Unfortunately, I don't know about any easy DTP solution either. I've just had a similar problem, and after some hours or trial and error I finally came up with a solution for an A6 (or, actually I'm a bit unsure about the exact size, maybe it's the "legal" size "equivalent"?) booklet. That is, 8 pages on one sheet of a double-sided A4 paper, using two-sided printing.
For a pdf file, you will need 4 utilities, for the 4 steps:
- pdftops (pdf2ps will probably work too)
In my particular case, I had 12 pages that I padded to 16 before converting to postscript (.ps):
Then I used "psbook" to rearrange pages for a 16-page booklet:
pdf2ps manual.pdf manual2.ps
Then used pstops to merge 8 pages onto 2 sides (front and back side of a sheet of paper):
psbook -s16 manual2.ps manual3.ps
Afte this, one can convert back to a pdf:
pstops '8:firstname.lastname@example.org(0,0.5h)+email@example.com(0.5w,0.5h)+firstname.lastname@example.org(0,0)+email@example.com(0.5w,0),firstname.lastname@example.org(0,0.5h)+email@example.com(0.5w,0.5h)+firstname.lastname@example.org(0,0)+email@example.com(0.5w,0)' manual3.ps manual4.ps
However, my printer would not print this pdf (I cancelled after having waited 10-15 minutes a couple of times and also rebooting). Luckily, "document viewer 2.28.1" (default viewer for postscript files on my Ubuntu) could view and print the postscript file from the step before with no problem.
ps2pdf manual4.ps manual5.pdf
Afterwards, one would need to cut the A4 paper in half horizontally to create A5 size sheets. Then they need to be stacked on top of each other in the right order, and finally folded in half again to create an A6 size booklet.
Also, I cannot be certain that this solution works for more than 16 page booklets, but I don't see why not. I have just stumbled upon this method and have not tested it more than once.
For the moment I'm using Ubuntu 9.10 32 bit.