The Hungry Hiker Book of Good Cooking was published in 1982 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. and subsequently sold over 50,000 copies with at least seven reprints. In 2010 the copyright was released back to the author, Gretchen McHugh. I was approached in the spring of 2012, as a consultant, to offer my advice about self-publishing the book. It was a privilege to be given the large and complicated project in July.
The book had been published before the digital age – and the original content was only available on film. The original cover was not available in any form.
I was given a pdf of the content – with each page as an image. The first step in this process was to do a digital scan with the OCR option on Adobe Acrobat Professional X. The results were mixed and it still required careful inspection and further tweaking to make sure the letters were scanned accurately. The OCR had a difficult time translating the words around the illustration, and tried to interpret the illustration as words – this led to more personal attention.
Each illustration had to be pulled from the document as an individual file. I opened it in Photoshop and saved as a gray scale, high resolution tiff image, carefully naming the file by the page number.
Once these processes had been completed, it was time to actually begin the book. I use Adobe InDesign CS6.0 for book design. Each chapter is a separate file which is saved into a .idb file – an InDesign Book file format. (Lynda.com offers a great tutorial on building a book with InDesign).
To create the cover we managed to obtain a very clean copy of the old book. I scanned it at 1200 dpi in full color to bring in the best image. Once in Photoshop, I extended the canvas to the new size and repeated the beige color for the background. I removed the text from the original scan and redid it with the text tool. This gave it a cleaner and crisp appearance.
The back cover needed further work as it had a UPC bar code in the center of the book. Createspace required it to be on the right hand side in a very specific place. I used the clone stamp to repeat the illustrated design and manipulated the art until it looked natural. I also removed the text and replaced it with new content.
I delivered each chapter to the client for review and proofing as I finished it. This kept the process moving. We decided to update the old version just a bit by inserting the websites of the resources she had listed, rather than the phone number and addresses.
The client was very happy with the final product and even the different size, required by Createspace, didn’t hurt the final process. The book is now available at Amazon.com and Createspace.com. The Kindle version will be out by Spring 2013 for the summer hiking season.
The Hungry Hiker Website
The Steps through the Project
OCR scan of 300 pages of an image PDF to extract the text
90 Illustrations removed from the PDF with Adobe Acrobat Professional X.
Crop and prepare all illustrations into gray scale tiff high resolution files with careful names for placement on the correct pages later.
Set up and layout of book in the required new size using Adobe InDesign CS6.0.
Insertion of text in the exact pagination of the old version to be consistent with index.
Full color scan and manipulation of old cover into new page size since no original artwork existed.
Edit, proof and review with client for accuracy – some content updated.
Submit to Createspace.com
Website designed for book by Becky’s Graphic Design and website programmed by Nashville Geek.
Banners designed for advertising.
Project Timeline: July 2012 – November 19, 2012