On printing via Blurb’s PDF to Book: Part 2

Tyler with Chicken, originally uploaded by Eric Jeschke.

Key: R20090612-133201

As I reported earlier, I uploaded two PDFs of my SoFoBoMo book Chickens, Anyone? to Blurb to try and utilize their new PDF to Book service. Yesterday I got back an email that directed me to their web site, and reporting that the PDFs were not the proper size. I checked the size tonight using the Document Properties of the Mac version of Adobe Acrobat Reader, assuming that would give me as accurate information as any. Sure enough, the sizes were wrong. Turns out I had made an assumption about the function of the “trim box” parameters on the PDF/X-3 export dialog under Scribus. I had assumed that Scribus would add some extra trim (defined by the L, R, T, B parameters) to the exported document. Uh-uh. The document gets exported as the size you defined in the Document Setup. Ok, makes sense, I guess. These trim parameters must just set some metadata in the exported PDF.

So, back into Scribus I go to adjust the size by a smidgen larger and wider in both the cover and the book.  Fortunately, I’m getting real good at this now, because it’s mindless work.  Only you can’t be completely unmindful of it, or you will make a mistake and have to go through it all again. Now I’m even more tempted to try the TeX layout!

This time it only took 15 minutes or so of tweaking and then two more PDFs were wending their way up to Blurb.  This time the “preflight check” was very fast, and in a matter of a couple minutes I got back another email saying that the text PDF was ok, but the cover was still off.  I checked it again and it was the right size.  I hazarded a guess that maybe with the extra blank pages at the front and back that Blurb throws in that I needed to make it a smidgen wider, so I widened it by .01 inch, regenerated the PDF and uploaded that and the same text block PDF back up to Blurb.  Bingo!  2 minutes later the preflight check passed for page count, PDF/X-3 compliance, size and image resolution.  “Your book is ready to be ordered”.  A couple of clicks later and my order was confirmed.  Priority mail, “3-5 business days”.

Let’s see, add about 3-4 days for Hawaii… I should have part 3 of this report up in about a week, give or take a little, when the book is in my hands.

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