Adobe InDesign is one of my favorite programs, and when I was forced to leave Creative Cloud because I could no longer afford it, I’ve spent a lot of time bitter because of software lock-in.* There are a lot of options for most parts of Adobe CC that have varying degrees of quality, but aside from Quark (which is expensive but does let you buy a copy without a subscription) there is no general-purpose software for print book design. (Don’t say Scribus. We’ll talk about Scribus in another blog post.) Enter Affinity Publisher. I’m trying out a beta right now, and my first feeling is very positive. I don’t know what it will sell for, but likely hundreds less than Quark or InDesign.
Let me start out by saying I’ve done almost nothing with this yet, so stay tuned to my page for updates about use. But my first feeling is very positive. Affinity Publisher looks very much like InDesign which means it should be very intuitive for a designer who has used InDesign in the past. I’ll explore the features in-depth soon, but it looks like it will be full-featured and intuitive.
Two features I never noticed in my quick scan of the software are booklet printing and ebook generation (it does export to pdf). Those are both very critical to a lot of users and could be deal breakers. However my suspicion is that those aren’t included just because it’s a beta. There is an enormous list image formats it exports to and I imagine epub is yet to come.
As I explore this software, I’ll let you know my feelings, but Affinity Designer is often highly recommended to me as a Photoshop alternative, and my suspicion is that Affinity Publisher is going to be the solution I–and people without a lot of money–need to replace InDesign finally.
You can try out the free beta here.
* Software lock-in is when you no longer have access to your own digital files. Open source formats are a good solution to this.