I think I'd like to put in my 2 cents worth on layout programs.
I use QuarkXPress for all my books and the MBS Newsletter. Quark is the
competitor of Pagemaker, both are good, but Quark is preferred by
professional designers, both on Mac and PC's. Both programs are very robust,
complex, and expensive professional page layout applications. They have a
steep learning curve, although for most people you don't have to learn
everything to get done what you want. Quark and Pagemaker are layout
programs, not pagination programs, although pagination function can be bought
as add ons. Incidentally I don't use any pagination programs, it just seems I
have not had the need. Both programs let you work in spreads.
I'm not sure the details of what you want to do, but I'm wondering if these
programs are way more than you need? I think you said you only had small
runs. Have you looked at programs aimed at the consumer market (cheaper, less
complex easier to learn) for printing? And have you checked freeware and
shareware sites for apps that may help you out? Also if you do want Page or
Quark, check e-bay for a version one level down to save bucks. I don't
recommend getting more that one level down. That would be 3.3 for Quark.
Hope this helps,