Powered by the 2012 Lovie Award-winning open source software Booktype, the new service offers a platform that aims to make it easier for people and organisations to collate, organise, edit, collaborate on and publish books to digital and print formats.
With social tools, flexible workflows and freedom to choose any licence, Booktype Pro is designed for internal or public-facing use. Sourcefabric maintains each platform's installation, hosting, upgrades, and security. The Starter package, which is free, allows 10 people to collaborate on one book. Advanced packages which allow greater customisation, unlimited users, and thousands of books start at $15.99 a month.
Speed and efficiency of production is a central paradigm of the service. Booktype Pro allows publishers to produce well-designed books ready for distribution to their readers’ favourite medium - whether that is a laptop screen, an e-reader, a mobile device or a print book - within minutes of the content being finished or updated.
“Collaboration is an important part of publishing,” said Booktype Project Lead Adam Hyde, “and online production platforms facilitate this, offering much greater opportunities than we have ever had before for exploring and improving the process of making books.”
By facilitating editing and translation and eliminating the need for wikis, cumbersome CMSes, or e-mailed word processor files, Booktype aims to promote and encourage the kind of collaborative writing process employed by South Africa’s Siyavula, who use it as a community hub for over 1000 teachers across South Africa to share class notes and to collaboratively write textbooks.
Other early adopters include YouCanPrint.it who aim to be Italy’s first print-on-demand service able to offer authors the possibility to write, publish, and distribute books on one platform. Booktype enabled Internews to produce How To Bypass Internet Censorship, a 300-page book now available in nine languages, in five days. The 442-page Cryptoparty handbook, an internet phenomenon that was downloaded thousands of times on its release in October 2012, was written using Booktype in three days with 20 authors from remote locations worldwide.
Sourcefabric is a Czech non-profit organisation that builds open source tools for journalists, newsrooms and radio stations. It has its headquarters in Prague, branches in Berlin and Toronto, and representatives in Minsk, Guatemala, Warsaw, Belgrade and Cluj. It started life as CAMP in 1998, the new-media arm of the Media Development Loan Fund. In 2010 Sourcefabric launched as a wholly autonomous organisation securing private funding that propelled it into the ranks of one of the largest European open source projects for news and media.