You’d probably be horrified if you knew how much effort goes into getting your edition of Walden Pond to print nicely every month. The experience of reading is the thing we’re really focused on. If you’ve got a a PDF edition how can you make your experience of reading it great?

Screen

If you’re reading it on a tablet, you’re probably all good. Single page view will make it look good, and the text should be plenty readable as the physical edition is about the same size as a normal-size iPad.

One of the benefits of a paper copy is that it doesn’t have notifications. You can get some way to emulating this by putting your tablet into flight mode while you’re reading.

When I’m reading on a giant screen, I use Acrobat like this

Which takes a little bit of tweaking. Adobe says:

If a document has more than two pages, you can ensure that the first page appears alone on the right side of the document pane. Select either Two Page View or Two Page Scrolling. Also select View > Page Display > Show Cover Page In Two Page View.

While I’m in that menu, I turn off Show gaps between pages for that authentic double-spread feel.

Print

If you’ve got a printer that can print double-sided, then you’re in the same situation I was in when I started WP. You can use Acrobat’s booklet printing to make a nice start.

This is how I set up my print settings. There’s one thing that might trip you up: if you have a 2 or 4 hour edition, it might come out too thick to fold. If you’ve got more than about 70 pages, then split the print into two jobs. You’ll need to split at a page number that’s a multiple of 4.

You can then fold the booklets and staple them on the spine. This is what printers euphemistically call “saddle stitch”. (I’d be pretty sad if I bought a saddle that had been stapled!) From bitter experience of stabbing myself in the finger, staple from the outside of the book into the middle, or you’ll have spikey staple legs poking you while you read.

If you are lucky enough to have some kind of baller document station printer, don’t use the acrobat booklet settings, but the settings on your printer. These will usually need several PhDs to understand, but once you do get it you can print everything this way and look cool with your automatically folded and stapled documents.

You could also print it at a print shop and get them to handle it I guess!

You can really get crafty and bind it all in vintage fabrics, or fallen leaves, or, well, you could do anything. If you do make a DIY edition, take a picture, tweet it and mention @waldenpondzine, I’d like to see what you make.