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Nothing too complex. I need a few custom paragraph styles, and here and there a graph or diagram will be interspersed with the text.

I've looked at Scribus, and it seemed suited for my needs... only it runs quite slow, and it's crashed once. I fear it will start crashing / slugging on me halfway through my work. It's not very good at handling lots of text either.

I've also considered LaTex, which I'm only barely comfortable with; but I'm definitely not trusting myself with LaTexing a whole book. I've tried LyX, but found it nowhere near as intuitive as others have.

Really, all I need is something that's a step above Pages and allows for a bit more customization and and easier time working with paragraph styles and graphics.

I am currently writing the book in HTML, broken up into separate files, using some custom tags which I hope the software could be made to read as paragraph styles (it can be done in Scribus via HTML_custom-tag).

It would be good if I was able to import said HTML text directly into the program.

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I think Scribus is the best you will find in the cheap category in terms of general page layout/publishing. LaTeX is powerful, but not really a page layout tool. That said...maybe you could do your layout completely in HTML then print it as a PDF...which could then be brought into a PDF based publishing system/software. –  DA01 Feb 3 '12 at 6:56

2 Answers 2

What's the final delivery method? Print? digital - epub - webpages? all of the above?

For print... if you're looking for fairly cheap on the Mac, you could use Pages. It's not overly robust but will handle most general needs. Then there's always Word/OpenOffice/NeoOffice as well.

FOr digital, ebooks are basically html files merely packaged together. You can look at Calibre for OSX, it's free and builds ebooks from html files. For epub, you may need to invest is something.

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Mostly print. My previous two were 100% text and Pages was enough, though its poor handling of paragraph styles meant more time tinkering by hand than I'd've liked. -- This new one I'm working on involves a few graphs, and I'm a bit weary of its handling of graphical content. –  iDontKnowBetter Feb 3 '12 at 7:11

I would recommend Mellel. It is not free, but it is cheap. I like their approach. The only way to style the text is by creating character styles and paragraph styles that you then use throughout the document. It is how you should work in all word processors, but many, notably Word, tempt you to work in wrong ways that are confusing, cumbersome, and give an inconsistent result. It has many other good points, check it out. It is easy to use and can do a lot.

Tex in some flavor is of course the ultimate solution. It is free, and it can do everything to a high level of typographic quality. But it demands some learning effort if you want to go outside the default solutions.

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