I used LeanPub to create my latest computer book. It was simple to use and since the source is markdown it is easy to version control and manipulate automatically.
I was putting off the print version though as I though it would be hard.
But it wasn’t.
LeanPub have a create print ready pdf option. And based on the formatting size you choose for your ebook, you have a cut down set of choices for the print ready pdf.
I wrote a ‘technical’ book and decided upon ‘Crown Quarto’ as the finished paper book size. This is a little larger than the ebook size so I hoped that the margins would be wider, and they were.
There is nothing I hate more in a print book than having the margins too small. Either too close to the edge of the external page or too close to the spine making it hard to read. This pdf looks like it will work fine.
Other options I chose:
- I added a ‘for sale at url’ as the main web page for the book, rather than LeanPub
- Show Chapter Name in Page Headers
-  Show Tweet this book page
-  Show also by this author page
I chose to to show chapter names as I think that helps the reader navigate, particularly when they stop mid-chapter. And I didn’t choose the tweet page or the ‘also by’ simply because those are leanpub specific pages.
I added a custom ‘verso page blurb’
And a custom ISBN.
And that was it. I downloaded the pdf and it was acceptable to both CreateSpace and Lulu without amendment.
I then found… I have a programming book. And leanpub.com colour codes the source code in the pdf.
Which looks great on screen and in an ebook, but as a print book means it is shades of grey, which is less good.
I’d prefer a black and white syntax highlighting but there isn’t one available.
The workaround appears to be:
\edit amend your
Default Code Language to text
- And if you’ve added any
lang=java type code in your manuscript, to find and replace
- Fortunately I export out of svn into dropbox so I was able to do a find and replace in the manuscript to change
lang=text without impacting my main files. This also means that I don’t have to worry about find and replace back to
lang=java since my original is under version control.
I also had to change the
Default Code Language because I had not been consistent with my use of
lang= throughout the text.
The problem with this is that I lose highlighting of keywords in bold, and comments in italics. Also find and replace adds more risk into the proofing process.
I’ll have to order a proof copy with the
text and compare with the
syntax highlighting of
java and see if the black and white with no other formatting is better than the ‘greyscale’ which I think is harder to read.