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BookWright needs a lot more work

I've been using BookSmart but noticed the new BookWright app and thought I would give it a spin. To me it's been released prematurely as it seems to lack feature parity to BookSmart.

My #1 complaint would be importing photos into it. In BookSmart you can import a folder of images but BookWright wants you to do that individually! What sort of craziness is that?

Closely followed by the lack of external proofing. In BookSmart you can print to PDF and then share that PDF to get more eyes helping you proof the book but BookWright only has an internal preview which means no remote sharing of the workload.

Layout also has a number of shortcomings. Firstly there is a lack on templates compared to BookSmart. When you drop an image into a container it gets this wide border that makes it harder to place the image when you want an edge of the image next to the edge of the container. One day there might be templates with containers that match the ratios of an image.

There appears to be no way to set the page header or change the footer. I also have no idea what font is used for the page number.

You need more templates with provision for captions. Having a mechanism to use metadata in the image as a caption would be good.

You only supply one two page spread and it's a full bleed unlike most of your other templates. You should be consistent and include at least one two page template with white space like the other templates.

Mark Prior

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I have to agree with Mark.  I expected BookWright to be everything BookSmart was and more.   I admit, I love the ease in drawing my own photo and text boxes and the alignment markers are a fantastic and welcomed feature.  But we should be able to import a folder of pictures, print to PDF and more templates.  Caption boxes are important to me.  Perhaps selecting a drop down after a right click inside a box could automatically create a caption box below w or w/o automatically populating it with image metadata.

Headers and footers are very important to me.  I'm sad to see that I can not use the wonderful draw and alignment tools because I have to use BookSmart to get headers and footers.  Can we create a book in BookWright and then open it in BookSmart to add Headers, Footers and Ornaments?

Having a larger selection of ornaments than even BookSmart had would be nice.

Having an auto index feature would be really nice.  Creating an index automatically by just clicking on key words would be great.  A tool for marking chapter pages that synced with a TOC page - (no matter if you added pages in between) would be nice.

A wide selection of image border/framing would be helpful as well.

I love the new ISBN features and the ability to sell to Amazon.  However, I'm not sure why Trade Books aren't included in the formats that can be sold on Amazon.  I have one that would be ideal to sell on Amazon. 

David Bindle 0 voti
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I agree with a number of things Mark & David talk about here.  I've been using BookSmart for many years now, and am quite excited about BookWright. It's new---and I've seen so many incredible improvements to BookSmart that I have no doubt those won't be too long in coming to BookWright.  I am thrilled about  the flexible formatting possibilities in BW,  and the addition of  free ISBN numbers is fantastic.  However,  I'm also experiencing a bit of frustration with things like page numbers  and image placement, although the alignment guides are helpful there. To import a group of images from iPhoto, I simply go to the album I want and select all the images (if I move the ones I want together in the album, it's easy to do this)  and all of them get imported into BookWright at once.  I'd also like to see borders for images AND for text boxes.  Of course I can add simple borders to my images in PSE, but then they can't be changed. 

 

Caroline Trippe 0 voti
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All these ideas are good but I feel even more is needed. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE add the ability to specify a default font for a book file. For some strange reason, a text container always defaults to Arial WGL. There is no logic to this.... it is not even the first font in the list! Also, if there are multiple book files available, the Welcome screen displays them  with a thumbnail of the first page with the title and last save date beneath each thumbnail but all run together from file to file. Very hard to read!

Barbara9517 1 voto
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So far the only reason I have for using BookWright is the magazine format and that could have just as easily been added to BookSmart. As for the rest of the improvements the same applies.

The inability to proof is ridiculous - how could any one expect to layout a book well without proofing!

The need to upload pics one at a time is tedious and unnecessary -esp if you intend to use them more than once.

Why would you create a new system the can't import work from the old system. I have work that would benefit from from BookWright but I have to rebuild from scratch.

Why go through the effort of making something new and then crippling it right out of the box.

