Over the past couple of years Grace Tillyard has been leading a groundbreaking project to enhance breast cancer awareness in Haitian women and their communities. The project has been hosted by NGO Innovating Health International and funded by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and Pfizer.
As part of this project, Grace has co-developed with local people an information booklet and a Patient Notebook using bookleteer to help communicate more about the condition and the medical treatments available, as well as to allow people to record their own medical information in a dedicated book of their own. A second book covering cervical cancer has also been produced. Recently the United Nations Populations Fund have been instrumental in enabling IHI to print around 15,000 copies of each of the information books for distribution to communities across Haiti.
A Kreyol (Haitian Creole) version of the book folding instructions is also now available (see below).
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:
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.
A number of people I’ve spoken to about the Periodical have asked me to explain more about the vision behind it. Why is it necessary now? What are we hoping to achieve? Why should people subscribe? So I’m taking this opportunity to share my thoughts, hopes and aspirations – both as a rallying cry for others who partake of the same spirit of independence from the mainstream and want to participate, and also in the hope of getting the ball rolling to attract some subscribers.
Publishing as a Conversation
Over the years Proboscis has been exploring ever more conversational forms of sharing our stories, knowledge and experiences – always seeking to make work that is reflective and inspirational, not a full stop. The form of the book and traditional publishing – requiring lengthy processes of commissioning, editing, design and production, not to mention financial capital – seems so often to be an end point. The finality of the published word, of the authoritative edition underscored by the exclusivity of the world of publishers, editors and writers. What our Diffusion eBook format and the bookleteer self-publishing platform have striven towards is to offer an alternative to these. Not a replacement, but another path.
When I originally conceived the Diffusion eBook in 1999 I wanted to create a hybrid that would disrupt the monopoly of the screen: a publication that would be distributed digitally, but would find form in being printed out, folded, cut and made up into a physical book. Something that could bypass whatever physical barrier that might prevent either a traditional book or purely online text from reaching whoever wanted to read it. We designed our eBooks so that they could be samizdat for the digital age. Email them, photocopy them, burn the files to CD-ROM to share. Use the cheapest, most long-lived and reliable medium we have (paper) for communicating what we value in a way that privileges what is being communicated, not the fetish of the mode of communication. With bookleteer we have extended this original concept into the world of mobile and social media. The physical eBooks all have links to their digital selves, both as QR codes and human readable links. We have bridged not just the digital and physical but the handmade and the industrially produced too through the Short Run printing service which makes high quality professionally printed and bound books available to all at very low cost and in low numbers (from 25 copies).
the Periodical : a space of oddments and all sorts
So what is it we are trying to achieve by selecting one eBook a month, printing it and sending out to subscribers? My vision is that we will not just send out beautifully printed books to paper fetishists and analogue recidivists but that we will build up a vibrant community of writers, thinkers and makers who feel empowered to respond – not just to read the eBooks published via bookleteer or those printed and posted out, but to make their own publications as ripostes, as new tangents or simply because they’ve been inspired to share their own stories, experiences or creations. The Periodical should be an incitement to a publishing riot. Everyone is invited, though not all will respond and even fewer will be selected to have their eBook printed and distributed. But it will be different. Not a magazine, nor a ‘best of’ compendium. Entire eBooks, selected for printing and distributing once a month.
This is most definitely a space for the eccentric and eclectic; for those who are seeking without always knowing what they are searching for; who value the off-beam, the esoteric, the strange and unfamiliar. As an editor of journals, books and essays over the past 20 or so years I have always tried to commission different voices, not just those people I already know and with whose work I am familiar. There are always threads of enquiry in my search for new people to work with, it isn’t random, but the patterns are perhaps best discerned over the long years and not in the more time-proximate juxtapositions which throw different people together in a particular issue or series of eBooks. Tracing these patterns is a job for another day, another post (perhaps by someone else) but, simply put, everything I have commissioned, every project I have devised and led, has been motivated by an attempt to push the boundaries of what we know, how we know it and why we value these experiences. This questing for new perspectives, to experience things through others’ eyes and senses, this drive to follow instincts and not follow the herd will be the engine of selection for the Periodical.
September 2012 is the twelth anniversary of the publication of our very first series of Diffusion eBooks, Performance Notations. Over the past 12 years, we shared almost 500 eBooks on our Diffusion Library website many of them new commissions as well as books by partners and collaborators for their own projects. We are also seeing some dramatic changes across society and culture. The public goods which we have enjoyed here in the UK since the end of the Second World war and birth of the Welfare State are being eroded and displaced. Our social and cultural heritage is being looted by freebooters and buccaneers in the name of economic efficiency and profit. The work Proboscis has commissioned and freely shared over the past 12 years through Diffusion and now via the tools and platform we are making freely available through bookleteer are our own modest contribution to the Public Good, to the commonwealth. the Periodical is a simple way to seed a loose community of like-minded people around the theme of sharing what we value in ways that evade being a full stop. That are an incitement, a provocation, and invitation or an inspiration. I hope we are able to attract enough participants to not just make this a sustainable project, but that can help us grow and expand what bookleteer can do, that might enable us to devise new projects and commission new works that are as ambitious as anything we’ve done before.
