With many apologies for the long disruption from being able to generate new eBooks and StoryCubes, I am hugely pleased to announce that bookleteer is fully operational once more.
An unplanned server upgrade caused a cascade of problems deep in the core of the Generator, the software that does the actual hard work of taking your content and flowing it into the Diffusion eBook and StoryCube formats. It has taken considerable efforts by Joe Flintham, bookleteer’s principal developer with the forensic brilliance of Yasir Assam, bookleteer’s original software developer, to analyse the root problem, fix it then chase down all the ensuing changes in dependencies.
Here are two fabulous new books created by Canadian artist Joyce Majiski, who has been one of bookleteer’s most prolific and exquisite users for many years:
As part of the indigenous public authoring / TEK (traditional environmental & cultural knowledge) project I am working on with anthropologist James Leach in Papua New Guinea we have created a simple 1 page poster of folding instructions for making up bookleteer/diffusion books in English and Tok Pisin. Thanks to Porer Nombo and Rembi Yemui of Reite village, Rai Coast, who helped with the description, translation and localised spelling. Download it here (A4 670Kb)
During our recent pop up publishing workshops I was able to observe that one of the most common tricky aspects of using bookleteer for new members was remembering the steps for setting up a new document to create the ‘Content PDF’ to upload. I’ve now put together a very simple crib sheet for users to download to remind them how. Click here to download it as a PDF.
We are excited to announce another update to bookleteer including a new feature called Collections. This new feature allows for eBooks or StoryCubes to be grouped together to form a collection. This can be given its own title, author, publisher, colophon, summary, copyright info and a cover image. Collections can be shared or kept private – those shared are listed in the Collections Library.
Clicking on a collection box will open it’s unique page – each collection has a unique URL as well as buttons for sharing it on Facebook and Twitter:
Creating a Collection
To create a collection, log in to bookleteer and select the collections button (illustrated above) in the “create + order” bar.
This will open a new page where you can add details such as the title, author, publisher, copyright, colophon, summary and publication date. You can also upload an image to act as its ‘cover’ and select which book or StoryCubes are to be included in the collection.
You can see all the collections you have made by clicking on the “my collections” link, which opens a list. Clicking on the collections in the list allows you to edit each one.
The Collections feature is a crucial step towards building an internal ‘crowdfunding’ mechanism (“Pledge For Print”) that we have written about before, and which we hope to bring to bookleteer later this year. We’d love to hear feedback about this new feature, please use the comments section here or email us direct.
As some may have noticed last week we quietly updated bookleteer to give it a fresh look and to introduce the sharing features we announced previously. We’ve been tweaking and bug-fixing over the last week or so and are now very excited to let everyone know about it.
New Look Home & About Pages
We’ve refreshed both home and about pages to make it clearer what bookleteer is and what it can do.
Public Library Page
The new Library Page allows anyone browsing bookleteer to see what eBooks and StoryCubes have been created and shared by members.
Individual Publication Pages
Each publication that is shared publicly has a unique page created for it which can be linked to and shared via popular social media services (Twitter, Facebook etc). eBooks have an embedded version of the bookreader in the page for previewing as well as download links for the PDFs. StoryCubes also have preview images and download link.
Member Public Profile Page
A new public profile page has been created to list all the shared publications by each member, also displaying a short bio and links to personal blog, website, twitter and facebook pages. These can be added in the member’s account page.
These are just the first in a series of updates and improvements to bookleteer that we’re adding over the next few months – stay tuned for further announcements!
Please Donate or Subscribe
bookleteer is an unfunded project of Proboscis, a non-profit artist-led organisation. We welcome all donations to keep bookleteer running, pay for its development and hosting – please use the Paypal Donate button on the right to make a donation.
To keep bookleteer as a free service we have also devised a new subscription model – the Periodical – where each month we will select, print and post out one of the best eBooks made and shared on bookleteer to subscribers. Subscribe here to become part of this unique experiment in publishing.