Kierk Ashmore-Sorensen 0 voti
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Question, I just made a book with bookwright and I want to choose the paper other than the standard paper. Has anyone figured out how that can be done? or are all the books made with bookwright must default to the standard paper and have no other choice? thanks.

juudewong 1 voto
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juudewong - Paper choice happens under the "cover" selector. Paper choice impacts spine width / cover layout. When you go to Covers there is a dropdown that asks what paper you want.

Kierk Ashmore-Sorensen -1 voti
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I agree with all the above comments. I published two books with Booksmart, two with Bookify and one with bookwright. Bookwright is the most disappointing. The images on my last published book should be the best as they were taken by a friend whose camera and techniques are 10 times better than mine. Yet the result is that all the images are not as sharp as the original photos. I felt very apologetic to my friend as it is unfair to him who co-authored this book with me.
Friendlytm 0 voti
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In response to Friendlytm's omplaint about images not being as sharp as originals....what paper did you choose?  Would that make any difference?   I'm concerned about this because I've always used standard paper with Booksmart, and it was fine---I'm hoping to put some of my books  BW on Amazon, but I'm counting on them being of the same quality as the Booksmart books, and I also want to control the price point. I haven't yet ordered one of my BookWright projects---the proof will be in the pudding.

Caroline Trippe 0 voti
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To answer Caroline: the paper in all my books are premium , luster finish, hardcover with dust jacket. I don't have images problem before my last publication.
Friendlytm 0 voti
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Friendlytm---Have you asked the support staff about this?   Could this have been a one-time issue?   I would like  to know whether the same printing company (or companies) are used for the BW books as for the BookSmart books---I had assumed they would be-----and also whether anyone else has who has yet  published a BW book has noticed a difference in image quality.  I am almost ready to upload one of my BW books, which I've had to re-do from BookSmart, so  at some point I will also have a standard of comparison, and will certainly let everyone know---for better or worse.  Because image  quality is crucial.   

Caroline Trippe 0 voti
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Caroline : yes, I did. They asked me to take a pix and send it back . I will follow up and see what happens.
Friendlytm 0 voti
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Hello, the results of investigation from Blurb is that the photos are too low of a quality, which I did not accept. The photos of this book are the best comparing from my other books, as they were taken by a friend who co authored with me. His camera and skills are -10 times better than mine. As one of you said we expect everything in Booksmart plus more. Besides the photos, there are other glitches too like the page number suddenly appeared in the middle etc. As one of you said, Blurb had made lots of improvements but Bookwright needs more work,
Friendlytm 0 voti
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Hi Friendlytm---when you load an image onto a page in either BookWright or Booksmart,  a Warning (yellow triangle) pops up if the resolution is too low.  Sometimes all you need to do is reduce the size of the image  on the page ---I believe a minimum of 332 dpi is acceptable.  Above that is OK,  below---you won't have good quality. Even if the image looked really good to you on the screen,  enlarging it  above 332 dpi will cause loss of quality when it prints.   Both BS & BW tell you whether your image will print to your expectations.  Just wondering if you noticed any of these warnings in your book. Even though your friend may have a better camera, skills, etc. if you enlarged them too much, that could have been the problem. Just a suggestion.

Caroline Trippe 0 voti
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Thank you, caroline. I know exactly what you meant but I never attempted to increase the size of the potosi. All the pix are fine with the ebook version which I have no complaints. Only the printed book has problem.
Friendlytm 0 voti
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Hi Friendly tm, I would definitely want to ask whether ebooks aren't a  sort of a "different animal" from printed books, with regard to how your images are going to look on a screen vs. on a hard copy page.  If ebooks are viewed in a smaller format for instance, they are probably going to look better than an 8 x 10 book.  I only do printed books, so my concern is with the printing. That's where flaws show up that you may not see on the screen.

Caroline Trippe 0 voti
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Thank you, Caroline. I like ebook myself and did have ebook version of all my published books. More people tend to read ebooks nowadays. iBookstore is a popular site for ebook lovers. But you may be right. The images on ebooks depend on many factors. Very often the device you used matters. But my problem is that I don't have problems when I used booksmart or bookify. I will try these two again and use similar images, and see what will happen,
Friendlytm 0 voti
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Two comments:

No headers and no footers - I have to say this is a show stoppers for me.