What Kind of eBooks?
Next week we will be deploying some major changes to bookleteer (see here for details). Non-users will be able to browse all the eBooks and StoryCubes which users have made and shared publicly on the site. There are some gorgeous publications that have been created over the past 3 years to give a sense of what is possible, some of which will be considered for early issues of the Periodical. I am also inviting an eclectic group of friends, colleagues and fellow travellers to commit to making and sharing at least one new eBook on bookleteer over the next year for inclusion in the selection pool. I’ll be posting about who they are and why they are taking part in this project very soon. Update : check out the new bookleteer Library page to browse what people have made.
Subscribe to the Periodical
To launch the Periodical we need at least 100 subscriptions – if you would like to receive a beautifully printed eBook once a month (more if we can also raise sponsorship for new series of commissioned eBooks too), then please subscribe here.
The ARCHIZINES World Tour is continuing its traversal of the globe, with added dates for Autumn. This collection of independent architecture zines, journals and magazines from around the world, curated by Elias Redstone, and featuring a publication from our very own City As Material, will be on show in various countries over the following weeks. Check the schedule for venues and dates.
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).
The other week we fled London for serene, sunny Dorchester, joining Tim Wright and Joe Flintham, as well as a handful of intrepid walkers eager to try out The Haunter box they have developed.
Enamoured with the surroundings and bewitched by the box, we followed the routes Tim had set for the day. Walking, talking, and reciting Hardy’s poems from the handy booklet Giles had created, we were struck by how much the box can change the way you engage with the landscape, and the pace and manner in which you travel through it. There’s a grand charm to bearing its burden – carrying the physical weight, as if a stone ferried from the base of a hill to a cairn, and the weight of its words, surrendering to how Hardy saw the world in his mournful state.
The box is just a prototype at the moment, but Tim and Joe are planning to add several more features and capabilities. I can’t wait to clasp it tight once more and be led through the land. In the meantime, we’re thinking of what we will create from the experience and the subsequent discussions, to form part of our City As Material series.
Tim has written an account, and uploaded a host of videos and sounds recorded from the day on his site, which should enlighten and entertain in equal measure. Here’s a teaser…
Greetings, bookleteers. Thought you might like to see two books which have been published recently using our Short Run Printing Service.
Axis Design Architects have used bookleteer once again, this time for ‘Community Consultation & Neighbourhood Planning’, which showcases their work with residents during design processes (they even mention using our blank Storycubes during workshops!) as well as ‘BIM and the Affordable Passivhaus’, detailing a recent collaborative project.
Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination have also created this lovely book, entitled ’37 Shadows: Listening to children’s stories from the woods’ – a collection of stories gathered from class trips to a local park.
If you’re thinking of using bookleteer to create your own books, we’ve just slashed the cost of A6 printed books between 30%-50%, and our minimum print run is now just 25 copies. Check out the price estimator to see how much it would cost you. Get cracking!
For our next City As Material venture, we will be working with Tim Wright on his new digital public art project The Haunter, inspired by Thomas Hardy’s ‘Poems of 1912/13′, enacted 100 years after Hardy wrote his famous sequence of verses mourning the death of his first wife, Emma.
Participants will embark on walks along a specific route with a crafted wooden box, embedded with smart technology, ‘haunted’ by the legacy of Hardy’s poems. Able to speak, play recordings of poems, conversations and music, capture sounds and react dynamically using geolocation, the box will enhance and document their experiences.
On Tuesday 19th June we’ll be joining Tim and box developer Joe Flintham (amongst others) in Dorchester to try it out in the field – a day of ‘recording, beta testing, walking and talking’ – forming a book (or series of books) on what happened, ideas discussed, and creative responses to the walk.
For a detailed description of the day, check here – it would be great if you could join us.
Bookleteer will be at this year’s Soho Food Feast on Saturday 26th May – a one-day event of demonstrations, tastings and cooking contests, boasting many of London’s most renowned chefs and restauranteurs, in aid of Soho Parish Primary School.
We’ll be encouraging children from the school to sample dishes and become food critics for the day, capturing their responses with a specially designed bookleteer notebook illustrated by Mandy and introduced by Fay Maschler, restaurant critic for the Evening Standard. We’re also going to compile a book of the best reviews which will be sold to raise money for the school.
The line-up is beyond tantalising, and needless to say, it’s all for a good cause. Nom nom nom!