Scribus Newbe with InDesign Experience

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My application is a classical music program (often called "Playbook", which is a copyrighted term used primarily in New York City).  These have 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch pages and are printed on a very large commercial printing press.  I've created these in Adobe InDesign in the past, and would like to try Scribus. 

Typically, at the start of the concert year the covers are printed on heaver stock (I guess about 30# glossy) in full color, full bleed.  These are printed all at once for all the program runs at the start of the concert year. These are sent to the print shop in press-ready PDF format.

The interior, mostly ads from supporting businesses,  consists of about 16 (always in multiples of 4) pages in black & white, with no-bleed.  These are also printed at the start of the concert year. 

In the center are either 12 or 16 pages, black & white, no-bleed, printed uniquely for each program. The center pages are printed for each concert, and describe the unique features in the concert (guest artist bios, program order, etc.).

Is this the kind of thing I can do with Scribus?  Any suggestions?


If you have a look at the Success Stories section of the Scribus Wiki you'll find all kinds of things that have been created using Scribus. The 2014 page shows a good spread of different products. (Use the menu at the top-right of that page to find many other nice examples.)

In general, if you can put it on a printed page then Scribus can create a PDF with it on for printing. You might find that you need to take some detours into other software - such as GIMP, Inkscape, Krita, etc. - for some things which Scribus can't do internally but Scribus can do most of the heavy lifting - you just need to figure out how to do it.

Probably the most important thing you can do before moving production to Scribus is to create a test page - nothing too complicated, some text, bitmaps, vectors, etc. - and ask your print shop if they can accept PDFs like that created by Scribus. You don't need to get it printed, just ask them if their equipment will accept it.

Some print shops refuse to accept PDFs created by Scribus as their equipment complains that they're not from "acceptable/official" software. As most manufacturers only test their equipment against things like InDesign, Quark, etc. that's all they guarantee it will work with. This is pretty much just an "arse-covering exercise" by the print shop and/or the equipment manufacturer as the PDFs created by Scribus are just as good as those created by other software. (Basically, no-one wants to be liable for potential problems they haven't tested for.)

If you can only use one print shop and they refuse to accept Scribus PDFs then you probably can't use Scribus but this situation is reasonably rare. Best to check first.

If your print shop accepts Scribus PDFs then - unless you have some unusual requirements - you should be able to use Scribus to do whatever you currently use InDesign for. You just have to do things a bit differently.

P.S. There are more detailed discussions on this forum about this sort of thing but you'll have to do some searching to find them.