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Author Topic: For self published book, which is better Apache Open office or Scribus 1.5.2?  (Read 595 times)

pjms9

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Hi,
  Recently I volunteered to creating a book.  I was looking for software for the book creation and publishing. I am very familiar with  Microsoft word, so it is easier for me do it  Apache open office which is free. I will be compiling the text/pictures/tables along with some of my friends who doesn't have MS word.

As I  skim through the net, scribus software came up. I downloaded and playing with it. I liked the resolution and features in scribus, though How things are done in Openoffice ( headers, footers , page numbers, indexes, TOC etc) is very different Scribus. So there is some learning curve exist which I dont mind. But, it may be complicated for others.

1. Are there any specific advantages in Scribus over Apache open office ? What is the difference between publishing software vs sophisticated editors like Openoffice.

2.  I created a Open office template with frames for the text, pictures etc and saved as ODT file, which I thought easier for others.  But when I try to import it  into scribus 1.5.2 , I couldn't import the frames or text. But, If I created text as ODT without frame, I was able to import it to the Scribus.  I heard this is a issue with old Scribus.  Is this issue still valid?.

3. Other option I had, is create the template in Scribus and my friends fill different pages, Are there easy way to integrate it to final book.

Appreciate any input.

GarryP

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Welcome to the forum pjms9.

1. Scribus and Open/LibreOffice provide two very different ways of doing similar things. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages depending on what you want to do and how you want to do it. The differences are way too numerous and complicated to properly explain here. Try searching for "differences between Word Processing and Desktop Publishing" and read a few articles. That will give you an overview.

In general, if you want a document that is mostly the same format throughout with few illustrations/tables etc. (e.g. a novel) then O/LO will probably be much easier to use (especially if you want things like tables of contents and automatic indexes). On the other hand, if you are creating something that has a complex layout (e.g. a magazine) then Scribus will give you much better control over how it looks. You can use either application for pretty much any type of document, you just need to choose which is best for what you want to make.

If you can tell us what sort of book you're trying to make then someone might be able to give you more specific advice.

2. Currently - as of 1.4.6 - Scribus can only import text from Open/LibreOffice files. Basically it ignores everything but the text that's in the "root" of the document, so if you have text in frames then that text will be ignored. I have no idea if this will be different in future versions.

3. You can use "Page -> Import" to copy pages from one document into the document that's being currently edited. You might have problems with image import (because of relative file links) but that's another issue altogether.

And to comment on some other issues you mentioned...

4. Scribus doesn't do tables very well. They're very basic in 1.4.6 and while 1.5.x is better (so I've heard) they still have a lot of areas that need improving. I generally recommend creating tables in O/LO and exporting them for use in a Scribus image frame.

5. If you think you will need a good TOC and/or index then O/LO will probably be a better choice. Scribus only has very basic TOC features and has no indexing feature yet.

6. Without knowing more about what you're trying to achieve, I would say that you will probably be better off using O/LO, at least for bringing the text and images together until you have a working document. Most people are more comfortable using a word processor and Scribus has a pretty steep learning curve that can put some people off. Once you have all of the text and other resources together you can then think about whether you want to "take it to the next level" by importing it into Scribus and giving it a better layout.

7. Before you start down either road it's worth thinking about how you will be publishing the book. For most digital or print publishing then either path will probably be okay but if you need proper ePublishing - where the user will be able to change things on the page like font size, page orientation, etc. - then you will probably want to think about using something else that is more suitable as Scribus can only create static PDFs that can't be changed.

I hope this has given you enough help to start making the right decision(s).

pjms9

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In general, if you want a document that is mostly the same format throughout with few illustrations/tables etc. (e.g. a novel) then O/LO will probably be much easier to use (especially if you want things like tables of contents and automatic indexes). On the other hand, if you are creating something that has a complex layout (e.g. a magazine) then Scribus will give you much better control over how it looks. You can use either application for pretty much any type of document, you just need to choose which is best for what you want to make.

If you can tell us what sort of book you're trying to make then someone might be able to give you more specific advice.

