Quark announced that version 9 of its QuarkXPress page-layout program will begin shipping in April, with a pricetag that matches the current version’s ($799 for the full license; $299 upgrade). The company is also offering a free upgrade to QuarkXPress 9 for users who purchase or update to version 8 between now and April 30, 2011 (full details of the Buy 8/Get 9 deal here).
The big news for designers, especially those in publishing and media, is the debut of the App Studio within version 9. Users can create rich-media content for the iPad within QuarkXPress 9, then export it for the device and distribute the app through the Apple App Store. Other features support digital publishing, including tools that enable publishing via the Blio eReader, a multiplatform format for delivering content to mobile and reading devices. Quark 9 also exports directly to ePUB, the file format developed specifically for e-readers like the Kindle, NOOK and iBooks. Because converting a book production file for ePUB causes text and images to reflow (an issue we’re dealing with in spades here at HOW HQ), this built-in functionality in Quark 9 gives designers more control over how their layouts look when they go from printed book to Kindle.
Quark also updated the program with automated functions, including bullets and numbering, style sheets for callouts, an image grid tool that allows users to upload a batch of images and create a gallery.