I would like to spread a photo across the whole cover back, front and the spin.  With panorama pictures becoming common this would enhance the book greatly.

Shame about the headers and footers as the interface has a number of improvements.

Alan Totten 0 voti
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Does anyone know if any of these features have been added in more recent releases? Thanks!

juleea 0 voti
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BookWright has some nice features, but I don't think it's ready for prime time. For example

  • It lakes even the simplest formatting options, such as paragraph indents and bullets
  • When I add hyperlinks and then save the file, BookWright decides I must want blue print throughout - albeit inconsistently. It turns some chapters blue, leaves others black
  • Headers and footers - no control over pagination so no way of giving roman numerals to introductory material. The first blank page is #1 and on through the end. No control over running heads. Assign a header, and it's the same throughout the entire book, with no way of tweaking.
  • It's a real plus to be able to assign an ISBN, and it would be ideal to be able to create a good-looking iBook (and Kindle!!) as well as a print version, but right now it appears only Scrivener can manage that, with its editable compile function.
  • I like the flexibility in layouts and being able to set the book up the way I want it, but I've just wasted a week formatting one book that crashed and could not be resurrected, even with backup copy, and a second that won't work because of the above reasons. Very disappointing, given previous happy experiences with other Blurb software.
Cathryn Wellner 0 voti
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Bookwright is a pain in the neck. Blurb says it#s for heavy text books. What a joke. Who wants/can edit a long text in a slit just 4 lines high???

I wrote the text in word, exported to rtf , imported to BW only to see that formatting,fonts etc. are not possible. How to change? NO help on that.

Strated fiddling with the text boxes and the whole thing crashes.

It took virtually years until Blurb turned the crappy booksmart into what it is now. Again same story?? Sorry about this angry comment but I am entirely fed up with using half cooked software-projects. I might take the step to go for publishing on Amazon sooner or later. If Blurb does not offer a feasable tool short term i.e. wihtin the next 6 months I will leave this platform.

Edition Handdruck 0 voti
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Why can I sort photos by date shot in BookSmart but not in BookWright? I thought I would try this new software out, but I think I'm just going to use BS instead since I've already adjusted to its quirks over the years. Rather than go through the learning curve of using this new product that is apparently not ready for primetime.

Glenn Auve 0 voti
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I am sorry, but this is just a horrible piece of software. Playing around with text formating and placement is central to what I do and this is clearly going to be a nightmare. I am not going to bother. What is good is not having to bother with setting up safe areas, and bleeds etc, in other software which I find a pain. Very disappointing.

secretmind 0 voti
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Having used Booksmart for several years now I can't but agree that BookWright is bug-ridden and much more effort than it's worth.  Maybe I'll try again in six months time, but for now I'll carry on with Booksmart.

TonyRuberry 0 voti
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      I've also used BookSmart for years and recently (as soon as it came out)  switched to BookWright.  There was a bit of a learning curve at first,  I  still find many things to like about BW.  Let's not forget, Both BS & BW are "Beta" softwares, they are FREE, and we are the ones testing them, which we do willingly, I assume,  because of the opportunities and advantages they offer and will continue to offer for those of us who by choice or necessity have chosen an "indie" approach to making books as vehicles for our art and or writing. 

I think the Blurb folks are probably working  pretty hard on making BookWright better and better, and what would be helpful both to the software designers and to the new users of BookWright is to be  specific about what would make it "perfect."  And some of us do that. I  suppose the ideal software would be one that combines the best  features of both.   But I would never call BookWright 'horrible," and I was willing to get on board in spite of the glitches.   It would be one thing if I'd paid several hundred dollars for it.

I  very much like the flexible formatting of BookWright, (something I missed in  BookSmart)  the guidelines, the free ISBN numbers (although I've still not placed a book on Amazon, in part because I am concerned about the price point). 

So, I will say again that I would like to see borders in BookWright, both for images, as in BookSmart, and for text boxes---something BS doesn't have either, but it would be nice. First things first: image borders. Page ornaments would be nice  of course. I find pagination a little difficult in BW.  The "correction" feature in BS is nice---when you alter an imported image, BS asks if you want to import/use that one instead of the current one. I would also like a way to remove images from the menu if I don't want them.  If I think of anything else, I'll be happy to post it. 

