Category: Writing

Webbased Book Writing & Book Publishing Tools

* This post is being regularly updated as I try different services and spot new ones. Information may be incomplete *

This is a list of tools I’ve encountered that let you write and (self) publish books. I’m paying special interest to tools that may offer collaborative editing, can export to various formats and offer an easy road to book distribution.

While the internet revolution has taken place, the tools available for creating books are not quite up to their full potential. I’ve struggled to find a solution that:

  1. Comes with great collaboration tools and workflow
  2. Has author friendly pricing
  3. Works online and offline
  4. Exports to all the popular formats, such as pdf, epub etc,
  5. Offers an easy way to manage distribution to popular platforms
  6. Give a great web based book experience
  7. Makes it incredibly easy for (proof)readers and editors to submit and suggest improvements in the text, with minimal hoops to jump through.

Also, I’m a big fan of Open Source and self hosted solutions. Not all the tools and services listed here meet all criteria, but I hope it’s a good overview of what’s available today.

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Honourable mentions

Services not included above if only for not being specifically tailored to book creation:
Poetica, editorially, Quip (famous ex-googlers are on this team), Authorea (for research papers, academic writing).

Some very interesting collaborative/commenting solutions that work with WordPress are CommentPress and Digress.it.

Readium, Sigil are EPUB oriented solutions worth checking out.

Collaborative book writing platform http://www.volpen.com/ has an interesting model.

This group called Assignmint seem to be about connecting writers with editors and other professionals involved with the publishing process.

Webook appears to focus in on writers getting cultivated and found on their social network platform, but doesn’t emphasize whatever writing tools they may have.

Thoughts

Let’s say you are an author with a limited budget. You want to tap into the wisdom of the crowd and let your readers, friends, peers improve your book. It better be supereasy for them to contribute. Right now, no tool or service makes it supereasy. Would-be proofreaders, reviewers and editors that you manage to attract do no want to learn Markdown language (f$$$ that! Let it go programmers!), they do no want to learn how to navigate complex tools and they do not want to spend their time figuring out how to sign up and juggle passwords. And please give them an easy way to go through the book without having to click through a flat hierarchy of loose documents that is meant to represent a book, make it easy to work through.