Best publishing software for less than Quark or InDesign?

in Mac Software edited January 2014
Here's my situation: My dad is in his 60's, and really wants to buy a publishing program to do some things for a small business that he's trying to get started and book that he wants to publish. I don't deny that he needs some sort of publishing software.

The issue is that he's looking at going all-out and buying Quark Xpress or Adobe InDesign to do this stuff. I'd prefer he not, because I think those programs are way out of his league feature-wise (trust me, he'll never do more than just the basics in the programs), and I don't want him spending oodles of money on this software if there's a possibility that he won't be able to recoup the costs with the projects he's doing.

Is there some sort of publishing software out there that is less expensive and less involved than the two mentioned earlier? If I can find him a program that's around $200USD or less that is still pretty good and easier to learn than Quark or Adobe's products, I'd love to recommend that to him instead.

He has an 800Mhz FP G4 iMac with 768MB RAM and OS 10.2.8 -- although I'm going to upgrade that to Panther very shortly. I appreciate all your help with this. I really think my Dad can do some cool stuff and is capable of learning a program with some good features, but I also really think that Quark XPress or Adobe InDesign are over the top.


  • Reply 1 of 6
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    One that I like that's less "publishing" oriented and more for general use (web, print, illustration, etc.) is Create from Stone Design. It's $150 by itself, Cocoa so it inherits a lot of Apple APIs like fonts, colors, Address Book support, and so on. It needs a bit of polishing, and some of us are helping in that regard, but it's a good app for the price, has a really responsive developer (look at the forums at for example), and you never have to pay for an upgrade once you buy it. You can download a 30-day trial version to see if it fits the bill.
  • Reply 2 of 6

    I would think that in-order to decide what program to purchase you will need to consider what is your father going to do with his book? Is it going to be published by a professional printer or is it more like something that they print and put together at Kinkos? Maybe he is just planning on printing it out on his desktop printer? Also I would think the number of pages would come into play as well.

    If he isn't going to have his book printed professionally I don't see why AppleWorks or something similar would work. Or do you need something more powerful than AppleWorks?
  • Reply 3 of 6
    cosmonutcosmonut Posts: 4,872member
    Actually, right now it's all in Word. I shudder when I look at the fancy formatting they're trying to do in it, when a publishing app would be much better.

    I think he'd like to get it professionally published, but will really only do the Kinko's thing. It's hard to say.
  • Reply 4 of 6
    cowerdcowerd Posts: 579member
    Getting a book published and using DTP software are not the same thing. Many publishers have strict guidelines for submitting manuscripts. Most guidelines do NOT include playing with a DTP app as a pre-requisite. If the ms. has strong visuals [photos etc] then they are included. Realistically most authors do NOT have any say in the visual design of books--unless they are well known.

    So if he's serious about the book...get him to stop playing with DTP.
  • Reply 5 of 6
    trowatrowa Posts: 176member
    Canvas is another program that is all in one. It's a good enough program, although it costs $349.99

    You may want to look into corel's graphic suite as well.

    Gimp would be another alternative if you want free applications, although it may be a headache to install and teach your father how to use it.
  • Reply 6 of 6
    Readiris Pro9 looks o.k.

    And they have it at the Apple Retail Store for $129.95

    Just another choice.
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