Here is a masterclass from a teacher on how to print your Book Creator ebook and get a professional finish.
I have been making printed versions of books made with Book Creator on an iPad for many years. The app produces a really decent file for hard copy printing.
First thing to realise is that your video and sound files won’t work on paper. I know that sounds silly but people sometimes get upset when they first realise this. What you do get is a paper book which looks like it was purchased from a bookstore – it looks so professional.
So, how do you make it? Here are the steps that I use to create a file that will be ‘print ready’. This example will be a collaboratively written book as this is a great way to make your first book as a classroom teacher. It is much easier to divide the task up across the class.
Prepare the sections/chapters of your book. For this example, a Grade 2 class wrote a book called ‘Sustaining Our Earth’. Each chapter was written on 21 different iPads. The chapters were then exported and merged on one iPad to produce the final book.
Sharing to one iPad
After a lot of proof reading, send the chapters to one place so that they can be downloaded and accessed by one iPad. We used the app Showbie to do this. You could also use AirDrop or collect them in a shared folder in Google Drive, Dropbox or via a school server, whichever way suits your school’s digital environment.
Merging parts of a book
Nominate some students to create a contents page and a blurb. This can also be merged into the final book. There’s a nice opportunity here for your class to inquire into what makes up a book. You may also consider adding a preface and acknowledgements.
Next merge the chapters into one book. You will have to do this one by one.
- On the master book tap the + and select ‘Combine books’
- You can only add one book/chapter at a time. The book will be copied to the end of the master book.
Once the chapters are merged into one book you can easily rearrange the page order by dragging. Don’t forget to save your changes by tapping ‘Done’ and then double-tap a page to go back into the book. Don’t tap ‘Cancel’ or you will lose any changes.
Make a cover. This is very important. The cover needs to connect and tell visually the content of the book. I sometimes choose a key image from a particular page or ask the students to create a design which can be voted on.
Text, image spacing and alignment
Proof read again! At this stage you will need to check that all objects – either text or images, are not too close to the edges of the pages as printing will need a little space. Often when a book is printed, the printer needs to cut and crop a little.
Some space is required to prevent words or images getting cut. It’s also a good idea to have a little space around any text so that your reader can more easily read your book. Placing text too close to an image will make your book harder to read.
Of course being familiar with design principals will also help your book. This class learned to use textures, layers, colour, font choice and placement to create their page layouts.
Make a test print first
Make a test print. I usually do this in black and white. This is to check that all text boxes ‘behave’ and that you haven’t missed any errors. Sometimes when you convert an ePub (Book Creator file) to a PDF, the text needs a little room so that it doesn’t drop an ’s’ or part of a word onto the next line.
To make a test print, you need to share your book as a PDF with single pages and share it via iTunes on your computer. I haven’t tried to print a book directly from an iPad as I need greater control over the printing settings.
You could also AirDrop or email the finished file but some files (like this 224 page book) become quite large so sharing via iTunes is easier.
- Tap the Export icon beneath your book in the My Books screen and choose ‘Export as PDF’
- Choose single pages
- Tap the ‘Send to iTunes’ icon and follow the instructions
Printing your book with double-sided pages
I prefer to use the Preview app on a Mac to print my books. I usually print the covers (back and front) separately first on single pages. After that I print the inside of the book using a double sided print setting in the Preview app. Here’s how to do that.
- Open with the Preview app and choose ‘Print’
- Choose Layout for the printing options
- Select ‘Layout’ int the dropdown menu and choose ‘Short-Edge Binding’ for double-sided printing
- Select the ‘Orientation’ to match the book and choose ‘Scale to Fit’
The print run
After you have checked your test print and fixed any last minute errors, you are ready for the print run. You can take your PDF file to a copy centre for printing.
If you have a colour photocopier in your school, you may be allowed to print it there and just get it bound outside. Another option is to spiral bind it at school if you have the necessary equipment.
I prefer to hard bind my books. In Indonesia where I live this is very cheap. For this class book, we halved the size to keep the printing costs down. This meant that we were able to print two books on one page. The copy centre was easily able to accommodate our needs for this and it is quite easy to do yourself using the settings in the Preview app.
The final book looks great and I have included a video here so that you can see it a little more clearly. The class was delighted to see all their hard work and we had a small book signing in the classroom on the last day of school.