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Stefan Kottwitz
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Re: Get the "LaTeX Beginner's Guide" ebook for free

Postby Stefan Kottwitz » Thu Feb 26, 2015 10:50 am

Hi lpapp,

welcome to the forum!

Sorry I had to remove the date you said! If correct or not, the publisher did not allow me as the author to publish the date and doesn't want anybody else to to it. This prevents us from discussions with them, and most important, I don't want to stop them to offer the LaTeX book for free just because information leaked. They could easily replace and make a promotion with any other of their thousands books instead.

It's only a matter of few days, since their current promotion activity ends March 5.

To answer your question: actually I started writing it in LaTeX, but I had to follow the publisher's requirements. They got a workflow which they used for more than a thousand of books, and they don't make a difference because the book content is about LaTeX. Would be similar to expect that a book about Libre Office is typeset using that, a book about Scribus is written with Scribus, ... all editors stick to the workflow. And this is
  • authors deliver Word (!) format using a big set of publisher formatting macros
  • editors and reviewers use word tracking changes and commenting for reviewing
  • it get's imported exclusively using the publishers macros in Adobe Indesign
  • Indesign is the final tool for typesetting.

I already got a hate comment on amazon roughly like "what can a LaTeX book be like if it wasn't printed using LaTeX". That comment "author" did not speak about content. Well, it's not respecting that a LaTeX author wrote it, only referring to the publisher's process. I'm glad that this Indesign/Word-only publisher has this book in the collection. I don't get much money for the book, it's about enough to pay for the two servers I run for some forums, blogs, TeX galleries. I assume, nobody looks there for a LaTeX book, but: the publisher routinely does promotion bundles, so people take it by chance. For example, one buys a PHP book, gets the offer "take a second book for half price", looks around seeing a lot of strange topics :-) find's the LaTeX book and takes that. :-D

Back to the strange publisher's routine: they don't take PDF! They allow authors to deliver images only in JPG oder PNG format. Crazy. I had an extensive discussion with them. I delivered all images in high quality scalable PDF format. They were not able to adapt it, they used bitmap images. They said, it would look good in print. They are not aware of high expectations of LaTeX users! So in the ebook, you will notice some images will look like screenshots. Please don't complain to me, but only directly to the publisher ... I was sad myself that they put bitmaps in the book, getting not optimal image quality, and I could not get out of the contract. I made my peace with it knowing people liked the book contents, and the book paid the servers where also this forum runs.

Good news: this year, I will publish another LaTeX book. Same publisher - well, they asked me, no other publisher did yet. They will get again some bitmaps, but in high resolution (whatever they make of it), the content will be interesting new stuff.

Stefan
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vermiculus
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Postby vermiculus » Thu Feb 26, 2015 5:47 pm

It sounds like you had a very sad publishing experience, Stefan :( I've never heard of a publisher wanting rasterized graphics, but I suppose that their printer itself might have some…odd requirements. Luckily, ImageMagick comes to the rescue :)

I mainly wanted to comment on your experience, but I also wanted to extend my thanks for working this kind of a deal out with the publisher. I look forward to the promotion's fruition – regardless of what was used to typeset the book. As we all say at some point or another: presentation is nothing without content :)

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Postby Stefan Kottwitz » Thu Feb 26, 2015 6:51 pm

Thanks vermiculus!

It even got so far: as the editor's said: ok, provide PDF, we will see what we could do with it; I provided PDF for all and bitmaps in addition which were inserted to the Word docs. Some bitmaps did not have high resolution, as intended for the preview in the Word doc. At the end they used some low-res images. :-o

I was mad at the publisher and the discussion at that time. Now I made my peace with it. I got positive feedback. I started another LaTeX book which is mostly finished and will come in some months. More about that later. And if I would write a TikZ book, it shall be in excellent quality with a lot of explained examples and images. Another publisher just told me, in general potential readers would be more interested in references but not so in examples. So for now.

The "Beginner's Guide" is generally fine in print and images are pretty ok. I'd like to learn while reading a tutorial book, no matter if images are 300 dpi or 600 dpi. In the ebook, it's noticeable at some zoom level.

I only hope, our LaTeX friends take the book for free and don't complain about the know issue that some images look pixelated when zoomed. Would be fair for free copies. Positive response would help too. :-)

Stefan
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azetina
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Postby azetina » Fri Feb 27, 2015 6:18 pm

But what is the purpose of offering your book for free? Do they do this with other texts? I mean, a book is a lot of hardwork. Myself, am working on one and am stuck on one chapter and cant advance yet.
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vermiculus
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Postby vermiculus » Fri Feb 27, 2015 6:21 pm

If I were the author in Stefan's situation (not getting much money from the book anyhow), I would simply want to see my work being used and appreciated. As you said, it's a lot of hard work; I would hate to see it left abandoned by my audience.

That said, if the promotional period is a success, more potential owners can actually buy the book after seeing their friends/family get so much good use out of it.

Vesnog
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Postby Vesnog » Tue Mar 03, 2015 12:03 am

Dear Stefan Kottwitz,

I am a LaTeX enthusiast and would like to know if the book has been released and we missed it? It is already 3 March, so we have two days remaining for the promotion, right?

wchargin
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Postby wchargin » Tue Mar 03, 2015 12:08 am

Vesnog wrote:Dear Stefan Kottwitz,

I am a LaTeX enthusiast and would like to know if the book has been released and we missed it? It is already 3 March, so we have two days remaining for the promotion, right?


I don't think it's been released yet. If you look at Packt's website here you can see that it isn't one of the books that's been released so far.

Vesnog
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Postby Vesnog » Tue Mar 03, 2015 12:11 am

wchargin wrote:
Vesnog wrote:Dear Stefan Kottwitz,

I am a LaTeX enthusiast and would like to know if the book has been released and we missed it? It is already 3 March, so we have two days remaining for the promotion, right?


I don't think it's been released yet. If you look at Packt's website here you can see that it isn't one of the books that's been released so far.


Thanks for the prompt reply I will check the website.

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Stefan Kottwitz
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Postby Stefan Kottwitz » Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:03 am

Friends, it's here!

latex-beginners-guide.png
latex-beginners-guide.png (103.22 KiB) Viewed 2845 times


Download link

Have fun. And tell your friends to download too. ;)

Stefan
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azetina
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Postby azetina » Wed Mar 04, 2015 5:15 am

Omg! I feel like its Xmas. I can't believe it. What can I say but thanks. Thanks thanks a lot. Other than the free regular textbooks about LaTeX. This is the first reference book I can say I have and thanks to you Stefan.
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