because the use of margins for notes, cites, tables and figures (the source code is in caesar_example.tex):

MWE

  • caesar_book is very good class for books. Nice Fran – sandu Apr 2 '14 at 9:35
3

One of the most refined "all-in-one" classes for books I have seen is ClassicThesis. It is inspired by Bringhurst’s "The Elements of Typographic Style" and it seems to me it is exactly what you are looking for.

One of the problems of this kind of class though is that you either love the style, out-of-the-box, or when you want to change something you have to learn a lot of the design behind the class to implement the change. This is worthwhile if you plan to use the class a lot and you are overall satisfied with the style it generates.

  • Thanks, I'll give it a try. I fully agree with what you say about classes, that's why I wish there were many to choose from. Maybe we're accustomed to having many free choices in other software fields, with latex I feel like I have a Ferrari and no roads. – m.alessandrini Sep 20 '13 at 10:52
  • I looked at the examples coming with ClassicThesis, I don't find it a lot more "fancy" than the predefined one. – m.alessandrini Sep 20 '13 at 11:22
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    you see, one of the problems with this question is that good design is often only done properly on a per-document basis. Eventually if overused any nice style will grow old and not look fancy enough to your eyes. I agree though that more offer for predefined styles would be beneficial. – Bordaigorl Sep 20 '13 at 12:09
0

Perhaps what you need is not a sole class but a combination of packages (for example fancychap for the nice chapter titles, bclogo for fancy boxes etc.). It is easier than writing your own class and offers you an quasi-infinite number of possibilities and customizations.

  • Hi, thanks, this is a valid approach, and maybe the only one available, but then you have to do all the graphic design by yourself, and if you're not a graphic or a publisher, the results will most likely be ugly. Think how nice would be picking a class you like and focus on the contents only (in the pure spirit of latex, by the way). – m.alessandrini Sep 20 '13 at 9:24
  • I think this, rather than selection from pre-existing “themes,” is the best approach. Publishing houses which use the same few templates for all books may produce texts students can afford, but they give the eyes no pleasure. The design of a book is best worked out by a designer who has familiarized himself with its content and has good judgment about what fits that content. Still, if you want to be your own designer, you will be able to re-use at least pieces of what you learn while working on one project, unless no unifying thread runs through your work. – Thérèse Sep 20 '13 at 10:50
0

I'm not sure where you can find a list of all of the book classes; bookest was one I didn't know about. But here's a list of others I have found:

  • book
  • memoir
  • scrbook
  • basque-book
  • serbian-book
  • bgteubner
  • suftesi
  • mwcls (mwbk)
  • tufte-latex
  • Mentis
  • NGT-class (book) (Dutch latex document class)
  • Jura (jurabook)

Are there others?

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