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.

Learning Curve: Vector Drawings

One of the things I’m going to need are scalable vector images. Mostly I’m working with black and white photographs for the book itself, but there are a few things for which I will need vector images.

One is the format for the title of the book. It will include the name of my blog, 5 Acres & A Dream, and I thought that for the cover and title pages, it would be nice to use the same font.

blog_title

I could certainly do this as a jpg image, but if I want to change the size of the image easily, vector would be better than raster, or bitmap, which is what jpeg images are. A vector image is created differently, so that it is easy to change the size, or scale, of the image. A raster or bitmap image is made of pixels, little dots. Because of this, changing sizes of the image also changes its clarity. The larger jpeg images are sized for example, the fuzzier they appear. I could scale the title as a jpg as needed, but it would take more steps.

What I cannot do, is use the font as text, even though my word processor recognizes it. From what I’ve researched, printers use standard fonts, hence this one would not render properly as text. It would be converted to a standard font. As an image, I can get the look I want, which will help keep the book visually consistent with the blog.

The other purpose I have for a vector drawing program, is my publishing identity, Kikobian Books. I need a logo and scalability is a must. I haven’t even started on that, however.

Using a vector drawing program though, is a learning curve for me. Because I use Ubuntu Linux for my operating system, my choices are different than for say, someone who uses Windows or Mac. I have found two such programs, Xara Xtreme and Inkscape, and both are available in the Ubuntu repositories. Xara Xtreme, however, is configured for the Unity desktop, which I do not use. I prefer Xubuntu’s Xfce desktop environment. That means I’ve been concentrating on learning Inkscape.

For the record, here are the best resources for this I’ve found so far:

I’ll add more as I find them.