help & guides making sharing updates & improvements

Easy peasy way of making A4 & A3 StoryCubes on any printer

Recently, we’ve discovered a very, very simple way of making your own cardboard, hard-wearing StoryCubes, using only:

  • A free bookleteer account

If you haven’t signed up for a free bookleteer account yet, do so here.

  • A4 single label paper, suitable for Inkjet or Laserjet printers

Full sheet label paper, available from any decent stationers (Avery code: DSP01).

  • Blank StoryCubes

Read about StoryCubes, and order blank packs here.


Firstly, design your StoryCube.

Sign into bookleteer. If you’re a new user, read the help page.

Design your cube using the bookleteer templates, export the file as a PDF, then upload to the Create A StoryCube page, or upload each image individually.

Select Generate StoryCube and download the file, from the top right corner of the screen.

Next, print and make.

Print using the label paper, and cut around around only the faces of the cube, not the tabs – it should look a crucifix (You can also protect your cube by using adhesive cellophane, by affixing a layer on top of the label sheet, then cutting out).

Peel off the backing paper, and stick onto a blank cube.

Fold your StoryCube, and voila!

You can even use this method to make your own A3 size StoryCubes, without even owning an A3 printer.

Simply crop the A3 cube PDF into two documents, so that it can be printed across two sheets of  A4 paper.

Then, cut out the two segments as shown, to form a two-part crucifix shape.

Stick onto to a blank A3 cube and fold…

… and you now have an A3 cube, using a standard home printer.

If any bookleteers discover more clever ways to make StoryCubes, do share!

updates & improvements

New feature: bookleteer online bookreader

We’re really excited to announce a major new feature to bookleteer : an online bookreader allowing you to read and share your eBooks online. The bookreader is built in HTML5 and can be opened by standard web browsers – so now your eBooks can also be read on screen on a computer, laptop, smartphone (iPhone/Android etc) or tablet (iPad etc). Anyone can read an eBook that’s been shared via bookreader, but authors wanting to share their eBooks with bookreader will need to join the Alpha Club for the time being or have a Guest or Pro account.

Short Codes for easier linking

Each bookleteer publication has a unique short code for its bookreader version (e.g. which make sharing the links easier. The short codes also have QR codes (e.g. for mobiles and other enabled devices to open the link directly:
For instance the eBook, “City As Material : Skylines Ancient Shadows, City Lights” can be found here: and its QR code is

The QR code image can be embedded in websites, or downloaded and printed onto stickers, or incorporated into other things (postcards, business cards, other publications etc).

Embedding your eBook in your website or blog

The bookreader also allows you to embed a ‘mini reader’ of your eBook in web pages or blog posts (see below). You can share it in single or double page mode, as well as specifying a specific page to open to:

A link in the mini reader opens up the full screen version.
To see more examples please visit where we’ll be adding more embedded eBooks into the post pages over time.

Re-vamped interface for creating/editing eBooks

We’ve also re-vamped the interface for creating and editing eBooks to make choosing the right format easier. Selecting which design (Basic or Custom) you want to use is done by toggling the panes, then selecting the radio button at the bottom of each icon to decide which binding and orientation you want. The drop down menus below allow you to select the Sheet Size (A3 or A4) and the Reading (Left to Right or Right to Left) :

A new section now enables you to add more information to your book such as a short summary, an author bio, the name of the publisher, and copyright statement. This information show up in the bookreader’s information window.

You can add your own personal bio in the “my account’ page then simply click the “add my bio” button to add it to each publication you make rather than fill it in each time:

Acknowledgements & Thanks

The bookreader is open source software from the Open Library, who maintain one of the largest online knowledge resources and are part of the Internet Archive. Huge thanks to them for making this fantastic piece of software available to others to use.

help & guides updates & improvements

FAQ page and User Forum

We now have a Frequently Asked Questions page and User Forum for members of bookleteer to post questions, comments, tips and answers.

news updates & improvements

Short Run Printing Price Estimator

You can now estimate prices for eBooks and StoryCubes on the PPOD page using the estimator to select size of eBooks (A6 or A5) or StoryCube (A4 or A3), number of pages, quantity of copies and shipping destination (UK / European Union / North America / Rest of World).

Both eBooks and StoryCubes can now be ordered in multiples of 50 (from 50 to 500, then 750, 1000, 1500, 2000 etc). eBooks are printed as soon as payment is received, turnaround from 5-15 days depending on the shipping destination; StoryCubes are printed in batches of 1,000 – orders will be added to a batch and will go to press as soon as a batch hits 1000 cubes.

