I am a casual TeX user. Mostly I have used it to type up some reports/homeworks for class in my graduate engineering work. In the past I have used document type "article". And then kept all the defaults.

I need to self publish something online. At the highest level I would like to know: How do you setup a TeX document to self publish a book online?

Some more low level questions:

  • Is there a document type for "book" and what is its name?
  • I am looking at Amazon Createspace. Amazon Createspace's requirements are: filetype=pdf, trim size, margins (gutter and outside margins). All of these various trim size, margins gutter/outside can be adjusted in the Tex document?
    • Has anyone seen any good TeX templates for Amazon Createspace?
    • If you could demonstrate how to tweak a specific "book" document type that would be very helpful also.

Other than the above questions, please feel free to offer any other sort of help since I am completely new to this process (advice, links to good tutorials, links to wikibooks).

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    Given @doncherry's links and @MarinScharrer's answer and @barbarabeeton's comment, memoir seems to be more popular followed by scrbook. What are some of "big" differences (i.e. what stands out) between the two? – Trevor Boyd Smith May 31 '11 at 13:58
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    @Raphink gave a great scrbook template. I'd love to see a memoir template too. – Trevor Boyd Smith May 31 '11 at 14:00
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    It's not the turn-key solution you're asking for, but my highest recommendation is to read Peter Wilson's manual for the memoir class (Google memman.pdf). It is not only a technical manual for the class itself, but a wonderful guide to creating top quality books with emphasis on typesetting for optimal readability and style. You will find yourself referencing it again and again. – Timtro Jun 10 '13 at 14:43

Martin gave a full answer with various examples (mentionning book, memoir and scrbook).

When it comes to scrbook, here is an example I have set to fit CreateSpace and Lulu's requirements. I generate US Trade formats (6x9 in):

% US Trade => 6x9
% Paper width
% W = 6in
% Paper height
% H = 9in
% Paper gutter
% BCOR = 0.5in
% Margin (0.5in imposed on lulu, recommended on createspace)
% m = 0.5in
% Text height
% h = H - 2m = 8in
% Text width
% w = W - 2m - BCOR = 4.5in

And here is a similar one which requires a bleed (0.125" on CreateSpace):

% US Trade => 6x9, with a 0.125 bleed
% Adjust images size and gutter so tabs bleed by .125
% See https://www.createspace.com/Products/Book/InteriorPDF.jsp
% Paper width
% W = 6.125in (6+0.125 --- bleed)
% Paper height
% H = 9.25in (9+2*.125 --- bleed)
% Paper gutter
% BCOR = 0.375in (0.5+0.5-0.625 --- margin with bleed)
% Margin (0.5in imposed on lulu, recommended on createspace)
% m = 0.625in (0.5+0.125 --- bleed)
% Text height
% h = H - 2m = 8in
% Text width
% w = W - 2m - BCOR = 4.5in

The rest of the books are quite standard, and really depend on what you want to put in them.

  • Lots of people suggest memoir document type. Is there any chance you could provide a memoir template also (if there is a link to memoir template that works too...)? That way anyone thinking of publishing can check out memoir and scrbook to compare. – Trevor Boyd Smith Jun 6 '11 at 0:16
  • @Trevor: I've never used memoir so I can't provide an example. – ℝaphink Jun 6 '11 at 11:56
  • I added one in a new answer. – WillAdams Aug 30 '13 at 17:51

There are a couple of book classes. The default one is simply called book. Then there is the book class of the Koma script bundle called scrbook which is more suited for European styles IMHO. There is also the memoir class which can be used for books. Some people prefer it because it seems to be highly configurable.

To tweak the margins etc. I would recommend the standard geometry package, at least for book. The scrbook and memoir classes might have some own settings for that.

Should you need some special page format, like a special page size printed on A4 with professional crop marks you can use the crop package. This might be mandatory for print publishing, but for simple PDF online publication this should not be necessary or even wanted.

  • +1 for memoir. it really does provide immense flexibility, and doesn't have the "obviously LaTeX" look that comes from book. a number of publishers have packages with a distinct look; amsbook (included in the "required" LaTeX collection) is one such. – barbara beeton May 31 '11 at 12:40

Here's an MWE for Memoir which is meant to be processed using XeLaTeX. In addition to setting crop marks, it will also properly set the pdf Trimbox which pre-press applications expect:




\AtBeginShipout{\special{pdf: put @thispage <</TrimBox [36.0 36.0 612 810]>>}}
\special{pdf: put @thispage <</TrimBox [36.0 36.0 612 810]>>}

Test\clearpage Test

Verify by turning on the option under Acrobat | Preferences | General | Page Display:

Show art, trim, & bleed boxes

  • I tried your example by running it straight in TeXWorks editor. I tested its PDF output in Adobe Acrobat Pro, and it said that the pdf has issue and to get it check by the person who made the pdf, the pdf produced was not good – Ibn Saeed Feb 6 '15 at 6:13
  • Using what versions of what tools? I just tested the code using: XeTeX, Version 3.1415926-2.5-0.9999.3 (TeX Live 2013) and the .pdf opened up fine in Acrobat Pro X 10.1.13. If you have a problem w/ your setup, update --- if you're up-to-date and still have a problem file a bug report. – WillAdams Feb 6 '15 at 13:48

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