Twenty years of poetry collections from Stephen Brooke. The first of these, PIECES OF THE MOON, was our debut as a publisher. All twelve remain available as print from book retailers everywhere, or as print or free ebooks at the Arachis Press site.
Wednesday, September 13, 2023
We (at last?) have a completely up to date and finished website (arachispress.com). The latest books are up, every print book we offer is directly linked to our own store (though they may be purchased elsewhere), and all the ebooks are now free to download. Yes, there is a page with them all listed, in PDF and EPUB format.
We had given the free thing thought for quite a long time and finally decided we would prefer to have the books read than to hope to make a few dollars now and again. Especially in that we do not deal with Amazon and no longer create Kindle editions. This includes every book by Stephen Brooke, Sienna Santerre, and Oliver Davis Pike.
Saturday, September 9, 2023
2023 marks the tenth anniversary of the publication of Stephen Brooke’s first fantasy novels (or one novel in four parts, if one prefers), the books of Donzalo’s Destiny. We have gone to new typography for the books, and the new versions are now up at the Arachis Press store. It may take a while for the revised editions to show up at other book retailers. Here are links to the print novels:
I. THE SONG OF THE SWORD: https://www.lulu.com/shop/stephen-brooke/the-song-of-the-sword/paperback/product-14mjeen6.html
II. THE SHADOW OF ASAK: https://www.lulu.com/shop/stephen-brooke/the-shadow-of-asak/paperback/product-18kdndrz.html
III. THE SIGN OF THE ARROW: https://www.lulu.com/shop/stephen-brooke/the-sign-of-the-arrow/paperback/product-1mwvn86k.html
IV. THE HAND OF THE SORCERER: https://www.lulu.com/shop/stephen-brooke/the-hand-of-the-sorcerer/paperback/product-1yn2v8g7.html
We are also making downloads of the novels completely free in EPUB and PDF ebook formats:
Monday, September 4, 2023
This summer, we undertook the somewhat ambitious (or at least time-consuming) project of new typesetting for almost all of our books (only one remained untouched). This involved both using a new program and, for most, new fonts. And, of course, each book needed to be proofread, which added considerable time to the process.
The program we used was nothing more than LibreOffice, which is generally known as a word processing app but is also more than adequate for typesetting. Definitely better than Word or anything of that sort, as it was originally designed along the lines of a desktop publishing program. No, it won’t do all the things InDesign or Scribus can but it is completely acceptable for a typical novel.
We also moved away from the Bitstream typefaces in which the majority of our books were set. These were included with the Corel programs we own and use, but the licensing was always a bit nebulous. No one, Corel included, seemed to know whether it was acceptable to use them in print books. Be that as it may, they were also becoming a bit outdated, being all in truetype format; nothing wrong with that, to be sure, but we do appreciate the options offered by opentype.
Not that all the opentype fonts we are using provide those options. Some of our titles now use typefaces from SoftMaker. These are definitely licensed for print books and most, as with Bitstream, are clones of fonts that have been around a while. In many cases, we simply plugged in the SoftMaker alternative to what we had originally used. To be sure, they are never quite the same size and formatting must be adjusted.
But we are definitely moving toward open license fonts for future offerings. These days, there are plenty of perfectly good typefaces available for free, and free to use for anything. One can find quite a few at Google Fonts but it should be recognized the majority of offerings there are geared toward online use, not print. This includes the latest versions of fonts that have been around a while, such as EB Garamond and Crimson—we recommend going to the original projects, rather than the redesigns done specifically for Google.
We have finished this redesign and now comes the process of getting all the new versions up. This is not high priority, as the old versions are (mostly, anyway) well-enough done. But we will replace them over the next few months. More importantly, perhaps, we are also going to put all the ebooks (EPUB and PDF) up on our own site as free downloads. Getting those up should take some time too, as well as removing them from the store (at Lulu). Print will continue to be for sale and distributed to pretty much all booksellers, Amazon included.
Incidentally, we would recommend not buying the Kindle versions we had up at Amazon. It is to be assumed those will disappear eventually.
Wednesday, August 2, 2023
The new and revised edition of Stephen Brooke's picture book, A MOUSE IS IN THE HOUSE, is up at the Arachis Press store: https://www.lulu.com/.../paperback/product-1v9qye8z.html
Most of the changes were improved typesetting. The story and pictures remain the same! We may soon upload PDF versions (both color and b/w) to our site for free (or pay what you will) download.
Monday, July 31, 2023
The open license Linux Libertine typeface is sometimes touted as a Times New Roman replacement, though the two do not look particularly similar. Libertine is more in the style of such mid-20th Century neoclassical designs as Berling and Palatino.
But it is metrically equivalent to Times. That is, the same words in either typeface should take up about the same amount of space on a page. This means Libertine, as Times, is somewhat closely spaced, though it does not tend to look as cramped in long lines of text. We might compare it more to Adobe’s Minion, which is similarly economically spaced (and expresses a similar design aesthetic).
It may be noted that other typefaces also are equivalent to Times New Roman. That was a common goal in the early days of free typefaces, when TNR was ubiquitous both on and off line. The popular Gentium is one of the most successful of these, though it has more of a Goudy-like appearance (to us, anyway).
Is Libertine a decent typeface? Would we use it as book text? The answer must be a definite ‘maybe.’ One can pick at little details of the design but overall we feel it works pretty well. Definitely as well as many commercial fonts available. But, as Palatino, we might be inclined to reserve it for jobs other than novels. Poetry, perhaps—we have employed Gentium effectively for collections, making sure to keep it relatively large and well spaced. These are type faces that need room to breathe, that might look crowded on the page of a typical novel. Or, as with Minion (or even Times), Libertine could be effective in books or magazines with the text laid out in double columns, on wider pages.
This does not mean we would never use it a body text in a novel. We tested replacing the Berling we used in a couple novels with Linux Libertine and it fitted rather well. Yes, and it looked pretty good, too. So perhaps a future novel from Arachis Press will appear set in Libertine; we do intend to move to open license type, after all, and this one should give us no surprises. It can be one of those workmanlike choices we should all have available as a fall-back choice.
And we would be willing to recommend it as a choice for someone new to setting up a novel (or other book). It will work—and it’s way better than Times!
Saturday, July 15, 2023
Today, July 15 2023, is the official release date for Stephen Brooke’s latest fantasy novel, STONES IN THE SEA. Here are the links for print and ebook at our store:
Print should show up retailers 'everywhere' eventually, if it has not already.
We also continue to roll out new editions of our books with revised typesetting. That is a matter of both licensing and improved appearance.