Over the last week Adobe has said a couple of interesting things about the books module, one about a bug, one about plans for the future.

I happen to be one of the small number of people who has had first hand experience of a bug affecting Book – all the pages disappear, leaving only the default front cover and first page. This has happened on more than one occasion and I’ve lost hours of work, so I’ve been making an effort to watch out for it and have been making sure Adobe knew there was something amiss in this area. Usually with these things, a pattern will emerge from your own and others’ reports. But this is one bug that occurs very rarely and is proving difficult to reproduce. While it’s annoying, really annoying, it shouldn’t put you off using the book module, and Adobe added extra code in 4.2 to help diagnose and mitigate the problem.

Lightroom’s product manager Sharad Mangalick has posted an article Help with Disappearing Books in Lightroom 4. It’s well worth reading, just to be aware of the potential problem, but this is the key point:

The Lightroom team is currently researching and evaluating this bug to ensure that there are no other ways that it can be triggered. Our aim is to include a fix in a future update to Lightroom 4.

The second interesting snippet is that Adobe have changed their minds about how to enable custom page sizes. Some people have been wanting this since it would allow them to use vendors other than Blurb, and the original plan was to allow users to create PDF templates using something Illustrator and run them through a conversion process. The trouble was, while this would allow book vendors other than Blurb to create custom templates for their products, users would then depend on the vendor doing so – or have to learn to do it themselves. Maybe you know Illustrator, but I’d owned it for years without ever opening it. What’s more, I’m not sure people want to create templates – they want something just like Lightroom already does so well with Print’s custom package where you just drag and drop pictures into the layout. Fortunately Adobe recognize this, as senior development manager Julie Kmoch says here:

Sorry, but we’ve decided that the approach we were originally pursuing to create custom page layouts was not something we were comfortable releasing to the public. The scripts we’ve built have worked well enough for our internal use but needed a lot of work before they were usable without a lot of guidance. We think it’s more prudent for us to focus on enhancing the book module itself.

Good move, and even better to say so publicly.