We users are part of the project.  It behooves us to be proactive, but angry comments are not useful.  I for one am grateful for both BS and BW, which have revolutionized the way I think about my own artwork and why I do it. The Blurb staff has also been very responsive and helpful whenever I had a question, and I really appreciate that!  My thanks to them! 

 

Caroline Trippe 1 voto
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I've used BS for quite a while, and though it has some shortcomings, I think it's generally good. I thought I'd try BW to contrast/compare, but I can't download it - nothing I do gives me a link (on either of my platforms - PC or tablet). Shame, but from what I've read, here and elsewhere, i'm not missing a whole lot just yet.

peterbh 0 voti
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Has anyone had problems where the text in the left-hand margin cuts off the first few letters on your printed book but NOT in the BookWright software OR preview?? Just on the printed book and every.single. textbook that is throughout? IF so, did Blurb fix? How did you reach ANYONE in customer support???

malie1013 0 voti
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Bookwright needs a LOT of work. That tiny text box is horrible!! Can't save my file to the computer,can't copy and paste from a word file and resizing photos is a nightmare. I'm trying to do a kids book with illustrations directly into the program and its taken over a week.! I discovered that i was doing a "photo book", which is fine but wanted to transfer it into a more affordable Trade book format. Blurb support say" Sorry, but you have to start over if you want to do that"... really????? I'm a writing/english teacher, a poet and audio engineer and have never had to deal with this kind of undeveloped software.

Moon Wishes 0 voti
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This is a response to Moon Wishes. You  do know that you can make the text boxes any size you want by dragging the corners?   Also I have had no problem copying and pasting text, (I work on a MacBook Pro)  but if you are using the text linking feature, you do have to hit the Update button every time you make a change in the text editing area at the bottom of the page. It doesn't seem to be that difficult to resize photos---BookSmart did have a nice feature showing the percentage of reduction or enlargement, but you can use the guides in BookWright, which are very handy---and you can make as many of them as you need, by "pulling" them out of the horizontal or vertical rulers.  The more I use  BW the easier it gets, and there are things about it that I now prefer over BS.   I tend to be a fairly patient person, always having done labor intensive work all my life. 

 I am still waiting for an image borders option,  which the Blurb folks say they are working on.   I was missing the page ornaments option but then "discovered"  the Bodoni Ornaments font, which offers a large choice of interesting graphics  that you can place anywhere on your page, in any combination or color.  

Caroline Trippe 0 voti
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@caroline Trippe

I did not know for a long time because this feature is so damn well hidden when you work on a windows computer. It is still a pain in the neck to fiddle with those borders until you can grab it with the mouse and pull it. The space for writing gets bigger, but you don't see the layout of the book anymore. In other words you need to toggle all thime, making the text editing space bigger to work on text, making it small to to work on images and so on and so on.

 

Edition Handdruck 0 voti
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I always write the bulk of  my text in a word program---I use Pages. Then I copy/paste that text into the text box in BookWright. In the case  of the current book I'm working on, I also first create text *& image boxes on each page, then click Update Text Flow to insert the text onto the pages. I'm doing  that with this book because I'm using columns. It's a bit fiddly, but once the text is in place on each page, I make adjustments to the size of the individual boxes, or to the image box. If I don't have an image ready,  I insert a "neutral" image, a block of color or pattern---I keep a couple of these in my photo selection--- so I can see how much space it will occupy on the page.  With columns I find that it looks best if you use the Justify alignment---if words are too spread out,  which sometimes happens with Justify,  I retype them in the text box to get rid of the spaces, and Update Text Flow again. Fiddly, but it works.  If you adjust your text by dragging the corners of the text boxes on the page, you don't need to Update Text Flow, but if you do any editing in the larger text box at the bottom, whether it's deleting text & adding new, or making any other changes, you always have to click on the Update Text Flow button to make the changes effective. It took me awhile to figure that one out. Then I look at the page in Preview to see if I like the appearance.  My current book has much more text in it that any of my previous ones, so I'm learning some new "tricks." 

Caroline Trippe 0 voti
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