Using Scribus 1.3.9 for Books

We have settled on using Scribus 1.3.9 to build our first book. This is being used on both Windows and Linux. To speed up editing time we have installed a new Ubuntu (10.10 desktop) based server and our editor uses Remote Desktop from their laptop to access this new server.

To make a “book” we have created templates for a “chapter” which is preset to around 21 pages long with linked text frames and preset picture frames. The text was edited in OpenOffice/LibreOffice and then imported into each chapter file in Scribus using the Scribus importer. Thus spell checking and paragraphing was done in OO/LO. Do not do special font layouts e.g. drop caps or pagination or illustrations in OO/LO. Leave the layout work for Scribus.

In this template we have made 3 master pages, the chapter first page (which is a right page), the chapter right page (i.e. odds) and the chapter left page (i.e. evens).

The page sizes and guides are as per our desired printer recommendations for the book size we have chosen.

There are 4 styles added, Chapter Title (on right/odd pages), Book Title (on left/even pages), Page Number, Main body paragraph.

The scrapbook also includes two items – a left and a right page text frame.

You cannot make a “book” per se in Scribus as it is slow with page counts over 30-50 pages but you can create individual chapters. You then use pdftk to concatenate the chapters into the single PDF file that you send to your printer.

So the work flow is,
Firstly – type your book in OpenOffice/LibreOffice (OO/LO) as one chapter per file and choose your illustrations (if needed). You must have a book on its final draft else you are wasting your time starting to use Scribus. Get the book text right in OO/LO where it doesn’t matter about precise layout and then jump to Scribus.

1 – Create each Scribus chapter file from template importing the (final draft) text and illustrations,
2 – Identify final length of each chapter and update section page start number in Scribus trimming off unneeded pages from template (or adding extras).
3 – Record chapter number and update Index with chapter page start number.
4 – Update total page count in Title Page verso and your ISBN/CIP.
5 – Finalise Title pages with ISBN and create 1 x PDF.
6 – Finalise Colophon (if used) and create 1 x PDF.
7 – Save all chapters as many x PDF files.
8 – Concatenate with pdftk all PDF files into one large file.
9 – Print local draft and check for errors.
10 – Finalise Cover page with ISBN and create separate title page PDF.
11 – Send these two PDF files to the printer.

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