Shortcut: If you are using epubli and have a RIP error this helped in my case (Word Source, Mac): Download Adobe Acrobat Trial version. Create PDF using the Word: File/Save as Adobe-PDF option (which is added to the Word menu after the install). Good Luck!!!

Long story I am using epubli to publish my dissertation. It is great platform for publish “on demand”. This means you upload your book and press a publish button. Soon after it is available in all bookstores and online retailers… As books are only printed once somebody orders, this does only costs a few euros upfront.

In practice it is a little more complicated. A ‘book’ is still a book and not just a post to some website. Therefore I was trying to get everything right - which is of course a proven recipe to mess up. It took quite a few “upload - print - wait for a week- correct” cycles. After uploading my final revision and waiting for delivery of the very final last proof I got an e-Mail from epubli that the file could not be printed due to RIP (Raster Image Processing) error. No explanation, no hint what is causing the problem, no page number, … When you are about to publish a 400+ pages book with about 100+ highly complex figures that is pretty scary.

Between the “print version” and the one creating the error I did only marginal changes (e.g. fixing a typo, removing minimal formatting issues, … about five of them) - I also changed the text on the book’s back page. All attempts to call support failed - the line was alway busy. So I send a mail that was answered after a week with some boilerplate text blocks that were not helpful at all.

So I took the working version and added the changes on pdf level without using Word. Upload, wait - another RIP - mail. I tried a few other things - upload - wait - fail. Then I spend another week trying to reach support via phone, but the line was always always busy. Finally I reached somebody, just to learn, that they outsource the printing themselves and have no clue what cases the problems either. The support guy recommended to not use the build-in Word function to create the PDF but to use some other means such as online services. He also recommend to not scale the book down from A4 format to my format of choice, but to keep it in A4.

By this time I was already desperate to try anything that could potentially help. So I downloaded a trial version of Adobe PDF-Writer to PDF-inventor had some magic bullets to offer. By chance I realized, that this install did also add an additional option in Word (at least on Mac/OS X). It allows to convert the word document to PDF using Adobe Code rather than using the original Word feature. So I tried that. I also tried the online converter recommended by epubli and I tried fixing the original pdf using repair routines in PDF-Writer. That’s three variations that I used in combination with printing in A4 and the scaled format (called Wissenschaft) that I originally targeted.

After waiting a few days I got the first RIP mails - the “repaired” version could not be printed. However, the versions I converted online and the version I created using the PDF-Writer ‘create PDF’ option in Word created printable results even in the scaled-down format. The version I converted online contained quite a few mistakes. As stated above my book contains may highly complex figures. In some of them minor details were messed up. A nightmare for a scientific publication.

However, the version converted with Create Adobe-PDF pdf option looked got. Even when scaled down to my format of choice. What a relief. Ready to publish! Finally.

Image: copyright by epubli