Easy Desktop Publishing--need answer fast

My boyfriend and I have a small business, doing shows and promotions. Usually the desktop work is done by my mother. Not to make her sound like a 10 year old Honda Civic but she’s inexpensive and reliable. But we need a 24 page programme for an event done , with ads (ad copy all provided–we just need to scan it in) and its three weeks to show date. Our printer needs at least a week to do the work for us (also cheap and reliable but needs time… she is also a home based small business)

For various reasons my mother cancelled on this one. We aren’t working with a large budget and really, as long as the programme is produced, super high quality is not important. I used to fiddle about with Microsoft Publisher, never got really proficient but can manage the basics. Currently the only software Im using is openoffice but if it made sense to invest in software and do it ourselves rather than hire it out it is something I am willing to do. Besides, in the long term we anticipate doing this several times a year, so it would pay for itself in labour costs

Basically Im looking at doper suggestions for easy to use software that can handle importing ad copy and producing something relatively decent looking. would Openoffice draw work? any suggestions? basically we have to decide by monday if we will buy the software and I will have a steep learning curve or if we will farm this out…

Oh and Im running Vista on a Toshiba laptop with lots of memory if that makes a difference.

You can use openoffice Draw, although it’s not a true desktop publisher. If you don’t need it particularly fancy it will do, and you’re already familiar with openoffice. InDesign from Adobe is a true desktop publishing platform, but definitely pricey, takes a while to get the hang of it, and perhaps more power than you need. The quality of the output will depend more on your personal design sense than which platform you use. You might find it way less aggravation to find a local designer who can take on your task–multipage layout with ads can be a headache if you’re not familiar with it, and the output will likely look much more professional.