Advice on Creating Paperbacks

Enthusiast ,
Sep 09, 2022 Sep 09, 2022

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I've been creating epubs / ebooks with a software program called Sigil. I then send the code to a professional who charges $1,000 to turn it into a paperback using InDesign.

However, I can't afford $1,000 per book, and I don't have time to learn how to use InDesign. I was advised to try a program called Atticus, which is supposedly extremely user friendly. In fact, it's anything but. But I noticed that InDesign and Atticus both take you down a path towards creating a PDF file that you upload to your publisher.

So, if I know how to work with HTM and CSS (and PHP), why can't I just code my own PDF without relying on InDesign or another software program?

The first questions I have regard trim size and page breaks. If I want to create a paper back that's 6" X 9", how do I do that with Acrobat? And how do I indicate where a new page is supposed to begin?

It looks like there are countless references regarding converting PDF files to paperbacks, but they're confusing. It looks like a lot of them are designed for amateurs who just want to dump some text into a software program that spits out a book.

Can anyone point me to a good reference or tutorial that's more suitable for people who know how to code and have some basic book design skills?

Thanks.

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Enthusiast ,
Sep 09, 2022 Sep 09, 2022

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Sorry, I guess creating page breaks is a no-brainer.

It looks like the only real question is how to create a PDF that's in a 6" x 9" format.

One possible alternative is to create a div that measures, say 2,000 pixels wide by 3,000 pixels high, which would be the equivalent of a page. I could then chop my book into a series fo 2000X3000 divs, each representing a page and just dump as much text and images into each div as it will hold.

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Community Expert ,
Sep 09, 2022 Sep 09, 2022

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"So, if I know how to work with HTM and CSS (and PHP), why can't I just code my own PDF without relying on InDesign or another software program?"

Because you can't write a PDF by hand as you can do for HTML/PHP file.

It is much more difficult and much more laborious, if only because the PDF format is multi-page, unlike the HTML format.

 

You can send me a private message if you need a quote to turn your books into a paperback using InDesign, I should be about nine times cheaper.

 

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LEGEND ,
Sep 09, 2022 Sep 09, 2022

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"why can't I just code my own PDF without relying on InDesign or another software program?"

I think you underestimage the task, or think that a PDF is somehow like XML or HTML... NOBODY creates a PDF by hand because of the complexity of the task. If you want to start you will first need to spend months studying the PDF specification, a thousand page book. This will make learning InDesign insignificant. PDF files have no text flow or page breaks; each page is made by doing all the text size calculations are placing the text exactly where it will go. And don't get me started on fonts...

 

"It looks like there are countless references regarding converting PDF files to paperbacks" I don't really understand what you mean. Making a book from a PDF can be simple or hard; it depends on the compexity of the book and whether the person making it can read and follow rules exactly.

 

Why not just make the thing in Word? I made a very respectable hardback book with colour pictures recently, and for the interior I just used Word, saved as Adobe PDF, and done! The book printer charged no setup fee. Maybe you need to cast your net wider.

 

 

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