Professional quality publishing software is a specialized field, and there’s just a few workable options for you.
InDesign by Adobe is one of the standard tools in the industry. It is also very complicated, but there are a lot of web tutorials, and book design doesn’t go into the more complicated parts of the program. Adobe only works on a subscription basis now, and InDesign is $20 per month as of this writing.
Scribus is an open source project that is trying to make a professional publishing program. They are doing very well, but this is unsuitable for books, because the program can’t handle a large number of pages in one project. The current version will take upwards of 10 seconds to change one character in a 300 page document. This doesn’t work for me.
Publisher is the desktop publishing Office program by MicroSoft. It has a baseline grid … but it also has issues with handling a large number of pages, like Scribus does. Really, look elsewhere.
PagePlusX9 by Serif is software they don’t want to continue developing. Serif has decided to rewrite all of their software, and the PagePlus series is being abandoned. There is no more support, no bugs will be fixed … and you can buy it for $25 right now. I bought it, and it will do everything you need for a book. Web tutorials have been very helpful, and have addressed all my questions.
QuarkXPress is currently $849. I didn’t even try to evaluate it, because I don’t have that kind of money. If you do … I still suggest InDesign. Long before you begin to pull even with cost, you will have mastered the program and produced good work. This is not the cheap option by any means.
PageStream is $150 for the Pro version, $100 for the standard version, and their website has enough issues that I am hesitant to recommend it. It doesn’t seem to be under active development. I was so put off by their website (and lack of current information) that I haven’t bothered to investigate this option – if it works for you, more power to you, but I don’t think it’s worth my time.
Xara Page and Layout Designer runs $90, and I know nothing about it. There’s other software in this category, too – such as anything that is exclusive to the Apple OS. Feel free to investigate on your own, but don’t forget all the tasks that I mentioned in the previous posts; as long as they can be done by the software, you’ll be able to use it to produce a book.
There is one last option, but … it’s a bit pricy. You can trade money for time. Specifically, send me your manuscript (formatted with styles!) and I’ll create the book for you. $100 if you like it, nothing if you don’t. And you have all that time back that you would have spent designing your book and experimenting. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get started with this option.