If you want to harness the power of booklet printing without the expense of hiring a designer, you'll need to choose a booklet creator software suited to your skill level and is capable of producing material that meets your professional publishing expectations. While nothing beats custom design work by an expert graphic designer, with a little know-how you can use booklet creator software to design and lay out impressive booklets that add value to your direct-marketing campaigns. The following booklet creator software and tips will help you both identify the right software for you and use it to its full potential for stellar booklet printing on the cheap.
Freeware and shareware
Most booklets are created using desktop publishing software that's also employed for many other tasks (brochures, business cards, catalog layouts, etc.), though some software packages are designed with only booklet creation in mind. The latter is typically available as shareware, freeware or for purchase at a nominal fee and include basic editing features but do not have advanced editing functions. Amateurs can use software such as Shellbook, Clickbook and any of the software packages available here to create booklets fast and easy. Two caveats: Freeware and shareware (and even some purchase-ware) can carry viruses, plus they're often limited in functionality and can result and subpar layout and design quality. Still, most are easy to use and well-suited to beginners.
Microsoft Word and Open Office
A better option for most amateur booklet publishers is to use the layout functions of desktop publishing programs such as Microsoft Word and Open Office. These programs are incredibly easy to use and low cost (MS Word is often packaged with new PCs, while Open Office is available as a free open source download). Again, your options are somewhat limited but with a little effort you can design stylish booklets using these programs. One benefit: There are many booklet templates available for these programs and so you can create a wonderful booklet by simply changing your text and/or your template graphics.
Scribus and GIMP
Another, more professional open source option is Scribus, a free layout platform that mimics the functions of QuarkXPress and Adobe InDesign. Also included in this class is GIMP, a free program that is similar in function to Adobe Photoshop. Both GIMP and Scribus, like retail professional design applications, come with a learning curve so you will have to invest a bit of time to take full advantage of these applications.
InDesign and QuarkXPress
Finally, professional booklet publishing software such as Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, and QuarkXPress take the cake when it comes to drafting completely original booklet designs. These programs are used by graphic design and layout professionals worldwide, are expensive for the casual user, and have learning curves that will require time (and potentially money) to invest. These software packages are best suited to professionals or amateurs who will be using them quite frequently.
No matter what booklet design software you use, you will have to ensure that your booklets follow pre-press guidelines such as 300 dpi resolution, bleed lines, cutlines and color (typically CMYK four-color process). Booklet layout templates for professional design programs are available from PsPrint. You'll also want to professionally print your booklets with a good booklet printing company for best results. Booklets are powerful marketing tools, and you don't want your efforts to go to waste on sub-printing techniques, so choose an online printing company such as PsPrint to put the professional touch on your work and increase your chances of earning a great response rate.