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Thread: Textbooks

  1. #1
    Brad D is offline Newbie
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    Default Textbooks

    Hi there.

    If I wanted to make and publish a textbook, what computer programme should I use? I'd like to just use MicrosoftWord. A manager, a biology major who didn't even speak an L2, told me to use Excell. I'm not sure I believe that individual. Someone who had a degree in journalism told me to use something called Publisher. That sounded more professional, but is that what I need for a textbook or a magazine?

    Also, what do you think the dimensions should be? Does Europe use A4 paper sizes? Does China? Should I leave a larger margin on the left side so as to leave room for the binding? Should there be an even number of pages, based on a series of four? (That means, if I have only two pages, there will be two blank pages somewhere, and if I have three pages, there will be one blank page somewhere).

    I know, the pretentious will say, "pick up a textbook and look at it." I understand that. It's been done. However, if you'll notice, there are different sized books with different margins et cetera. I need to know what a publisher would be more likely to accept, as well as what sizes would be more likely to be used in the emerging markets like China and the Arabian Pennisula. Also, you can't always tell what computer program was used, and I'm guessing that some publishers will only accept a "professional" format. I just don't think that MicrosoftWord would be considered "professional." So, please give sound advice.

    Thanks for the info,

    Brad D

  2. #2
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Textbooks

    Write the content first. In Word.

    The page layout would be handled by a publisher.

  3. #3
    Brad D is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Textbooks

    Thanks for the info! That gives me a little sigh of relief!

    Maybe I should let you understand my dilemma a bit more.

    I had a hard time composing the book(s) on screen. It's a pretty tight book, so if you make a change on page one, it affects multiple other pages in a chapter. Scrolling back and forth was a nightmare. So, I wrote the thing out by hand. That way, I was able to just flip to another page, scratch something out and rewrite it. That sped things up a lot.

    I'm pretty much done with the content; I have about 400 pages written out. That's why I'm looking for the formating issues. I started to put it in on Word and found that weird things started to happen. I didn't think about different fonts and fonts sizes. Again, I only have so much room per page for a given activity. Changing the margins changes the number of lines I have to write the reading portion, the number of sentence completion exercises I can put on a page, the size/number of pictures per page etc.

    So, I guess I didn't explain myself well the first time. Well, I'm now using eight and a half by eleven inch paper. I have a three-quarter inch margin on the left, and an inch at the top and half inch on the right and bottom. There is a header for each page which sits in the upper margin. Should I realistically be using A4 size paper with centimeters? Again, this changes much of the information that I can put in each chapter.

    I really want to get this book going. I'd like to see some action on it by 2015, so I have only a year to finish it. I'm looking for the Saudi, Persia, China market. Does anyone know of a publisher that would lend me some advice on the matter? Is there a website that would have such information?

    Thank you so much!

    Brad D

  4. #4
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Textbooks

    I'm afraid I don't understand your problems. If you think of Word or any similar thing as simply a typewriter that puts what you have written on the screen rather than on paper, there's not much that can go wrong.

    You can, of course do all sorts of things with Word that you can't do with an old-fashioned typewriter, but you don't have to.

    As SD said, leave your publisher to worry about layout. All you need to worry about is the content.

    In your profile, you say you are an academic. Haven't you used used Word or something similar to write papers, lecture notes, etc?
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  5. #5
    Gillnetter is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Textbooks

    Quote Originally Posted by Brad D View Post
    Hi there.

    If I wanted to make and publish a textbook, what computer programme should I use? I'd like to just use MicrosoftWord. A manager, a biology major who didn't even speak an L2, told me to use Excell. I'm not sure I believe that individual. Someone who had a degree in journalism told me to use something called Publisher. That sounded more professional, but is that what I need for a textbook or a magazine?

    Also, what do you think the dimensions should be? Does Europe use A4 paper sizes? Does China? Should I leave a larger margin on the left side so as to leave room for the binding? Should there be an even number of pages, based on a series of four? (That means, if I have only two pages, there will be two blank pages somewhere, and if I have three pages, there will be one blank page somewhere).

    I know, the pretentious will say, "pick up a textbook and look at it." I understand that. It's been done. However, if you'll notice, there are different sized books with different margins et cetera. I need to know what a publisher would be more likely to accept, as well as what sizes would be more likely to be used in the emerging markets like China and the Arabian Pennisula. Also, you can't always tell what computer program was used, and I'm guessing that some publishers will only accept a "professional" format. I just don't think that MicrosoftWord would be considered "professional." So, please give sound advice.

    Thanks for the info,

    Brad D
    You are getting ahead of yourself. Your task is to write the book. The publisher will take care of how the content fits on the paper. Even if you use a vanity press (pay for the publishing yourself), the publisher will do the actual formatting. MS Word is the usual platform for this type of work. Publisher is too limited for such a project.

  6. #6
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Textbooks

    Brad D, please give correct information in your profile.

  7. #7
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Textbooks

    Quote Originally Posted by Brad D View Post
    Does Europe use A4 paper sizes? Does China
    Porstmann’s DIN paper-format concept was convincing, and soon introduced as a national standard in many other countries, for example, Belgium (1924), Netherlands (1925), Norway (1926), Switzerland (1929), Sweden (1930), Soviet Union (1934), Hungary (1938), Italy (1939), Uruguay (1942), Argentina (1943), Brazil (1943), Spain (1947), Austria (1948), Romania (1949), Japan (1951), Denmark (1953), Czechoslovakia (1953), Israel (1954), Portugal (1954), Yugoslavia (1956), India (1957), Poland (1957), United Kingdom (1959), Venezuela (1962), New Zealand (1963), Iceland (1964), Mexico (1965), South Africa (1966), France (1967), Peru (1967), Turkey (1967), Chile (1968), Greece (1970), Simbabwe (1970), Singapur (1970), Bangladesh (1972), Thailand (1973), Barbados (1973), Australia (1974), Ecuador (1974), Columbia (1975) and Kuwait (1975). It finally became both an international standard (ISO 216) as well as the official United Nations document format in 1975 and it is today used in almost all countries on this planet, leaving North America as the only remaining exception. In 1977, a large German car manufacturer performed a study of the paper formats found in their incoming mail and concluded that out of 148 examined countries, 88 already used the A series formats then. [Source: Helbig/Hennig 1988]
    A4 paper format / International standard paper sizes

  8. #8
    Brad D is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Textbooks

    Hi colleagues!

    Thank you so much for the info. It's been a big help. I was at a crossroad, and I didn't know how to go on. I really appreciate the advice. I think I know what I need to do now!

    Brad D

  9. #9
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    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Textbooks

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post


    In your profile, you say you are an academic. Haven't you used used Word or something similar to write papers, lecture notes, etc?
    Brad D - I, too, would be interested to know the answer to 5jj's question.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  10. #10
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Textbooks

    I'd also like to know if you are really in Japan as your profile says you are.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


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