Thank you GarryP for the reply. we plan to create cookbook based on what we have tried before. It will be book around 300 pages, recipe/page with 2 column colored template with color picture, with usual book features, cover, table of contents, parts, recipes with pictures, index, bibliography, some tables, appendix etc. We were thinking of atleast pdf, epub and book (if the feedback is good). Based on your feed, O/LO is the way to go. There are O/LO  or third party add-on's to convert it epub. I read how to do this in O\LO and it is doable. If we decide to go to printing in 6in * 9in book, will the color picture come professional with O\LO?. I heard that people put the Kindle book on amazon and amazon will sell it hard cover books on demand. In that case, does epub sufficient for the quality?

7. Before you start down either road it's worth thinking about how you will be publishing the book. For most digital or print publishing then either path will probably be okay but if you need proper ePublishing - where the user will be able to change things on the page like font size, page orientation, etc. - then you will probably want to think about using something else that is more suitable as Scribus can only create static PDFs that can't be changed.
Do you have recommendations other than Scribus if we go with proper ePublishing other than Adobe Indesign?  Appreciate your input.

GarryP

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You're welcome pjms9, and thanks for the extra information.

Since you are making such a long book, your choice of software will be very important. From what you have said I can make a number of inferences:

Your layout will be simple

Cookbooks, usually, keep to a simple format so that the cook can easily see what ingredients they need and what they need to do with them. Your layout, as described, seems to be fairly standard for this kind of thing. Either Scribus or O/LO can handle simple layouts so there is not much to base a decision on there.

You will have multiple contributors

This will probably mean that various people will be creating different parts of the book and then these parts will need to come together at some point. Both Scribus and O/LO allow you to combine documents so either would allow you to work that way but...

Scribus is difficult to learn, or, at least, more difficult to learn than a word processor. Assuming that not all of your contributors will have the time and/or patience to learn Scribus I would say that the initial creation of the recipes should be made in O/LO. (Each recipe could be in its own document, or you could group recipes together by author, that would be entirely your decision.) If the recipes are being created in O/LO then it would make sense to gather them all together in O/LO. There's no reason to add any additional complication if it's not needed.

O/LO also has commenting and collaboration tools that Scribus lacks.

You have complicated referencing requirements

With cookbooks it is useful to have multiple TOCs. For instance, you may have a list of recipes for meat dishes, and another for vegetarian dishes, or others listing dishes from different regions. You could also want to have multiple indexes which will answer reader's questions such as "I like that dish that used veal, where can I find it?".

Because Scribus cannot handle such things automatically it would be extremely laborious to attempt it manually. For example, what if you added a new recipe in the middle? Every reference to something after the added recipe would have to be manually altered. Not a good situation. Keeping it all within O/LO - which can handle this sort of thing without breaking a sweat - seems to be the way to go.

Recommendation

So, all in all, I would say that your decision go with O/LO is the right thing to do. I'm not saying that Scribus wouldn't be able to do what you want, it's just that it would add way too much extra work and complication. It's simply not built for this kind of thing.

It might sound odd for someone in a Scribus forum recommending the use of another application but I would be far happier telling you to use something else than hearing about you getting frustrated trying to use the wrong tool for the job.

ePublishing

I'm afraid that my experience of ePublishing stops at knowing that some publishers have specific PDF requirements and that eBooks require a different - fluid - format as compared to the static PDF format. I've never published anything for an eBook and hardly any of my work gets printed so I can't help on those issues. I only mentioned it so that you didn't go too far down one road only to find that you had taken the wrong path.

Since it sounds like you will probably be using O/LO it might be worth asking the questions in the forums relevant to that particular software. You might be able to get some answers from this forum - I know that many people have asked similar questions in the past - but the answers in this forum are more Scribus-oriented and, because of that, they may mislead you as to what is best for how you proceed with O/LO.

Having said that, there are some people in this forum who have had a lot of experience with publishing in general and they could give you some very useful advice. You could ask similar questions in multiple forums and see what sort of answers you get.

Anyway, good luck with your book. When you get it out to the world you might want to come back and add a link here to show people what's possible. It's always good to hear from people who have used open source software to create things, no matter which application they have used. There's no competition between Scribus and O/LO, they're just different ways of doing similar things.

pjms9

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Thank you for your honest guidance. I really appreciate your input. I will check epublishing needs too.