How do I start?
Tips for RC users
Format Text Files
Print Books at Home
Bind Books at Home
Free Books Online
(RC, Henty & more)
Rosegate's Free Files
Lists (many RC)
Homeschool Name/ ID
Latter-day Saints & RC
Links for Homeschool
- RC number of pages / Estimate of printing cost - also includes optional Henty totals.
- Printing cost calculator - works for any book and any printer
- Printing half size books
- About font sizes - why they don't need to be giant.
- Benefits of using text files - and a couple possible drawbacks, with solutions.
- Formatting text files
- Printing tips - printers, duplexing, 2 pages per side, covers.
RC NUMBER OF PAGES / ESTIMATE OF PRINTING COST - Click to see an estimated cost of printing the RC (and optional Henty) materials with a laser printer. This also includes the total number of pages to print. Or you can visit the RC Page Count page and Henty Page Count page to see it broken down by book.
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PRINTING COST CALCULATOR - Follow the link to find out how to calculate your own printing costs. This formula will work for toner or ink, with any printer and any book. (You don't have to use RC for the formula to work.) It also has two options -- half-size printing or full-size printing.
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PRINTING HALF-SIZE BOOKS - Many of us prefer half size books. Some people worry that the fonts come out too small. But for most of the books, that's not the case. ("Little Women", "Our Soldier in the Civil War" and the science texts are exceptions. Read more about font sizes below.)
Benefits of Half Size Printing (See pictures of the inside of half-size books -- from RC or a wordprocessor.)
ABOUT FONT SIZES
Remember that the RC books were scanned from normal size books to begin with. Most books are smaller than a half-sheet of paper, and definitely smaller than a full sheet. So printing them, even half-size, will generally result in a font size that is larger than that of the original book.
For children that are just learning to read, you obviously won't want anything that comes out tiny to start with. But once they have grasped reading, it should be fine to wean them off of the big print.
If you are interested, here are the font sizes of the following books when printed in half size from RC.
(Font size is equivalent to Times New Roman)
• McGuffey's Eclectic Primer = 16 point
• McGuffey's 1st Reader = 16 point
• Nursery Rhymes = 20 point
• Jolly Robin = 16 point
• Life of George Washington, and Our Hero General U. S. Grant = 13 point
• Bobbsey Twins = 14 point
Some research says that 12 point font is large enough even for 2nd graders (though they didn't research smaller, so it wasn't ruled out). According to publishers, anything 14 point or larger (in a standard font like Times New Roman) is considered "large print".
Excepting Grant and Washington, all of the above count as "large print", even at half size.
(You could print Washington and Grant bigger if you like. But many people are saving those books for slightly older children anyway.)
When choosing half or full size, just use your common sense: If you'll need a magnifying glass to read it, don't print it half size. If your child can barely read, don't give them itty-bitty print. If you have a capable reader, don't assume they can't handle normal sizes.
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BENEFITS OF USING TEXT FILES (See pictures of the inside of books made from text files, before and after printing.)
Two Possible Drawbacks of Using Text Files (And suggested solutions)
• Plain text files don't contain pictures - Usually not a big deal, especially to all but the youngest readers. But, many of those older books didn't have pictures to begin with, (or only had one, at the beginning, like Bobbsey Twins and Tom Swift). The RC software comes with the option of skipping the pages that are pictures only. That option wouldn't be available if they thought the book's usefulness was compromised by skipping them. (Though sometimes we want the pictures just because they're fun.)
Solution 1: Use Gutenberg's HTML version of the same book. Many of the books at Gutenberg (or elsewhere) are available in text AND HTML with pictures. (At least for those that had pictures to begin with.) Pasting pictures from the HTML version into your word processor works quite well. (If pictures are very dark you can make them smaller to save toner. The illustrations are still completely enjoyable.) Illustrated versions are marked on my RC Booklist.
Solution 2: If you really love/need the pictures then you can just print that particular book from RC. Or, you can add pictures from RC to the book you made from a text file in a couple of ways 1- Print the picture page from RC (with a blank back, probably) and insert it into your printed book. If it makes you feel better, pictures in old books often had blank backs. Or, 2- Select a picture page from RC by browsing the tif files from the CD-drive, not through the RC viewing software, and insert it into your word processor. You can also make it smaller, if you like.
