Blurb Publishing – Part 2 – Make a PDF from your book’s internal pages.


This is the second part of a series of posts describing how to cheaply use the “PDF to Book” feature of Blurb from Windows. This part describes how to make a PDF of the inside pages of your book. Part 1 described why you would need to use this advanced method. Part 3 describes how to produce the cover and upload everything.

First of all, now would be a good time to make sure you have a good backup or two of your book files!

Installing the PDF Printer

Download and install the Easy PDF Creator 6 printer driver from Start off with the free trial, but you will have to buy it for $29.99 before you create a real book as the trial adds extra graphics your PDF pages.**

Page Size

Now we need to work out exactly what page size to use.  To find this out, you need to go to Blurb, log in and choose “PDF to Book” from the Apps Menu. On that page is a big orange button labelled “Get Specs”. Click it and choose the format size of your book. As I stated in Part 1 I have chosen the “Pocket 8*5 inches” size. Then click on the “Specifications” tab below. Choose your cover type, the paper type and Unit of measure (use inches or centimetres). You leave the number of pages as the default – that’s only important for the working out the size of the cover. Click “Get Measurements” and write down the following values from the top “Page Specifications” items:

  1. The value of “Final, exported PDF/X3 should measure (w x h)”
  2. The value of “Bleed”
  3. The value of “Inset for Margins (Top, Bottom, Outside edge)”
  4. The value of “Inset for Margins (Binding edge)”

Keep this “Page Size List” handy – we’ll refer to it during the rest of this process.

Custom Paper Size

We now create a custom paper size on your PC which is exactly the same size as your book pages. This is the size you wrote down in the top item 1. of the “Page Size List” above. For the pocket size book, this is 5.25 inches by 8.25 inches (Note: I usually use metric measurements but I found it easier to do the paper size in English units):

  1. Go into Control Panel/System and Security and open “Administrative Tools”. Choose “Print Management”. This Opens the “Print Management” dialog
  2. Open up “Print Servers” in the left tree and select “Forms”. This lists all the known paper sizes.
  3. In the very right pane, expand “Forms” and choose “More Actions” Below. Select “Manage Forms…” to pop up the “Print Server Properties” dialog
  4. Select the “Create a new Form” checkbox and type the name of your new Page Size. I recommend something like “BlurbPocketPage”
  5. Enter the size in the “Form description (measurements)” area below.  Use the units you prefer. Only the width and height need to be entered – all the margins should be zero.
  6. Click the “Save Form” button.

Word Page Size

We now set the page size in Word for the book format that you are going to use.

  1. Open your book document in Word. First of all, open the “Print” dialog and choose the “PDF Creator” printer. This causes your custom page size to be loaded into Word.
  2. Now go into the “Page Layout” tab in Word, where you will see the buttons for “Size” and “Margins”
  3. Click the “Size” button and choose “More Paper Sizes…” In the “Paper Size” drop-down, choose your new “BlurbPocketPage” size (or whatever you called it). Click OK

Word Margins

We now need to set the document margins. Again we refer to the “Page Size List” which we wrote out above:

  1. Click “Margins” and select “Custom Margins…”. This takes you into the “Page Setup” dialog.
  2. Your left, right, top and bottom margin need to be at least the values of 2 + 3 in the “Page Size List” above, but I have used the value 1.5 cm. Left and Right Margins must be the same
  3. The “Gutter Margin” plus “Left/Right Margin” needs to be at least the value of item 4. in the “Page Size List” above. I used 1.25 cm for my Gutter Margin.
  4. Still on the margins tab, in the “Pages” section, choose “Mirror Margins” in the “Multiple Pages” drop-down (this adds the binding margin to alternate odd and even pages).
  5. In the “Layout” tab, select “Different Odd and Even” in the “Headers” page.

Complete the Pages Document

Now complete formatting your document with these new page size settings. Don’t worry about getting this all spot on first time. You will probably try an upload, see what it looks like and come back and tweak it a little.

Produce the PDF

Once you are ready to try an upload to Blurb, you need to print out your document as a PDF.

  1. From Word, choose the “Print…” menu item (not the default print button) to pop up the Printer dialog
  2. Choose “Easy PDFPrinter 6” in the drop-down listing the available printers. Click “Properties” to the right to pop up the “Easy PDFPrinter 6 Document Properties” dialog
  3. In the “Layout” tab choose “Portrait” for “Orientation”
  4. In the “Font and Image” tab deselect the “Downsize Image” checkbox
  5. In the “Standards” tab, select “PDF/X-3:2002” in the PDF/X conformance box
  6. Click OK to close the properties dialog and return to the Print dialog. Click OK to begin the print process
  7. The “Save PDF Output Filename” dialog will appear (or may be flashing in the task bar at the bottom of the screen). Enter the filename to save and click OK
  8. Once the PDF has been generated, it will open in your PDF reader. Choose File/Properties to ensure the paper page size is correct.

Now you have your document pages in the correct form of PDF. Give it a good check through. It’s worth at least being sure that there are no blank pages and all the images and tables are present, as you will have to redo the cover if the number  of pages changes.

Once you are happy enough to go to the next stage check how many pages there are in the PDF file. You will need to know this figure to Produce the Cover in part 3


**Note I have no affiliation with this software and you can use the trial version for testing conversion and Blurb upload before you buy. If you work out how to do the cover using a free product then please let me know. The requirements are that it has to produce a PDF/X-3:2002 compatible document. I had most success with PDF Creator from pdfforge, but ultimately gave up with this. The book’s content PDF was fine but all attempts failed when trying to get it to produce a landscape PDF on a custom paper size for the book cover. Apparently this is a known issue with the underlying Ghost Script engine that isn’t currently being fixed. The associated PDF Architect Software that comes with it can rotate the produced PDF to landscape but unfortunately breaks the PDF/X-3:2002 compatibility in the process.

Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *