Crowdfunding bookleteer

As mentioned in a post I wrote a couple of weeks ago, we’re hard at work building the ‘beta’ version of bookleteer to make it simpler to use, more robust and developing new features to make it even more useful. However, this does come at a cost and we’re low on funds to pay for the costs of programming and hosting the service.

Last Autumn we set up the Alpha Club as an experiment in asking friends and supporters to help us ‘crowdfund’ some of the costs associated with developing bookleteer. So far almost two thousand pounds has been donated to the project, but its a long way short of the £10,000+ in programming fees and costs we’re on course to spend in 2010 – do please make a donation if you enjoy using it and want to support us. As an added sweetener, we’ll send a special pack of the brand new, larger StoryCubes to anyone who donates £25 or more and joins the Alpha Club in September and October. Members also get discounts on any PPOD orders that they make for professionally printed eBooks & StoryCubes.

Please get in touch to join Alpha Club or make a secure donation via Paypal:

New Medium Size StoryCubes

bookleteer now has several hundred members signed up and using it, over 210 followers on twitter and around 115 followers on facebook. We’d love to see more people join this growing community of bookleteers creating and sharing their books and StoryCubes – please feel free to sign up for an account and get bookleteering.

inspiration making sharing

Art Space Tokyo: Shared Making

Art Space Tokyo is an intimate guide to the Tokyo art world by Ashley Rawlings and Craig Mod and a very beautiful book describing the buildings and neighbourhoods of 12 distinctive Tokyo galleries. There are maps for each of the areas, illustrations of the galleries by Nobumasa Takahashi  (the cover is a composite map of Tokyo by Craig Mod) alongside interviews and essays.

Inside pages from Art Space Tokyo

In the Preface to Art Space Tokyo Ashley and Craig write:

“We believe that art is not just an end goal, but a process involving all manner of people. Aside from the artists themselves, the art world is made up of collectors, curators, architects, businessmen, npo organizations and the patrons — those of us who gain pleasure from simply viewing and interacting with art — all taking part in some way to foster the creation and consumption process.”

Although here they were referring to the people who work in and with galleries and art they also applied this philosophy to the creation of Art Space Tokyo. Originally printed in 2008 the book was sold out by Spring 2009. In 2010 Ashley and Craig decided that they would like to update and reprint the book as well as create a free web edition for the iPad extending the original concept with videos of the spaces and interviews with local characters, sound-recordings that reveal the ambience of the neighbourhoods and rich interactive maps.

Illustration for GA Gallery, Yoyogi / Harajuku

In the spirit of shared making, it was at this point that they turned to Kickstarter as a way to raise the money necessary to achieve their goal. Kickstarter allows people to advertise their project and ask for contributions towards realising it. Requested contributions for any project range from a few dollars to a few thousand dollars – with your reward increasing alongside your contribution. For example, a pledge of $25 Art Space Tokyo would have got you a PDF of the book plus access to all project updates. At the other end of the scale for a pledge of $2500 you would have received all of the rewards of the other pledge amounts (e.g. copy of the book, original artwork) plus a 1-day tour of the art spaces of Tokyo with Craig Mod.

Is this shared making? Well, yes, I think it is.. As they write in the preface art – or making – is a process not just a product and through Kickstarter Ashley and Craig were offering the opportunity to become part of this process. And I hope the benefits were mutual – they got to reprint the book, contributors got a tangible reward (and presumably a warm fuzzy feeling from helping out two artists).

p.s. If you were thinking of contributing you’re too late… Ashley and Craig wanted $15,000. By 1 May when the pledges closed they had 265 backers and had raised $23,790!

updates & improvements

Updates & New Designs

We are just finishing tweaks to the latest set of updates and improvements to bookleteer and will be integrating them into the live server over the next 24 hours : there may be some disruption to the service whilst we do this.

We’re very excited by what’s in store, it’s a big step forward in both the usefulness and ease of use of bookleter :

    • new sizes : A3 & Ledger sizes will allow users to create larger eBooks and StoryCubes

    • new designs : the new ‘Custom Cover’ design allows users to create their own customised cover design and upload as an image

    • PPOD ordering system now integrated – users can order A6 or A5 eBooks, and StoryCubes from A4 or A3 sheets

    • new user dashboard showing most recent publications and orders

More details once everything’s up and running.

updates & improvements

Interface Updates for Authoring Pages

We’ve spent today making some further improvements to the user interface of the authoring pages for both eBooks and StoryCubes, reducing the screen clutter, grouping the choices of format etc to be made, and the content entering/uploading areas.

Principally we’ve added some diagrams to show the different options for eBooks (Classic and Book formats, Portrait and Landscape orientation) as well as StoryCubes (improving on the previous diagram added last week). We’ve also re-named some of the buttons to make the process of uploading content and then generating the PDFs clearer.

We’re looking into fixing some of the intermittent bugs and errors that have been reported over the next few weeks. A niggling issue with the HTML content editor where fonts and image were not flowing through into the eBook PDF at the correct sizes has now been isolated and will be fixed in the next week or so. At the same time we will fix the ‘preview HTML content’ functions to show how content added in the HTML editor will flow into actual eBook pages.



updates & improvements

Interface Tweak

Following feedback at this week’s PU&P we’ve made a small, but important tweak to the StoryCube create/edit page – a diagram showing the position and orientation of each image on the cube (front and back):


The exact dimensions of each StoryCube face are 55mm by 55mm and we recommend making images at no less than exact size at 72dpi (or 150dpi optimum).

updates & improvements

recent design tweaks

We’re continuing to make small changes and improvements to the design of the eBooks and StoryCubes – the most recent of which has been to make the way proboscis and bookleteer are credited on the back cover of eBooks more discreet: