I've got a template for a book that uses the scrbook koma script class. My output pdf is several hundred pages. Before submitting to the print on demand company (CreateSpace, they use true to size pages from the pdf submittal) I'd like to print test copies of the pdf just for myself and friends, from my printer at home. It uses letter size paper, 8.5" X 11" sheets.

My pdf pages are all 7.81" X 5.06" (a standard size in the book business) designed for two-sided printing, right and left pages on odd and even page numbers, with extra space in the center for binding together.

I use the "Kubuntu 14.04" linux operating system, and thought there'd be an easy way to configure the output so that each page shows up as two pages on one front side of the sheet, and two pages on the back side. Then, when I fold the page in half, like a book, I'd have 8.5 X 5.5 folded halves of each sheet, and that should be more than enough room to fit the pdf's 7.81 X 5.06 pages.

Starting at page 1, the Front Side of the first sheet, before folding, would have (in landscape) on the Left Side pg 4, on the Right Side pg 1. The Back Side of the sheet would have on the Left Side pg 2, on the Right Side pg 3.

The Front side of the Second sheet, before folding, would have (in landscape) on the Left Side pg 8, on the Right Side pg 5. The Back Side of the sheet would have on the Left Side pg 6, on the Right side pg 7.

I'd repeat this until more than several hundred pdf pages are printed out on 8.5 X 11 sheets, front and back side. If you look at a folded sheet of letter size paper, the sequence of pages above makes sense. And then I'd 3-hole punch the center area and stack them into a 3 ring binder, and it will be pretty thick.

But in Kubuntu (and all the other Linux alternatives I've tried) I can't figure out how to change the printer output to do that. Is there a LaTeX package, or way to add a few lines to the Preamble, or an open source pdf application like Ocular that can be configured to print the way I want? I don't want to change the preamble to the point that I can't revert back to my CreateSpace print on demand format, so if it's a good bit of scripting, then I'd like to use an \input{myPrinterOptions} file and put the LaTeX script in it, and %comment the line out as needed.

2 Answers 2


I do not have enough reputation for commenting, so I will write this as an answer, although it would be more suitable as a comment.

I think the application you are looking for is pdfbook (https://www.ctan.org/tex-archive/support/pdfbook). This application scales the pdf pages so that two of them fit onto one page and sorts them appropriately.

Usage from the command line is straight forward: in the simplest case the command is pdfbook <input> where <input> stands for the pdf file of your book and pdfbook will create the file <input>-book.pdf which is suitable for printing a booklet.


In the middle ages, a collection of pages of this sort was known as a "quire" or a "gathering". Often, however, a quire would consist of 16 "pages" made up of 8 "sheets", but this was by no means universally true, even within a single volume. Using only 4 is possible, of course.

pdfpages can help with this. Simply include dummy.tex in quire.tex




% quire.tex
% using '16' for the sake of tradition, but any multiple of '4' is possible
\includepdf[pages=-, signature=16, landscape]{dummy.pdf}

You may need to tweak the dimensions and so on, but as you didn't provide any code, I leave that part of the exercise to you.

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