Monday, September 4, 2023

New Editions

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 Be that as it may, they were also becoming a bit outdated, being all in truetype format; nothing wrong with that, to be sure, but we do appreciate the options offered by opentype.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.

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