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Response to Questions about our book, “Using FREE Scribus Software to Create Pro

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aa_gangchen:
Response to Questions about our book, “Using FREE Scribus Software to Create Professional Presentations”

After I post a message about our book, “Using FREE Scribus Software to Create Professional Presentations” (http://greenexameducation.com/) last week, we have received some feedbacks/comments. Many of them are similar, so I choose to respond to all of them here:


First of all, we have several suggestions for you and others who have developed and supported Scribus:

1. The help function for Scribus is TERRIBLE: If you do a search with a term on Scribus, it just takes you to one or more websites, and then you have to go thru pages after pages of information, and still can NOT find help for the simple command you need. It is a total waste of user’s time.

Why is it so hard for Scribus to build the basic help command within the program, like AutoCAD, or MS Word?

2. The way of generating a PDF/x-1a:2001 compatible file is ABSOLUTELY critical for book cover design, it is the dominant file format for color interior book publishing, b/w interior books can be in other file formats.

This is a MAJOR weakness of Scribus. It is ABSOLUTELY important to tell the readers the easiest way of generating a PDF/x-1a:2001 compatible file with Scribus or how to go around and solve the problem. All other formats, like X-3, etc. will AUTOMATICALLY show up as one of the choices in Scribus.

Hopefully, Scribus will come up with a new edition that will export to this format.

Now, back to my book, it is a "for dummy" kind of book that is meant for beginners, and I chose to use COLOR interior to make it easier to read for the readers. This means I have to use the minimum number of pages to describe the ABSOLUTELY critical commands for the readers to learn Scribus in the shortest time and survive.

There are hundreds and maybe thousands of commands in Scribus or any other graphic programs, but you only need to learn a VERY small number of common commands to be able to survive. Once you can do that, you can slowly build up your commands and advance to the next level.  On the commands that I do cover, I repeat them a few times to help the readers MASTER them.

If you give a beginner too much information and too many commands, you WILL scare them off, and they’ll NEVER use Scribus, and you are NOT helping them at all, let alone the advanced features of Scrbus.

For this reason, I did NOT discuss:
1. Issue of “color coverage of up to 400%”:  Unless you make the cover VERY, VERY dark, i.e., a black cat in a black cave, there is almost no chance for a 397% cover. Even for the black cat cover, if you use pure black, you’ll NOT have any problem at all. So for 99.99% of the readers, this is NOT an issue AT ALL. I may add this to a future b/w version of my book for more advanced users.

2. Snap to guide: Snap to guide is important, but the Scribus snap function is so “elementary” or NOT mature when compared with other software. For example, in AutoCAD, you can snap to midpoint, intersection, endpoint, perpendicular point, nearest point, etc. All these choices are not available in Scribus.  Readers can easily play with Scribus and learn this later on their own if they can survive and start to use Scribus. I may add this to a future b/w version of my book for more advanced users.

3. The use of paragraph styles:  Readers can easily learn this later on Scribus this own if they can survive and start to use Scribus. I may add this to a future b/w version of my book for more advanced users.

4. Font sub-setting and its limitations: Readers can easily learn this later on Scribus own if they can survive and start to use Scribus. I may add this to a future b/w version of my book for more advanced users.

5. The minimum resolution of graphic image: The minimum resolution is covered in ALL major book printers’ criteria already. There is NO need to repeat it in my book, and each printer may have different requirements: 300 dpi, or 600 dpi, etc.

6. I did advise to ignore some error messages: The error messages show up because of the book template that I imported, and but these will not affect my book cover design.  I do NOT want to spend a lot of time to go into details for these error messages.

7. I did introduce using jpeg format barcodes as a last resort: I know manytechnical geeks are against this, but I do NOT even give a damp:

You need to enlarge a book to 800% percent to notice any difference. For a book cover, NOBODY will use an enlarged lens to enlarge a book cover to 800% to read the barcodes.

Using jpeg format barcodes as a last resort is EXTREMELY helpful for someone who is learning Scribus by himself/herself, gets stuck with the barcode problem and has nobody to turn to, and has a deadline to meet. This valuable option will save him/her.


Here is the detailed information about our book:

Using FREE Scribus Software to Create Professional Presentations: Book Covers, Magazine Covers, Graphic Designs, Posters, Newsletters, Renderings, and More (Full Color Edition)

ISBN: 9780984374151   

Here is some more info on the book:
http://www.amazon.com/Scribus-Software-Create-Professional-Presentations/dp/0984374159%3FSubscriptionId%3D1QZMGW0RRJC2PX87HDR2%26tag%3Dsalranexp-20%26linkCode%3Dxm2%26camp%3D2025%26creative%3D165953%26creativeASIN%3D0984374159#_


See all our published books at:
http://www.amazon.com/Gang-Chen/e/B001JS00RK/
http://GreenExamEducation.com/


Meho R.:

--- Quote from: aa_gangchen on August 05, 2011, 11:34:54 pm ---...
First of all, we have several suggestions for you and others who have developed and supported Scribus:

1. The help function for Scribus is TERRIBLE: If you do a search with a term on Scribus, it just takes you to one or more websites, and then you have to go thru pages after pages of information, and still can NOT find help for the simple command you need. It is a total waste of user’s time.

