On rare occasions, my employer will be tasked with printing a book that is really two titles in one, but both titles are bound together so that the first title will read correctly until the end of its content, and then the content of the second title is upside-down and in the wrong page order. This doesn’t make sense until the book is turned upside-down, and then the second title reads correctly. This style of binding two titles into one is known as Tête-Bêche (French for Head to Tail).
If this still isn’t quite clear, have a look at some of the titles from the publisher Abe Books
While this isn’t a question that’s asked often, a post on the Adobe InDesign forums asked how to create such a book, so I thought I would write up an article of how I tend to prepare the text component of these publications.
Make two separate titles first
It is certainly possible to layout both titles in the same InDesign file using the rotate spread view, but I’d advise against doing this as not only is it generally confusing, the second title won’t be able to take advantage of automatic features such as page numbering, table of contents, indexes, etc
Instead, create the titles as either two separate InDesign files, or two separate InDesign Book files.
PDF only method
Create print-ready PDFs of both titles, and then decide what will become the first title and what will become the second title. Leave the PDF of the first title alone, but to the second title, do the following:
- Rotate all pages 180°;
- Reverse the page order*.
*Rotating the pages is easy enough in Acrobat, but reversing the page order will call for a technique that has been outlined in an earlier article.
This will result in the first title right-reading in the correct page order, and the second title upside-down in reverse order. From here:
- Use the Combine Files into a Single PDF… option and join the two files together;
- With the first title open, open the pages panel and drag the second title from Finder (Mac) or Explorer (Windows) to the end of the last page.
The advantage with this method is that it will work with either a PDF of each title, or an InDesign file of each title, provided that each title is its own InDesign file. If InDesign book files were used, then PDFs need to be made for this method.
Another advantage is that if late changes need to be made, the alterations can be made to the original InDesign title, and then updated in the “conjoined” title automatically.
This method requires the multipageplace script. Make a new non-facing pages document that will be the same trim size as the titles – the document is only being used as a “conjoined” title to put the pages in the correct orientation and order, so facing pages isn’t required. Run the script and import the first title. When the script’s dialog box appears, enter the following options then click OK:
Once the script has run, add a blank page to the end of the document.
Run the script again, selecting the second title. This time, enter the following options into the dialog box that appears:
In this example, the script is starting at page 13 as the previously placed file finished at page 12. Obviously this needs to be changed depending how long the original title is.
Note that this dialog instructs the pages to rotate 180° and to reverse the page order.
This will now place the pages in the correct order for Tête-Bêche binding.
Confirmation of page sequence
To confirm that the pages in the conjoined file will now read correctly, make a PDF of the conjoined file and repeat the first two steps used in the PDF method (rotate 180° and reverse page order) – this will show the PDF of the second title’s reading order, and that the first title is now upside-down and in reverse.
This file will be prepared like any other book, with the exception that the Outside Back Cover (OBC) will now become the Outside Front Cover (OFC) of the second title. Rule to remembering the head directions of the outside covers is that – for a western audience with binding to the left – the head directions should be anticlockwise to the page.