• Occasional typos - Again, usually no big deal. In the books I've read it's usually obvious what they meant to say, and it doesn't keep you from understanding it. Some texts are nearly perfect, but some may need a bit of fixing (see how below).
Weigh the costs - If you're making your own curriculum, or just trying to save money on toner and paper, dealing with some typos may be worth it to you. If you're on a budget, or have limited shelf space, text files are a very good option.
Solution 1: Use your spell checker to find obvious flaws, and correct them. This is an especially good idea for early readers. (Older readers many not be fazed by a few typos, but you might prefer fixing them anyway.) Once you've removed the Gutenberg license, or "small print," which you'll do anyway, it's legal to do anything you please with the text. (Or you can download books I've already formatted and spell-checked.)
Solution 2: Use solution one, then make the world a better place by reporting the errors to Project Gutenberg. They have an entire department devoted to fixing typos. It can take them a few months (depending on how busy they are), so just use your own corrections and don't wait to download the newer version. At least you'll know the fixed version will be there for other people down the road. (And you'll feel all warm and fuzzy inside, knowing you helped someone else.) Just be sure you're correcting the latest version before you submit corrections. A book may have already been corrected by someone else if it's been a while since you downloaded it.
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FORMATTING TEXT FILES
When you're ready, visit my Formatting Page. It has basic guidelines for book setup, as well as specific directions for formatting in MS Word, Corel WordPerfect, and OpenOffice.
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Printers - The first thing necessary for printing books is a laser printer. It costs about 1/3 as much as printing with an inkjet. I would recommend Pricegrabber.com for finding the best prices on printers and toner/drums. I own a Brother HL 5150-D and highly recommend it, or another Brother--they're good printers. When I bought it (early 2006), it had the best price and best operating cost of any printer I found. Of course, this can vary from time to time. (And depends on where you buy it. Online's probably your best bet.)
Duplexing - if you get a printer that has automatic duplex, it means it will print both sides of the page for you without you having to turn it over. (This option can be turned off, for those times you want to print single sided.) The duplexing option is great for printing books.
When you manually duplex (print all of one side, put the paper back in and print the second side), you run the risk of having the printer pull two pages through at a time. (Most printers do this at some point, even if it's not very often.) If this happens and you're not watching every page go through, it will ruin the rest of the book. (Yes, it's happened to me.)
If an auto-duplexing printer pulls through two pages, you will ruin only 2 or 3 pages before it sorts itself out, and the rest of the book will be fine. It's much easier (and cheaper) to reprint 3 pages, than an entire book. [I've found that my Brother printer hardly ever pulls through more than one at a time. It's a big improvement over my old inkjet.]
Printing 2 pages per side - Some printers work well printing 2 pages per side, but some don't. It depends not only on the printer, but also which program you're printing from. If you have a printer that won't do this properly, there's a great little program called FinePrint you can use. (For more info, read my FinePrint tutorial.) You can download a free version, which is fully functional. (The free version prints their logo across the bottom.) It's very easy to use. I've done more than 100 books with it and never had any problems. There's another program called Clickbooks, but it costs more, and I've heard that it sometimes has problems.
I have a Brother printer, and was unable to properly print booklets from a wordprocessor (I have WordPerfect). And from RC it didn't work unless I set it to 300 dpi (which is okay, just a little lighter.) Since I use lots of text files and print from a wordprocessor, I decided to get FinePrint. It was well worth what I paid for it. (I got the teacher discount. E-mail them to request it -- it applies to homeschoolers, too.)
Printing Covers - make beautiful covers using free clip art. The following are some of my favorite sites.
Clipart ETC - educational clipart in black-and-white.
Portrait Gallery - photos or paintings of famous figures.
PDClipart - Public domain clipart.
Wikimedia Commons - Public domain images (including artwork).
Or see my Printable Books and Covers page for free covers I made.
Find MORE PRINTING TIPS on the Tips Page or the Estimate Page. You may particularly want to see the part about how to make materials reusable.
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BINDING METHODS - Now that you've learned all about printing, move on to the binding section.