How to make an e-book with scribus

Updated July 20, 2017

E-books are the wave of the future. They are virtual books which don't take up room on a bookshelf. They promote sustainability since they don't use paper. No trees are cut down and no forests destroyed. Anyone can self-publish an e-book easily using Scribus, which is free open-source desktop publishing software. Books are created with as many or as few pages as you like and an attractive cover. Text is converted into a pdf file, and this can be either read on a pdf reader or exported to the Web. The results are impressive. According to the Scribus web site: "Scribus ... brings professional page layout to ... desktops with a combination of press-ready output and new approaches to page design."

Turn on your computer. Connect to the Internet,and download the Scribus software program at

Save Scribus to your hard drive.

Export your manuscript to Scribus. Give it a file name. Save it as a pdf file.

Design a cover for your e-book using a graphics program. Inskape is a free open source graphics program. Download it at

Export a cover graphic from Inkscape in Image format. Import it into Scribus.

Create bookmarks. Link bookmarks to different sections of the e-book. Use free Foxit reader. Download Foxit at

Open your pdf file in Foxit Reader and open the Bookmarks panel.

View your completed e-book in a pdf reader or on the Web.


  1. Use Tool Tips to navigate through your e-book.
  2. Use guides to align text boxes and centre objects.
  3. Use the "nudge" tool to select an object and move it just a little bit at a time using the arrow keys.
  4. To save graphics, use png instead of jpeg or gif.


  1. To avoid deleting or moving objects, use Master Pages. Add these elements to your template.
  2. Back up your preferences by keeping an extra Scribus directory in another location in case of a computer crash. Name the backup directory .scribusbak.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Internet connection
  • Manuscript
  • Book cover
  • Bookmarks
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Wendy Dickstein is an award-winning writer and editor with over 30 years' experience as an academic, literary, legal and technical editor and journalist. She writes about security technology, real estate, science, health and literature. She has a Master of Arts from Melbourne University and belongs to the International Federation of Periodical Press.