Find the answers to many of your expat questions here

View Latest Posts

You're missing out...

As a member you can enjoy exclusive info and offers.


Which software package to use for a book?

Posted by CaroW-190284 - Created: 16 years ago
0 0
Sorry no image available

10 replies (Showing replies: 1 to 10)

Sorry no image available
Posted by Old Brit - 15 years ago

I use Quark version 4 on an Apple Mac G3 (233 MHz). These computers can be picked up off Ebay for 200 GBP or less. Quark is the big expense and, frankly, I wouldn't buy the very latest version that runs on OSX (I use OS9.2.2).Obviously a Mac is the de facto standard for publishing and is better at handling cross-platform files as well as colour consistency.Adobe InDesign is MUCH cheaper than QuarkXpress and my next "upgrade" is likely to be that, although I've never used it. (It can read Quark files).Another plus point for Macs running OSX is their ability to "print" anything as a PDF file. And of course they don't have problems with "viruses".Note that anything less than a 500MHz G3 will not run OSX. (That's why I'm stuck with OS9.2.2). I would personally recommend a G4/800MHz or better if you do buy a used Mac. Again you can pick up a used one for around £700.

Sorry no image available
Posted by CaroW-190284 - 15 years ago

Thank you for advice.  I had thought about Quark 4 and as you say it is much cheaper.

Thank again everyone!  Caro

Sorry no image available
Posted by Agroinfo - 15 years ago

Hi Caro,

Here is my two cent. For a large publication (such as yours) Quark is the industry standard. Indesign is making ground but when a job is as 'cut an dry' as yours Quark is defo the better option.

Quark does not require 'industry' standard computers as suggested. If you can fit all the pics on the computer then you've no problem as quark will just reference the pic and not embed them (I've had 80 page docs that were under a megabite). You'll still see the image in the layout (good quality if you set preference that way).

But, if you haven't ever prepared a doc for print then I recon you'll have lots of bother, images(CMYK, dpi, tiff etc), font inclusion, collect for output and so on. For a Newbie this would be a nightmare...

So to my suggestion...

Get you text organised, pics numbered and in a folder and hire a Graphic designer (or a Mac Operator as it sound pretty basic and they are cheeper), no need to buy Quark and the designer will spit something like this out in no time, print ready and with a smile (smile is very doubtful)

Hope this helps,


P.S. Go with Quark 4, skip 5 , 6 is new version and is good also.

P.P.S. You'd probably pick up 5 second hand quite cheep as most designers are either going back to 4 or on to 6, and you probably not notice why it's annoying

Sorry no image available
Posted by CaroW-190284 - 16 years ago

From what I can gather Quark does seem to be THE thing to use.  However it is so expensive and I can ill afford it at the moment, but will keep it in mind for further down the line. Thanks caroline

Sorry no image available
Posted by lob-189383 - 16 years ago

i use quark - it's great - not too tricky to use. presumably you just want it to do quick and dirty and not a finished product? if the former then you should get on well with it. it's a very light prog and as it doesn't store images directly in the file you are working on doesn't result in humoungous ram eating docs.

Sorry no image available
Posted by JohnD-185075 - 16 years ago

quote:Framemaker is the odd one out here, as it's designed for "long documents". However, that really means technical documentation (which was also the strength of Corel Ventura - previously Ventura Publisher) so it's the one to use if you need heavily structured paragraphs, endnotes, footnotes, bibliographies and so forth.id=quote>The LaTeX typesetting system is also very good for writing well-structured technical documents, although it requires quite a lot of learning to use it. It's used by professional typesetters, and it's free. See [url="http://www.latex-project.org/intro.html"]here[/url] for a short description.

Sorry no image available
Posted by CaroW-190284 - 16 years ago

Thank you all so much for the very valuable advice.  On reflection I was being rather naive about the whole thing, never having done this sort of thing before.  I wanted to do it myself on my computer, but that isn't feasible.  However doing smaller chunks in Printmaster seems to be okay for the moment.  The photos are in an album and that is working fine.  I was just trying to do the whole thing in one file  (chucking a 200 page book at it as you said!!)  The idea was to do a a certain amount to then be able to show/sell the idea, plus I like to see it myself all laid out nicely in colour - just like it should look!

As you say a publisher/designer will print it using their own software and to find out what format they want it in.   I haven't got that far yet, but am seeing a couple of freinds who have published books in the next few days, for their input!

The whole book is going to take a while, so I shall no doubt learn a lot bewteen here and there!  Even if it never gets printed it will have been a major feat doing it and something I can be proud of, but hopefully it will make it.

Thanks again.


Sorry no image available
Posted by mike-179830 - 16 years ago

You should check first with potential publishers on the format(s) they like for receiving illustrated book submissions. I doubt very much that they expect to (or want to) be sent a fully designed and laid-up book. Standard procedure - as far as I know - is to send the photos as a numbered portfolio of photographs and the text as a separate, double-spaced document, with specific relationships between illustrations and text described by annotations.

Once the book is accepted, the publisher (or, rather, a designer employed by the publisher) will lay it up using whatever software is most appropriate.

Assuming that the publisher does want the manuscript designed (or if you simply want to get a big pile of digital images more eatly organised), if your computer is "struggling under the weight of the photos", I suspect you're trying to produce the book as a single document. Whatever software you use - Quark, InDesign, Pagemaker, probably even Printmaster... - you want to break it up into managable chunks, even if its natural structure isn't one of actual chapters. Most page layout software is optimised for short magazine articles (under 10 pages) and can be a bit unweildy if you try to chuck a 250-plus page book at them.

Framemaker is the odd one out here, as it's designed for "long documents". However, that really means technical documentation (which was also the strength of Corel Ventura - previously Ventura Publisher) so it's the one to use if you need heavily structured paragraphs, endnotes, footnotes, bibliographies and so forth.


Sorry no image available
Posted by TonyP-191937 - 16 years ago

Have you considered photoalbum software?  Something like http://www.desktopauthor.com/

A google on photoalbum software will throw up a lot more.

They dont have all the possibilities of the high end publishing systems, but they are quite good for combining a lot of photos with some text, and are not too expensive.



Sorry no image available
Posted by CaroW-190284 - 16 years ago

Thank you Collie 21 and Gerbil for your input.  I gave the matter more thought last night and this morning and have to agree with you both.  QuarkExpress is probably the one, but it is very expensive and a steep learning curve - which I was prepared to do (things are quiet here in the winter!).  At least in England one can go to evening classes, but here is St Tropez they don't exist unfortunately!

I think my project is going to be far to big for my computer with thousands of photos, and I am going to have to save them to CD, and probably just do the text on the computer.  It is rather nice though to see the photo and text set out on the page........ but never mind!  I shall give it more thought and maybe just do a few pages at a time, print them - so I can see the overall picture, whilst still saving photos to CD and text in Word or something.

I do have Serif Page Plus somewhere from a 6 years ago but am not sure if it will run with Windows XP.

Anyway thanks again.  At least it is all a bit clearer in my mind now!