We believe that we offer some of the most competitive prices for full colour printing of booklets, coupled with our ground-breaking short run service enabling you to print from just 50 copies. Plus the unique Diffusion eBook & StoryCube formats allowing your publications to be downloaded and handmade by anyone anywhere. It all adds up to a remarkably flexible way to create and share both online and off.

If you haven’t already got an account, sign up and get bookleteering.

news updates & improvements

New pricing coming soon

We’re presently working on a simpler and more flexible ordering system for our Print & Publish On Demand (PPOD) service. The key changes are :

    the minimum total order for StoryCubes will be just 50 cubes (the minimum per cube design). We will print orders as soon as we have received enough for a print run (1000 cubes)
    eBooks will be available to order in multiples of 50 (the minimum per title) up to 500 copies, then 750, 1000 and custom orders for over 1000
    StoryCubes will also be available to order in multiples of 50 up to 500 cubes, then 750, 1000 and custom orders for over 1000
    the website and app will have an estimate calculator for all variables of eBooks and StoryCubes including prices for shipping to the UK, European Union, North America (USA/Canada) and Rest of the World.
    the ordering system will support both online payment via Paypal (including credit cards) and pro-forma invoicing for institutions and for larger orders where electronic bank transfers are preferred.

We are keeping in general to 2010 prices, although since we are changing our shipping methods there may be some small variances in total cost compared to last year. Members overseas will now be able to estimate prices for their location and order direct.

The key difference is that members will be able to order just 50 StoryCubes at a time – much more affordable than our previous minimum of 250 cubes per order. We hope this enables lots more people to experiment with making and using StoryCubes in their own projects and work.

We’re aiming to have the new system in place within the next week or two – meanwhile the 10% discount offer is open until Friday February 4th.

news publishing on demand updates & improvements

bookleteer API

Just before Christmas we implemented a major new feature on bookleteer – an API (application programming interface) enabling eBooks and StoryCubes to be generated by users direct from their own web applications and stored in or downloaded from their bookleteer accounts.

Realising Tangible Souvenirs
This has been a long-cherished ambition for us – harking back to plans we made for linking the earlier Diffusion Generator to our Urban Tapestries public authoring and mapping platform in 2004 – where we imagined people being able to select or collate material on Urban Tapestries by theme or around a geographic place and outputting it in different paper formats (Diffusion eBooks, postcards and posters). This was the origin of our concept for creating tangible souvenirs from digital experiences – bridging different media (online/offline, digital/analogue) with the different capabilities that people have. Our experiences of working with local communities in social housing and other contexts showed us how important it is not just to be able to share things in many ways, but to tailor a range of modes of interaction to the capabilities and capacities of the people who had the knowledge and experience to share, but not necessarily the familiarity with web and mobile technologies to be engaged by the opportunities we saw them offering.

We’ve continued to develop our tangible souvenir concept through other projects – such as the Sensory Threads prototype – but the bookleteer API now represents a crucial milestone for us in building the links between our earlier work on public authoring and media scavenging and the current ecosystem of web technologies and public/open data initiatives. We hope to see lots of exciting ideas building on the first experiments – bookcubes – we commissioned from James Bridle last spring. Look out too for some forthcoming experiments by Simon Pope & Gordon Joly.

Accessing the API
Access to the API is limited for the time being to Alpha Club members and guest testers whilst we put it through its paces and explore how it can be used (our resources are rather limited for supporting it). We’re hoping to organise some events in 2011 where people can come along and explore what they might do with the API. In the meantime, if you’re taking part in Culture Hack Day this weekend (January 15th & 16th) then you can ask to test it out using the special account we’ve created for participants (ask the organisers for access details on the day).

If you do have an exciting idea for mashing up the bookleteer API with your own web service or public data please do get in touch, we’d love to hear from you and see how we can help.

updates & improvements

Recent Updates and Changes

bookleteer members will have noticed a few changes to the site in September and October as we’ve pushed through a series of updates, changes and fixes to the platform. Here’s a quick run down of the most important of these from a member’s perspective, since many more were ‘under the hood’.

First Time eBook & StoryCube Generation
We’ve streamlined the process of generating eBooks and StoryCubes by making the initial button on the Create pages into ‘Upload & Generate PDFs’.

eBook & StoryCube PDF Thumbnails
This week we’ve implemented a change to replace the generic PDF icon with actual thumbnails of each PDF’s first sheet. This is designed to make it easier to distinguish different publications when shown in lists (such as the Inspirations or My Publications pages) and to give a quick preview once your eBooks and StoryCubes have been generated.

My Publications Page
Inspirations Page

Adding Images, PDFs & My Gallery
We have completely changed the way images and PDFs are added to eBooks and StoryCubes – there are now three ways to add an image :

  • upload a file from your computer
  • enter a URL for an image already online (for instance on Flickr)
  • browse through your gallery and use an image already uploaded
  • Create eBook Upload image from computer
    Create eBook Page Insert Image from URL
    Create eBook Page Add image from gallery
    Create StoryCube Upload image from computer
    Create StoryCube Page Insert image from URL
    Create StoryCube Page Insert image from gallery

    PDFs can also be chosen by either uploading a new file from your computer or selecting from a previously uploaded file in your gallery.

    Create eBook Page Upload PDF
    Create eBook Insert PDF from gallery
    Create StoryCube Upload PDF from computer
    Create StoryCube Insert PDF from gallery

    Members can use the My Gallery page to review (and delete if necessary) any image files or PDFs in their account.

    My Gallery Page

    Facebook Integration
    Lastly, for those of you who use facebook, we’ve integrated bookleteer’s login so that you can automatically login to bookleteer when you are also logged in to facebook.

    news updates & improvements

    scheduled maintenance and new features

    bookleteer will be offline for a few hours today as we do some scheduled maintenance and introduce some new features (the new image and content PDF gallery plus some other small tweaks). We’ll post more info about the changes when the site’s back online later today.

    *** Update 18.30 : its taking us longer than anticipated mainly due to the production team working across several different timezones (UK, Australia, California!), but we hope be back in service around midnight BST.

    *** Update 22.35 : we’re back – we hope you enjoy the new gallery feature and ability to add images to eBooks and StoryCube from URLs, new uploads and images already uploaded. We’re also introducing Facebook integration as the first stage of making bookleteer work better with other platforms.

    news updates & improvements

    A Glance Ahead

    Recently we’ve been tweaking things under the hood of bookleteer and planning the transition to a public beta version (hopefully later this year). I thought I’d give a brief outline of some of the improvements we’re planning to introduce soon and a look ahead to how we’ll shape bookleteer in the future.

    Forthcoming Updates & Tweaks
    In the next couple of weeks we’ll be deploying an update that will provide an image and file gallery to allow users to better manage their images and source PDF files. Images used frequently on different publications (such as logos or Creative Commons graphics) will only need be uploaded once. It will also allow users to link directly to images on their own websites or services such as Flickr (via a URL). We think this will streamline how images are used and make using bookleteer more intuitive and personal at the same time.

    Users will have noticed some smaller changes recently : links on the dashboard to our Facebook page and activity there; a gallery of images tagged with “bookleteer” on Flickr and a feed of the latest free-to-download eBooks & StoryCubes to be posted on We’re hoping more users will use the facebook page to share their experiences and use the “bookleteer” tag to post photos of their own eBooks and StoryCubes.

    Public Beta
    This will be a major upgrade to bookleteer and enable some very exciting new ways for users to create eBooks & StoryCubes, both individually and collaboratively. We’re planning to introduce a premium paid-for account with some exclusive services :
    – creating groups of other bookleteers and sharing collaborative editing privileges for eBooks & StoryCubes
    – access to a bookleteer API to allow eBooks & StoryCubes to be generated from their own applications and stored in their user accounts
    – a ‘scrapbook’ app for mobiles (iPhone/iPad/Android) allowing users to send bookleteer text and images from their mobile devices to generate eBooks & StoryCubes

    Free users will continue to be able to create eBooks & StoryCubes of their own (though limited to a smaller number of ‘active’ publications and server space than premium users) and to order PPOD versions.

    We’re also looking into other features and greater integration with social media platforms like Facebook & Flickr, as well as improving the interface design (whilst striving to keep it simple and elegant).

    Alpha Club PPOD Discounts
    Lastly we’ve added some new discounts on PPOD orders for Alpha Club Members – we’d like to sign up more members to help us fund the development of bookleteer as we are way off our fundraising target : if you like using bookleteer, please contribute if you can.

    help & guides updates & improvements

    Updated help page

    We’ve updated the help page to reflect questions arising from the new features and services we introduced last week. Please refer to it for information on the differences between designs, page sizes, image dimensions and ordering. Do please give us feedback (via this blog, our twitter account or by email) if you have further questions or queries.