In about three weeks time we will be making a fundamental change to bookleteer by enabling public sharing of eBooks and StoryCubes. What does this mean?
users will be able to share their eBooks & StoryCubes direct from bookleteer
users will be able to add tags to their publications
users will have a personal page listing their shared publications and will be able to add links to their own website, blog, twitter and facebook pages
each publication will have its own page which can be linked to and shared with the public via popular social media platforms
all shared publications will be listed in a public library page on bookleteer for the public to browse through without needing to sign up and be logged in
bookreader web-readable versions will be shareable for all users (currently limited to Guest, Pro & Alpha Club members)
The new public sharing and library pages are part of a series of changes we are doing this year to make bookleteer even better and they pave the way for the Periodical. Each month we will crowdsource an eBook made and shared on bookleteer to be printed out and posted to subscribers. We will seek out the most beautiful, experimental, thought-provoking and inspirational eBooks made with bookleteer – and once a month subscribers will have 1 or more eBooks delivered to their door.
We’ll be following these updates with other new features over the coming months – stay tuned for further announcements.
An eccentric monthly publication for an era of eclectic exploration
More and more beautiful, thought-provoking and inspiring eBooks are being created with bookleteer all the time so, with a nod to such illustrious forebears as William Hogarth, Joseph Addison, Jonathan Swift, Laurence Sterne and Charles Dickens we’re creating the Periodical, a regular monthly publication to share some of the best examples – from the most beautifully designed, illustrated and written to the most experimental uses of bookleteer, its API and what can be done with the format. Update : check out the new bookleteer Library page to browse what people have made.
For a small monthly or one-off annual subscription (see below), you can receive by post a different printed eBook each month crowdsourced from bookleteer. Our target is to launch the Periodical with at least 100 subscribers in October 2012, selecting and printing a new eBook each month for distribution. Whilst we build up the subscriptions we’ll be sending subscribers a choice eBook every month selected from among those we’ve previously printed for projects such as Professor Starling’s Expedition, Material Conditions, City As Material, As It Comes, Agencies of Engagement and others.
What Will Subscribers Receive? The Periodical will be a monthly delight landing on your doorstep – you can expect consistent eccentricity and eclecticism in our choices. We will be seeking out the most extraordinary and unusual eBooks created and shared on bookleteer. Some will be selected by us at Proboscis, others will selected by invited curators and from time to time we’ll invite subscribers to vote for their favourite eBook to be printed and sent out as the monthly periodical. Anyone who wants to take part can contribute a book for consideration for the Periodical by signing up to bookleteer, then making and sharing an eBook. Each month we’ll post on the blog about what we’ve chosen and why – but only after we’ve sent it out, so the subscribers have the pleasure of an unexpected arrival landing on their doorstep.
To kickstart the Periodical we’re inviting a number of our friends, colleagues, fellow travellers and others whom we admire to explore using bookleteer themselves and to create some new publications with it that will seed the initial pool of publications from which we choose the first few issues. We’ll announce more about these soon.
To complement the crowdsourced eBooks, we are also seeking sponsors to help us commission new experimental and imaginative publications using bookleteer. These will be printed and distributed to subscribers as well as shared digitally on bookleteer for all. We’re looking for sponsors who see the opportunity that bookleteer and the Periodical offer for commissioning exciting new experiments in publishing – sharing new ideas, new knowledge and experiences in multiple ways to people all over the world. They might be themed series in themselves (following on from our previous series such as Material Conditions, City As Material, Transformations, Short Work, Liquid Geography, Species of Spaces, Performance Notations) or simply a one-off commission. *** Please contact me for details of sponsorship opportunities.
Subscribing to the Periodical
You don’t need to use bookleteer or be signed up to subscribe and subscriptions from organisations and institutions are very welcome (email us with a purchase order to subscribe). The Periodical will be a great way to tap into the creativity generated with bookleteer, having some of its best creations delivered to your door.
Subscribers will also receive a 10% discount on any Short Run printing orders of their own (recouping their subscription by just ordering a minimum 25 copies each of 4 of their own eBooks).
