[scribus] Scribus book review, first impressions.

John Culleton John at wexfordpress.com
Thu Feb 12 18:28:49 UTC 2015

On Sat, 7 Feb 2015 18:41:39 -0500
John Culleton <John at wexfordpress.com> wrote:

> I promised to share my impressions of the new
> book "Use Scribus" by Thomas Ecclestone, an
> Englishman with many technical books to
> his credit. I am a bit at a loss however because
> I am both American and a Linux user. He is
> neither. More seriously his degree is in
> Engineering, mine in English. And I lay out,
> typeset and index books for money.
> I cannot criticize his index because there isn't
> any. A technical book without an index is
> not very useful. And his layout is to my
> eye amateurish. One doesn't both indent each
> paragraph and yet skip a line between them. And
> the indentation is sizable, about 20 points or
> two ems.
> The dedication is page roman numeral one. the
> next page is blank and the following page
> (chapter 1) is numbered with an arabic numeral
> three. That is just sloppiness.
> There is no space skipped between the chapter
> head and the first paragraph, not even the line
> left between paragraphs. But there is plenty of
> space over the head. And yes, that first
> paragraph is indented.
> Ragged right layout is a  chancy choice at best
> and when combined with plentiful small graphics
> scattered here and there the layout is, well
> distracting. 
> I just opened a page at random. It was the last
> page of a chapter, verso and with only one
> paragraph on the page. All right so far. But the
> single paragraph is centered vertically on the
> page. Oy! He lays out each such last page the
> same way, whether recto or verso. Is this a
> British custom?
> How good is the information? Haven't got that
> far. But a book on using a DTP program should
> meet some minimal standard of layout
> correctness and attractiveness. This book's
> interior appearance is, again IMO, not up to
> standard. It sets a bad example for its readers.
> The book only lists at $15.00 discounted
> already to $14.17 on Amazon. And it is updated
> to Scribus 1.4.4. I truly hope the content is
> better than the layout. I'll read some more... 

I have had a chance to browse the content. There
is both good and bad. The author goes through the
install process for MSWindows in great detail,
taking many pages to cover it.  Thus far I have
not found any real howlers in the remainder. He
assumes RGB color model throughout.

There is a lengthy discussion about the merits
of downloading Ghostscript. My recommendation is
to do it in all cases and do it first. 

He never covers steps that I do first for paper documents,
switch to one of the CMYK color palettes,
and  switch from web to print. Even if RGB is
used a fuller palette is desirable. Instead he
discusses picking a color off the color wheel.
I recognize that some European printers
will accept RGB formatted documents but
ultimately printing is a cmyk process. 
One of his graphics shows parts of the
Scribus basic palette which mixes the two color
models and is really too brief to be of much use.

Also the discussion of colors is put last,
whereas I set them up first.

There is a discussion of bezier curves which is
surprising in a book aimed at first timers. 

The requirements of printers for certain pdf
formats is not discussed. In the U.S. it is
almost always pdf X/1-a and in Europe it may
also include X/3.

And then there is a lack of an index.
I may create my own just to make the book
more usable.

Cedric Gemy's book is both older and much more
expensive, but  would still use it in
preference over the Ecclestone book.
It also neglects color palette choices however.

Nobody is perfect. 

John Culleton
Wexford Press
Free list of books for self-publishers:
Updated PDF e-book: "Create Book Covers with
Scribus 1.4.5" coming soon at

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