An Imposing Story

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What is page imposition?

An Imposing Story

Page imposition is a system used by printers to save paper when printing. Printing pages in the way that we read them (one page at a time) would be quite wasteful. Instead, book printers print pages in sets of 16 or 32 (or 4 or 8). However, instead of using readers' spreads (with pages 2 and 3 together), they use printers' spreads, so that when the pages are folded, cut and collated they form a conventional book layout.

If you are printing a book or booklet yourself, it is useful to know how this works. Printers' spreads start with the first and last pages together and end with the middle pages together. For a 16 page booklet, the printers' spreads would be 16+1, 2+15, 14+3, 4+13, 12+5, 6+11, 10+7, 8+9. The pairs add up to the number of pages in the booklet plus 1. In addition, the odd number is always on the right. If this seems daunting, an Internet search will reveal several software programs that will help with page imposition for your self published book.

If you ask your local book printer, they may have European paper sizes in stock. Although it's not widely advertised these are available in North America too, and they may be a smart choice if you want to sell your book abroad.



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