[scribus] Digital distributed magazine on A4 or A5

Bert Driehuis bertd.fpevohf.arg at taw.playbeing.com
Wed Dec 19 19:54:16 UTC 2018

On Wed, Dec 19, 2018 at 7:25 PM Peter Nermander <peter at nermander.se> wrote:

> /Peter
> Den ons 19 dec. 2018 kl 11:17 skrev Peter Roosenboom <peter at midro.net>:
> > I am the editor of a genealogy club magazine. We used to distribute it
> > printed. To reduce the costs we decided to only distribute it as a pdf
> > by e-mail. It was printed in A5. It is not clear to me whether to go on
> >
> While I like Scribus, it is mainly targeted towards printing, and PDF is a
> format mainly intended for printing too. If your readers are not going to
> print, maybe PDF by e-mail is not the best solution to use.
> Also Scribus has a reputation for creating large PDFs (big file size),
> which means for an e-mail you may need to post-process your magazine to
> reduce the file size.
> If it is intended to be read on the screen, I would suggest neither A4 nor
> A5, but a format that is better suited for reading on screen.
> Also if it is intended to be read on the screen, there are a lot if design
> issues to avoid. For example multi column is useless when reading on screen
> (first read to the bottom of the page, then scroll back upp to read second
> column (while avoiding to accidentally scroll to the previous page) before
> going to next page).
> Depending on the number of pages, a HTML e-mail is possibly a better
> apporach.

That really depends on your audience and the amount of control you need
over the final rendering. With HTML, you get no control over things like
hyphenation or the exact layout of text.

Most PDF readers have a mode "fit to windows size" that makes trhe choice
of A4 or A5 a point of little importance. Picking a font size to keep line
lengths reasonable is essential. The PDF that Scribus generates is
perfectly acceptable, depending of course on what you stuff in there. I
generally save PDF's intended for screen viewing with the option to reduce
graphics to 150DPI (incidentally: in e-mail HTML, this is even harder to
get right). If you use SVG or EPS, make sure those are optimized before
importing them into Scribus, and use the "embed EPS (experimental)" option
when saving. Embed or outline all fonts (experiment with both options to
see which compresses best). Make sure you generate "simple" PDF (1.3 work
for my documents and userbase), and tick "Compress Text and Vector
graphics". For most people "Compression  method" Lossy (JPEG") and
"Compression Quality: High" or "Medium" are perfectly acceptable; huge
PDF's usually result from not compressing graphics at all.

The best recommendation is to just try it, and read the generated PDF on as
many devices as you can.

I've done a number of flyers intended for printing with Scribus, and always
made a Web version by just reducing the maximum DPI for graphics. The
resulting sized has always been acceptable, even for slower connections
like GPRS on mobile phones, and it still looks as professional as the print
version. You can shave a couple percent off the size by compressing the PDF
afterwards, but PDF just isn't that compact a format by design so don't
expect wonders there.

These days, some users using 4K displays expect print quality even
on-screen, but if you have them among your readership, make a HiDPI
alternate version for them.

Of course, if going online is an option, you could consider a good CMS with
a responsive layout, but that's an entirely different approach. I'm partial
to Jekyll with forestry.io in that solution space. But, designing good HTML
is even more of a black are than designing a good PDF with Scribus is.

With kind regards,

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