Progress On The PDF/X-1a:2001 Problem

I have been researching this problem, and still have not found a solution for Linux. I did begin to browse the Serif forums, regarding PagePlus’s ability to create  PDF/X-1a:2001 files. There are some who’ve had problems with the metadata when trying to upload their PagePlus  PDF/X-1a:2001s to Lightning Source. That’s something I need to research further. Is there a workaround? Can I edit the metadata? How? Does it apply to PagePlus version 6 as well as version 5?

Another concern was whether or not I would have to reformat the entire book interior in either Acrobat Pro or PagePlus. This would have been discouraging because I’ve already done it in LibreOffice. I did discover that LO can export files in the .ps format, from which the PDF/X-1a:2001 files are made. That was a 1+ discovery. Since I’ve learned about metadata, however, I’d better make sure these are the same.

Another question is, how necessary is  PDF/X-1a:2001 for a black and white manuscript? This particular pdf format is used for color images, which must be CMYK for printing, rather than RGB, as is the case for digital. Every now and then I read about some exception to LSI’s  PDF/X-1a:2001 rule, which was successfully accepted, but no further information is provided.

This brings up another problem, i.e. changing all my RGB images to CMYK. The Gimp can do it, but requires details I am still unsure of.

I appear to have my research cut out for me. In the meantime, I am working on finishing up the front matter. I’m also getting ready to do an aloud read-through, to see if I can catch anything I messed up while adding photos and formatting the pages. Then I’ll work on adding page numbers to the index. I still have to do a cover as well. It’s been designed in my head, but hasn’t been created yet. I still seem to have a ton of work to do, yet the end is in sight.

The Problem With PDF/X-1a:2001

The problem, for me, is that it is an industry standard for accepting pdf manuscripts for printing. This of itself isn’t too bad, but, apparently, there is only one very few pdf makers that have the capability to create PDF/X-1a:2001 documents.  Adobe Acrobat Professional has been the only one for quite awhile. So, for printers such as Lightning Source Ingram, one must also purchase the Adobe program.

This is not only expensive, but, I confess, a bit disappointing. I was hoping to publish my book entirely with open source software.  This doesn’t appear meant to be.

I did read about one Linux user who managed to do it with Scribus 1.5, which apparently can export in PDF/X-1a:2001. I discovered, however, that this version is still in the testing stage, which isn’t an option for me.

The other alternative, seems to be Serif PagePlus x5. There is also an x6, which being new is, of course, more expensive. This option means an operating system decision. I currently use Xubuntu Linux, which I love. I did keep Windows 7 as a dual boot, so that’s an option. I also have an old XP machine which would need dusting off. Alternatively I could try a Virtual Machine within Xubuntu. Apparently, PagePus does not run under Wine.

Actually, I used PagePlus exclusively as a DTP back in my Windows days. It is very user friendly and much less expensive than the big name programs. Since there is no Linux version, I’ve been taking a look at Scribus. Very nice, but not so simple to learn and doesn’t seem to meet my pdf needs.

So. That’s where things stand at the moment.

So. To Create A Table of Contents, I Must Learn to Make A Table. Duh.

I’ve become a stickler for formatting. Everything must be just so. After doodling around with a table of contents in the word processor, trying to smooth out slightly uneven edges, it finally occurred to me that what was needed was a table.  Oh joy, another learning curve, albeit a small one.

Some might suggest I create it in a spreadsheet first, and import it to my word processor, but that would likely be a steeper curve. Am I getting lazy in my old age???

Fiddly Details = Slow Progress

In what I would like to think of as being one of the last steps, I am currently adding page numbers. It’s turned out to be a fiddly process, in regards to formatting. Adding the page numbers within the printer’s required margins throws my previous meticulous formatting off.

I’m trying to keep a consistent appearance throughout the book, taking care that things like spacing between photos or captions and text is the same. Spacing between page numbers and text is less consistent, though I notice from all the books I’ve inspected, this is common.

As a reader, I’ve never noticed things like that before. Now, as I build my own book, I take great notice. Now, it’s important to me.

Contemplating A Kindle Edition

Even though I’m primarily interested in publishing a paperback version of my book, I recently looked into the possibility of a Kindle version. What I’ve learned is that books on Kindle are best if they have no, or few illustrations. I have something like 130 photographs, plus nearly a dozen diagrams, so a Kindle edition wouldn’t work well, I don’t think.