[scribus] Question from a complete newbie

Gregory Pittman gpittman at iglou.com
Tue Feb 14 15:55:51 UTC 2017

On 02/13/2017 07:52 PM, Dave Brzeski & Jilly Paddock wrote:
> Having looked at the price of InDesign & reeled in shock, I looked for an alternative. Scribus looks
> great. I already use Apache OpenOffice, so I'm used to Open Source software.
> What I'm looking to learn to do is format books for ebook & paperback editions. I don't really fancy
> doing it on the CreateSpace website & I definitely don't fancy their charges for doing it for you.
> I picked up a copy of the Scribus 1.3.5 Beginner's Guide by Cedric Geary and was a little worried
> when I read in the preface that Scribus was ideal for helping create business card, brochures,
> newsletters, magazines & catalogues, but books aren't mentioned. Is Scribus up to the task of laying
> out paperback books and are there any limitations I need to know about going in?

The comments already sent are generally pretty good advice. One place to
look for examples of what people have done is in the Success Stories
series on the wiki:


You will see a wide variety of books and other tasks people have managed
over the years. Christoph Schäfer and I also managed to get out the
official Scribus manual in 2009, a 400-page book using Scribus for the
layout. Christoph did the layout for the book. For ease of
collaboration, we started out writing the manual on a wiki, after which
he imported that to openoffice writer so that he could create and apply
styles. These ODT files were then imported to Scribus for the final
layout of the book, using version

The problem with trying to transform something in Scribus to an ebook is
the very different nature of the two end-products. PDFs rather rigidly
control the structure of a document and placement of objects, whereas in
an ebook, such as epub or mobi, there is a flexibility that is built-in
since what you see depends on the device you are viewing it on. In
particular, images can be very problematic. There is certainly the
possibility of viewing a PDF on a tablet or other device, though my
experience is sometimes good, sometimes not so good as far as the
comfort and ease of reading.

As someone stated, Sigil is a very good tool for creating epubs, and you
can use Calibre to transform an epub to mobi format. A little script I
wrote recently, run from inside Scribus, would create a text file with a
list of all the text and image frames in a document, with their
respective page numbers. The image frames also include the filename for
each image, so this could be a reference for making something in Sigil:


There is also another script that includes the text from the various frames:


As far as text searchability, the only issue that might come from
Scribus would be if the glyphs are outlined (turned into vectors),
rather than embedded, and sometimes you may be compelled to outline.

Recent versions of Scribus have image caching, which helps with the
slowness of editing that was especially problematic in the past, causing
people to break up their documents into smaller sub-documents, then
joining the resulting PDFs together later. For a large book with a lot
of images, you may still need to do this.


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