I'm looking to reprint and publish older religious books from the 19th century and earlier.

Such books usually have features not typically found in most books, and I'm finding it difficult to manually reproduce them using plain LaTeX features.


  1. The entire book is divided into multiple "books"
  2. Each book has a heading above its first chapter, similar to a chapter heading
  3. The \title{} of the entire book is also displayed above the first \book{} heading
  4. Certain paragraphs are numbered incrementally, similar to Bible verses
  5. Sometimes the "verse" markers are in the margin instead of inline with the text (not depicted below)
  6. Standard margin sizes for paperback books of e.g. 6" x 9"

To clarify point #3, if the overall book was called "Imitation of Christ", i.e. \title{Imitation of Christ}, and was divided into 4 untitled "books" (i.e. via \book{}), then the top of the first page with book content should say "Imitation of Christ", the next line should say "Book 1", the next line should say "Chapter 1".

To give a concrete example of all these points, take these two versions of the same page:

sample pages

Are there any packages which specifically help with any of these, or ought they each to be solved manually using less specific packages?

I'm currently using memoir and microtype.

  • 2
    If you're already using memoir I think you have everything you need to replicate this kind of style. If you're having trouble with particular aspects of the formatting, create a minimal document that shows what you are doing and I'm sure people can help you.
    – Alan Munn
    Aug 24 '15 at 16:10
  • @AlanMunn But memoir doesn't have any concept of dividing a book into "books". It seems I'd either have to write my own, or use chapter as book and section as chapter, rewriting a lot of code so that the wording is accurate and the Table of Contents is styled correctly. Or maybe something else entirely, I don't know.
    – Steven
    Aug 24 '15 at 16:13
  • Look at Chapter 6 of the memoir manual. memoir has \book, \part and \chapter divisions. So all you need to do is define their format as you want.
    – Alan Munn
    Aug 24 '15 at 16:27
  • @AlanMunn Excellent, I did not find that in my manual until now. Do you also know of some term I can search for that helps with "verse numbering" of specific paragraphs which show in the margin? I searched the manual for "verse" and did not find anything relevant.
    – Steven
    Aug 24 '15 at 16:31
  • 1
    Besides Alan’s excellent suggestions, you may find ideas in the liturg package and, to a lesser extent, in ecclesiastic and catechis. And, of course, bibleref is always useful.
    – Thérèse
    Aug 24 '15 at 23:51

The memoirclass provides automatically \book and \chapter divisions, so the main issue is setting up the formatting to the way you like them. Verses in the bible are functionally equivalent to sections, so you can use the \section for your verses. But since you can rename commands easily, you can create a \verse command that is \section underneath, and keep the markup semantic.

Here's a mockup of the Bible to get you started. Since it is likely that you will be using nice fonts, I would compile this with XeLaTeX or LuaLaTeX, which allows you to use any OpenType or TrueType font on your system. (Make sure your source file is UTF-8 encoded.)

The standard \book command starts a new page, so you would need to change that appropriately. I haven't added anything for the header/footer, but you should be able to do that yourself by following the memoir manual.

The code the the margin number is adapted from the memoir manual. I have added code in the \printbooktitle command to save the name of the book so that it can be reused in the \chapter formatting. Finally by using \let\verse\section we can keep the markup semantic: \verse is now identical to whatever \section.

% !TEX encoding = UTF-8 Unicode
% !TEX TS-program = XeLaTeX
% due to a bug in memoir (as of 2015/8/24) [twoside] option will give a spurious space
% this will be fixed as memoir gets updated
\renewcommand*{\printbooktitle}[1]{\gdef\thebooktitle{#1}\booktitlefont #1}
\renewcommand*{\printchapternum}{\chapnumfont\thebooktitle\ \thechapter}
   \parbox[t][0pt]{6em}{\bfseries\huge\raggedleft\leavevmode #1}}
\verse{}In the beginning God created the heavens
and the earth. Now the earth was formless and
empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep,
and the Spirit of God was hovering over the

And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was
light. God saw that the light was good, and he
separated the light from the darkness. God called
the light ‘day’, and the darkness he called
‘night’. And there was evening, and there was
morning – the first day.

And God said, ‘Let there be a vault between the
waters to separate water from water.’ So God made
the vault and separated the water under the vault
from the water above it. And it was so. God called
the vault ‘sky’. And there was evening, and there
was morning – the second day.

And God said, ‘Let the water under the sky be
gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.’
And it was so. God called the dry ground ‘land’,
and the gathered waters he called ‘seas’. And God
saw that it was good.


\verse{} Thus the heavens and the earth were
completed in all their vast array.

By the seventh day God had finished the work he
had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested
from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh
day and made it holy, because on it he rested from
all the work of creating that he had done.


enter image description here enter image description here

  • Thanks! I was not expecting this comprehensive of an answer, pleasantly surprised. However, there seems to be one difference in your answer from my question. In my point #3, I meant if the book was called "Imitation of Christ" and was comprised of 4 untitled sections, or "books", then "Imitation of Christ" would be at the top, followed by "Book 1" under it, followed by "Chapter 1" etc.. I'll edit my question to clarify this.
    – Steven
    Aug 25 '15 at 17:28
  • @sdegutis yes your question was clear but as I mentioned in my answer the standard heading for \book in memoir makes a new page. But this can be can be changed. I just wanted to show what you can do already with the class.
    – Alan Munn
    Aug 25 '15 at 18:58

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