The argument for the playbooks is that they are a nice tactile prop when getting the game started: Dump the playbooks on the table and tell each of the players to pick one. Everything they need to know to make characters and play is in the playbook, and the physicality of choosing one from the pile works to establish the conceit that they can't play 'redundant character types' ("So Lem and I are gonna be Gunluggers, ok?" "No, not ok." "Why not?" ...)
I expect most of my group will go to the John Harper sheets for keeping track of their characters once play starts though.
As far as assembling them, #1 thing is to print on both sides of the paper. They're in a big o' PDF file of sequential pages and I couldn't auto collate the job on my printer, so this was a little tedious, but take the time to think about it and run a couple of draft copies to work out how to get everything to match up.
I also scaled the pages to print at 90% so I'd have some gutters later.
Then cut 'em into 1/4 page cards and stack em up. I used a paper guillotine, but you could use a straight edge and a knife or scissors, or whatever. Sort/collate the cards, fold in the center so you have a booklet that's a rough 1/8 page size. Staple the seam, then trim the edges for a neat booklet. (If you scaled the page down, you'll end up trimming both the 'outside edge' opposite the binding, and the bottom edge.)
If you hate doing crafty paper projects, yeah, you may not enjoy assembling the playbooks. As far as the time the job takes, think of it as your prep for the first game and it'll seem more reasonable, particularly when you consider it's the only prep you need to do, and other people can help you do it.
If that's still too much, I've got some 'no cut' playbook layouts I can share. The original versions are much cleaner in the end though.