BookSmart

BOOK NOT SMART AT ALL

I suppose I should settle down and let some time go by before writing this, but I’m truly so p____ off right now that I think it’s only right to let blurb.com know how I really feel about Book(Not at ALL)Smart.

I just spent an hour slowly and meticulously cleaning a document which was imported into Book(Not at All)Smart from MS Word.  The document is a playscript, and it requires that each time a character speaks, their name is centered over the dialogue.  And, so, my process was simply highlighting and centering short pieces of text.

Book(Not at All)Smart fought me every inch of the way.  The software has a habit of delaying and freezing that, after a while, becomes downright maddening.  It delays and freezes when selecting text boxes, delays and freezes when opening drop down menus, delays and freezes when using scroll bars, delays and freezes when highlighting text, and on and on.  If you are accustomed to working at any degree of speed, this software will drive you stark raving crazy.

But, that’s not the worst part.  Book(Not at All)Smart creates areas within itself that are "broken," that whatever you do there causes the program to crash.  And, when you go back, it just keeps right on crashing.

And, Book(Not at All)Smart does something so archaic that it reminds me of those word processing programs I first encountered back in the 1980’s when I was learning all about computers.  It, for no apparent reason, goes back and corrupts work that has already been done, sometimes returning it to its original form, sometimes recreating areas of text in its own messed up image.  I discovered just now, after working for an hour that Book(Not at All)Smart had gone back and changed justified text to centered text…FOR NO REASON WHATSOEVER!  And, if I try to do a select all to rejustify the text, all of the meticulous work of centering that I’ve been doing is completely wasted!!!!!

I have given up on this document, a 170 page playscript.  This is an absolutely HORRIBLE platform, so unstable that it is practically unusable.  Book (Not at All)Smart may work on smaller documents with limited text, but for longer text documents it is absolutely a freakin’ waste of time!

Replytopic_b_normal
Posted by
jaxonmadison
Feb 6, 2009 12:00pm PDT
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jaxonmadison
 

jaxonmadison – You are not alone in experience or feeling. The text handling abilities of this program are abysmal.

Posted by
Fabini
Feb 6, 2009 3:33pm PDT
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Fabini
 

don’t feel singled out – this same problem of freezing happens in smaller, photo-only albums. it is extremely frustrating, but you get used to it! :) i guess when the software is free, it’s not necessarily bug-free…

Posted by
Symington
Feb 8, 2009 6:53am PDT
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Symington
 

Thanks for letting us know about this. What version of BookSmart are you using? We’re getting ready to start working on 3 large albums to cover our wedding and are planning on writing all of the copy in MSWord first and then bring it into Blurb. We are thinkng it will save time, but if BookSmart is going to play havoc with it, maybe we won’t.

I’ve been using BookSmart only because other competitors do not have the same finishing options (mainly the full cover image wrap). I’m waiting for Apple (Aperture) to come out with the same printing technique (right now they only have full bleed dust jackets and a silver/metallic foil print option on non-dust jacket covers that are not full bleed). 

It’s only a matter of time for Blurb competitors to wise up and offer more finishing options, and once that happens, folks will migrate to more stable applications, me being one of them. 

I hope that Blurb can make BookSmart more stable. They might just keep me around. I have the desire to make a lot of books.

 

Posted by
naynaykins
Feb 8, 2009 7:27am PDT
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naynaykins
 

I’ve had exactly the same issues!  I’ve contacted them and they think it’s MY fonts as the issue.

However, I’ll make a minor change – adding a space, adding a paragraph or sentence – and voila!  pages move, punctuation falls off the end of a sentence, letters drop off the end of words at the end of paragraphs, centered text becomes left justified.

So, if I make ANY changes to my document, I have to scour over 170 pages of my other text JUST TO SEE WHAT DAMAGE WAS DONE from my minor changes.

 Any suggestions FOR BETTER SOFTWARE or PROGRAMS or PUBLISHERS that actually make it EASY to make minor updates or additions?

Posted by
Littlebarn
Feb 8, 2009 12:40pm PDT
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Littlebarn
 

naynaykins, I’m using version 1.9.  The type of book I was creating was the b/w text style.  It may well be that you wouldn’t encounter as much of a problem developing a book with a fair amount of images in it.  Book(Not at All)Smart seems to really struggle with longer text documents.  My confidence in the software is like nil.

Posted by
jaxonmadison
Feb 9, 2009 11:58am PDT
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jaxonmadison
 

I have similar issues. I was advised to upload version 1.9, apparently it crashes less. I haven’t done it yet since I wanted to first upload the book I was nearly finished with.

When pasting from Word (or wherever else) use the "unfornmatted paste" option. BookSmart copes better with it. 

Artemis

Posted by
artami
Feb 10, 2009 7:27am PDT
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artami
 

The forum discussion under the "5×8 B&W text book" topic is relevant.  A software fix to improve text handling is underway – introduction aimed for mid-year, I was advised by a staffer.

There is a questionnaire now on the site asking for input on text management function preferences,

Posted by
banfield
Feb 13, 2009 8:39am PDT
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banfield
 

It’s actually comforting to know that I am not the only one struggling with Booksmart’s many idiosynchrocies. There are ways around some problems, which one learns by much trial and error, but it shouldn’t have to be like this. I downloaded Booksmart because a friend told me he was impressed with the appearance and quality of the finished product. However, I am ready to tear my hair out and am looking for alternative book publishing software. I am open to suggestions.

Posted by
Wolawol
Feb 25, 2009 8:34am PDT
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Wolawol