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I have a requirement to create a small book. It's about 30-50 pages, and contains text and color photos.

What software is generally used to design such a book?

I'm currently using Corel Draw but I find it to be clunky.

Is there anything better that people are using for this type of task?

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Isn't LaTEX built for this kinda thing?

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From the TeXbook: "[TeX is] a new typesetting system for the creation of beautiful books." – Sean Allred Jul 16 '13 at 14:54

I would suggest Adobe InDesign, QuarkXPress, MS Word or OpenOffice Writer, depending on how technical you need the layout to be.

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To get good color reproduction, you need something with CMYK support. That means no MS-Word or Open Office. I got best results with LaTeX and Framemaker, but Framemaker had six years of stagnation before being resurrected 3 years ago.

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Scribus is the leading free, open-source desktop publisher.

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If you're familiar with using Corel products, they have another piece of software called Ventura Publisher which may have come with your Corel bundle.

When it comes to business publishing, Corel Ventura® 10 is as powerful as it gets. It's the only tool you need for transforming long, complex documents — including XML files — into highly formatted and visually rich publications.

Enhanced stability and compatibility keep your workflow smooth, while powerful formatting tools help ensure polished documents. Update multiple tables quickly with new table tags. Enjoy more flexibility with XML import support. And work faster with improved PDF and printing options.

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If you're comfortable with learning some syntax, LaTeX is another excellent option. LaTeX is free and there is a ton of documentation for it available on the net. I'd recommend it if you want the finest control over the layout of your book.

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Yeah, I've used latex for doing reports. I don't think that would work here because a lot of visual design with photos is needed. – user6781 Jan 11 '10 at 9:23

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