Yes this is possible, it's just not well documented. Or documented at all for that matter. The only reference I found was in an issue report.
- Once a file is opened, you can change the first page location by running
:set first-page-column 2 from the command line.
- This same line can be added to the rc file at
~/.config/zathura/zathurarc to make it the default.
Note: Since zathura 0.3.5 the format for this setting has changed. It is no longer a fixed value for all page configuration but can be set independently for different numbers of columns. As a result in order to set this for a two column layout you actually need to set the second column of the setting, the above format will have no effect. The new format looks like this:
:set first-page-column 1:2
Or if you want to set layouts for 3 and 4 column views as well:
:set first-page-column 1:2:1:2
That will start three column views with the first column but use skip to the second column to start 2 and 4 page spreads.