Why is it so hard for Scribus to build the basic help command within the program, like AutoCAD, or MS Word?
--- End quote ---
I disagree: Scribus has a decent help, at least for basics. And it is within the program, so I don't know what's the issue here.

--- Quote ---2. The way of generating a PDF/x-1a:2001 compatible file is ABSOLUTELY critical for book cover design, it is the dominant file format for color interior book publishing, b/w interior books can be in other file formats.

This is a MAJOR weakness of Scribus. It is ABSOLUTELY important to tell the readers the easiest way of generating a PDF/x-1a:2001 compatible file with Scribus or how to go around and solve the problem. All other formats, like X-3, etc. will AUTOMATICALLY show up as one of the choices in Scribus.
--- End quote ---
Maybe and maybe not, depends on in what country you live, what kind of printing method is used and a lot of other things.

--- Quote ---If you give a beginner too much information and too many commands, you WILL scare them off, and they’ll NEVER use Scribus, and you are NOT helping them at all, let alone the advanced features of Scrbus.
--- End quote ---
Are you talking about scripter? If not, you should explain what do you mean by "command".

--- Quote ---2. Snap to guide: Snap to guide is important, but the Scribus snap function is so “elementary” or NOT mature when compared with other software. For example, in AutoCAD, you can snap to midpoint, intersection, endpoint, perpendicular point, nearest point, etc...
--- End quote ---
You can try with Blender :) Seriously, I cannot see rationale in comparing Scribus with AutoCAD. Why should we have all these "snap to" options? We're not constructing buildings or machines, but books and magazines, with blocks of text and images. I had some issues with guides in 1.3.3.x version, but not with 1.4.x, nor 1.5.x.

--- Quote ---3. The use of paragraph styles:  Readers can easily learn this later on Scribus this own if they can survive and start to use Scribus. I may add this to a future b/w version of my book for more advanced users.
--- End quote ---
I disagree. Use of styles is recommended way for manipulating text and they should be discussed.

--- Quote ---5. The minimum resolution of graphic image: The minimum resolution is covered in ALL major book printers’ criteria already. There is NO need to repeat it in my book, and each printer may have different requirements: 300 dpi, or 600 dpi, etc.
--- End quote ---
Yet, on mailing list questions about resolution pop up every so often, so you might give it a second thought.

aa_gangchen:
If you talk to people in the book publishing industry, you’ll know the way of generating a PDF/x-1a:2001 compatible file is ABSOLUTELY critical.

A PDF/x-1a:2001 compatible file is mandatory by a few of the large printers that can actually print your books worldwide.

a.l.e:
hi


--- Quote from: aa_gangchen on August 05, 2011, 11:34:54 pm ---Response to Questions about our book, “Using FREE Scribus Software to Create Professional Presentations”

[...]

Now, back to my book, it is a "for dummy" kind of book that is meant for beginners, and I chose to use COLOR interior to make it easier to read for the readers. This means I have to use the minimum number of pages to describe the ABSOLUTELY critical commands for the readers to learn Scribus in the shortest time and survive.

--- End quote ---

having had a look at your book, i would urge you to change its title in "Book Covers with Scribus for Dummies" or "Book Covers with Scribus for Self-publishers", "Creating your first Book Cover with Scribus"...

as someone aldready commented on amazon,  selling it as a general introduction to scribus is misleading. meho's answer is also a mirror of the expectations the titles gives to the readers.

in a few further posts i will try to answer the questions you raised, by keeping an eye on the focus of your book. just one general notice: scribus is not a software thought for creating book covers! personally, i have the feeling that using inkscape (a vector graphic application focused on single page documents) would better fit your goals!

a.l.e:
hi gang chen,


--- Quote from: aa_gangchen on August 05, 2011, 11:34:54 pm ---2. The way of generating a PDF/x-1a:2001 compatible file is ABSOLUTELY critical for book cover design, it is the dominant file format for color interior book publishing, b/w interior books can be in other file formats.

--- End quote ---

scribus already supports PDF/x-1a in its development version (1.5svn).

sadly, it can't be backported to the soon to be released Scribus 1.4.
but, with a bit of luck, we will see a 1.6  version at the end of 2012...

ciao
a.l.e

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