I have an eBook I want to print so it can be perfect bound. Booklet option in Acrobat Reader is not useful at all. I have tested several ways. Is there any free software to do such a simple task? It seems all the options available can only be done on some very expensive software e.g. Adobe Indesign or CutePDF, but the licences are too expensive for printing one or two eBooks only. CutePDF seems to have a free licence, but it prints CutePDF wording on all pages, making it unpleasant looking.

In short, perfect binding allows to print the book like in two columns, the first column being the first half of the book, and the second column the second half of the book. Once all pages are printed, I can cut the whole set into 2 (A4 becomes A5), which makes a complete book.

It seems there are no solutions so far on the Internet, well not that I could find. Hopefully, somebody will be able help. Thanks!

  • For users where the first language is also not English, please know that "perfect binding" is not the opposite of sloppy binding. It is a technical term for a type of thermal binding where sheets are glued individually not bound as sections of folded sheets. More here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bookbinding#Thermally_activated_binding Commented Jun 12, 2020 at 16:10
  • Not applicable to "perfect binding" but just learnt another word: the "sections of folded sheets" for binding are called "signatures" in certain countries. Commented Jun 12, 2020 at 16:59

3 Answers 3


So the issue is that you don't want to use the booklet imposition function (which is what happens when you use the booklet feature in Acrobat or in any of the suggested pieces of software), but instead you are looking for something that will provide perfect bound imposition.

Booklet imposition reorders the pages so that when they are folded into a booklet, they are in the correct order, but Perfect Bound imposition reorganizes the pages differently. I was able to use InDesign's print preview screen to create an illustration of the difference between the two for a six page document: enter image description here enter image description here

What's nice is that once you understand the different types of imposition, it becomes much easier to find tools that might work for you. I googled "free program for perfect binding imposition" and the first two results were programs that you can try for free: Imposition Studio from devalipi and Montax imposer.

If neither of these work, try doing the search yourself and see what else pops up.

  • 1
    Thanks Montax Imposer works! It's free for A4 printing, which is all i need
    – Curtis
    Commented Feb 4, 2017 at 11:34
  • 1
    right, the simplest way to think of it is that booklets are sheets-of-four that are stacked, then folded; but perfect bound are sheets-of-four that are folded, then stacked.
    – Yorik
    Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 16:03
  • with saddle-stitch (or "booklet"), you need to have exact multiples of four for your page count. Perfect bound can have individual sheets inserted.
    – Yorik
    Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 16:06

So the process of putting your document into booklet form ("printer spreads") is called "imposing" and the minute gutter adjustments needed to account for paper thickness is called "creep."

You need to know how thick your paper is in order to set a creep value. For a larger book, the creep can get out of bounds, and you might need to make several booklets to stack together called "signatures."

There is an open-source pdf processor called pdfbooklet that supports creep.

I have used it in the past (before they included creep feature) to make really cheap perfect bound books for personal use: trim the fold off, clamp and spread the bound edge, smear a bunch of rubber cement and then fabrc tape or painters tape etc to finish the spine.

  • Thanks for answering! It's a normal sized A4 paper, not sure exact thickness. I just need it for easier reading as A4 size itself would be too awkward to hold, A5 would have been much nicer. eBook has about 800 pages, so there would be 400 sheets. Do you think that would work?
    – Curtis
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 22:42
  • It's throwing an error saying "no module named gi", even though after i installed gi. or does the code run on Python 2.7 rather 3.5 (which i have atm on my computer)?
    – Curtis
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 22:58

Save the files as single page PDFs, most binders will do the imposition themselves for what is best for their system. They'll provide a proof if asked.

Add "1/8" bleeds with crop marks" if the pages bleed.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.