More recently we’ve had some time and space to think about what else bookleteer could do and how we might make some adjustments to improve its usefulness. Over the past month or so, these ideas have been gestating into actual plans, scenarios, requirements and site maps for our next round of upgrades and improvements. And these themselves follow the price drop for Short Run printing of A6 books, as well the new minimum eBook print run of just 25 copies, which we recently announced.
The first change we plan to implement will be to allow users to publicly share their eBooks and StoryCubes direct from bookleteer. Members of the public will, for the first time, be able to browse (without needing an account) library pages containing links to eBooks and StoryCubes which users have shared. We also hope to build in simple social media links to enable these pages to be tweeted or shared on Facebook. And sharing via bookreader will also be available to all members. In addition to this, and reflecting our own practice of publishing series of eBooks and StoryCubes, we plan to create Collections – a new way to organise own eBooks or StoryCubes into named and distinct series.
Making bookleteer Economically Sustainable
To keep bookleteer going we need to encourage more people to use the Short Run Printing Service service to print their eBooks and StoryCubes. Other than donations to the Alpha Club this is the only source of income to pay for our hosting, bandwidth, development and maintenance costs. As you may have heard, Proboscis no longer receives funding from Arts Council England so we are having to find sustainable sources of income for projects like bookleteer. If we can significantly drive uptake of the Short Run printing service, then we hope to sustain bookleteer as a platform indefinitely. To help people with ordering we’re already working on building in pricing estimation direct into the ordering page. This should make it much simpler to see print estimates when you are considering using the Short Run Printing service.
Pledge For Print
This leads on to the biggest and most exciting aspect of what we’re planning. A couple of years back I wrote a post speculating on how a crowdfunding marketplace within bookleteer could transform the way people create, print and share their publications. We have been working on a model for such a concept – allowing users to offer Collections of eBooks or StoryCubes for others to “Pledge For Print“. We won’t be handling financial transactions to begin with, simply creating a mechanism for users who want to print an edition of 1 more more eBooks or StoryCubes (in a Collection) to know that there are people out there who will pledge to buy a copy from them once its printed. Ultimately we would aim to build in a full crowdfunding-type system, accepting pledges and automating the process of collecting donations once the pledge target has been reached to trigger the print run & shipping. Its a huge project for us – but we think it will transform bookleteer and publishing on demand in the process.
Community Support is Vital
To fund the development we’re hoping to entice more friends, fellow travellers and supporters to donate and join the Alpha Club and take an active part in the developing ‘community’ of bookleteers. We’re also aiming to attract a main sponsor for bookleteer – a company or organisation which shares our values and ethos of creating Public Goods and enabling people to make and share hybrid physical/digital stuff. If you also think what we’re planning could be the next best thing since sliced bread – please donate today!
And do please get in touch with your feedback, comments and suggestions.
Today we’re very excited to announce a couple of major changes to bookleteer’s Short Run Printing service :
Minimum print run is now just 25 copies per eBook – half the previous minimum of 50 copies
We have also slashed the cost of A6 printed eBooks between 30%-50% (depending on quantity ordered)
Check out the eBook price estimator to see how much your eBook would cost to print (we’ll also be overhauling the ordering system in the next few weeks to integrate the estimator there too).
We believe this makes it much more accessible for people wanting to experiment with having their eBooks professionally printed and bound but only want a few copies at a super competitive price.
We’ll be posting soon about our other plans for bookleteer which we aim to introduce in stages over the summer – all in all its going to be a very exciting year of changes for bookleteer and its users!
After some tinkering and testing, we’ve just uploaded the new eBook back cover designs to the bookleteer server. Alongside an improved colophon layout, all eBooks generated with bookleteer now automatically create a QR code link as well as a short URL, to the online bookreader version, featured on the bottom left corner of the back page. This means you can scan the code from a friends printed eBook with a smartphone or tablet device, to instantly bring up the digital version on your screen – another interesting dimension to hybrid publications. We’re looking forward to discovering similar intriguing uses…