Author Topic: Has anyone used Scribus with BookBaby for book printing?  (Read 350 times)

eikenberry

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Has anyone used Scribus with BookBaby for book printing?
« on: August 12, 2018, 08:58:33 pm »
Hello,

I'm currently working on a photography project book and have settled on Bookbaby to get the book printed. Their templates are a little odd, and they strongly recommend using Adobe InDesign to design the book pages, etc. My question is, would Scribus be a suitable alternative? I doubt I'll be designing books for a living after this, so spending 30+/month for InDesign seems silly.

Does anyone have any experience with this Scribus/Bookbaby combo?


Thanks!

dragonfly

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Re: Has anyone used Scribus with BookBaby for book printing?
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2018, 07:21:15 pm »
This post led to me exploring further Indesign/BookBaby.
I have not used InDesign (I am on Linux) and I was unaware of BookBaby before reading this post.

This is a learning exercise for me. Since you have no takers I will chip in with some ideas.

On first reading my understanding is that BookBaby receives PDF as input from authors.

https://www.bookbaby.com/video-tutorials-pdfs

This tutorial suggests exporting PDF/X-4 and this is an option available in Scribus.

Thus, to attempt to answer your question, one option open is to create your content using Scribus and upload to BookBaby the interim layout as exported PDF.

However, I rather suspect from reading here
https://www.bookbaby.com/book-formatting/
that BookBaby might prefer to tweak the interim content (although probably for a fee).

Therefore, I would consider taking one step back and writing the content in raw markdown (using an editor such as Atom https://atom.io/ for text and images) and use pandoc https://pandoc.org/ to generate your PDF. I recommend the added package Markdown-Preview-Enhanced.  https://atom.io/packages/markdown-preview-enhanced.  There are other Atom packages which can be installed to improve workflow.

To place one of your photo images in markdown you would use simply ..
@import ("/path/to/your/photo.jpg").

Indeed you can also @import micro markdown sections of your document.

A master page could be a string of @import commands.

This approach bypasses both InDesign and Scribus although the output from pandoc filters can be imported into either layout engine. 

On a separate topic I have now read about importing Adobe *.idml into Scribus.

I'm not sure if that step is needed since the general idea is to avoid paying for Adobe product (at least until you can afford it from author's earnings).  However, from reading around I do see now how it might be possible to sync *.idml with *.sla formats.  Currently Scribus does not export *.idml.

Nermander

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Re: Has anyone used Scribus with BookBaby for book printing?
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2018, 10:06:18 pm »
dragonfly, can you explain why a PDF generated by pandoc would be less likely to be tweaked than a PDF generated by Scribus?

I believe this document is the relevant information for what they require from the PDF
https://www.bookbaby.com/pages/pdf/book-printing-preparation-checklist.pdf

This guidance document seems to even refer to MS Word, so I doubt they have high requirements on the PDF quality.

The key points (aside from the dimensions) seem to be:
• All color must be converted to CMYK.
• All fonts must be embedded.
• Images must be 300 DPI.
• Save black & white images in grayscale mode.

Of course you will have the problem that they require images converted to CMYK, but do not seem to specify a profile for that.

dragonfly

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Re: Has anyone used Scribus with BookBaby for book printing?
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2018, 10:39:41 pm »
Quote
dragonfly, can you explain why a PDF generated by pandoc would be less likely to be tweaked than a PDF generated by Scribus?

I did not explain my reasoning very well.
My thinking is that if a PDF is thrown back by the printer, suggesting that it requires changes, it should be a very quick process for the author (rather than the printer) to edit markdown source.  I write with admittedly no experience in the end print process.

[Later edit]
Quote
Of course you will have the problem that they require images converted to CMYK, but do not seem to specify a profile for that.

Searching further, I find that ImageMagick can convert image RGB to CYMK, through command line, but I have yet to test this.

« Last Edit: August 13, 2018, 11:22:49 pm by dragonfly »

Nermander

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Re: Has anyone used Scribus with BookBaby for book printing?
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2018, 06:07:30 pm »
Yes, but the problem remains. Converting frmo RGB to CMYK requires a color profile for the conversion.

Normally you use a color profile that is for the specific printer and paper used. So if a printing company does not tell you what profile to use, they do likely not manage colors very good.