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15 February 2012, 11:27

Sourcefabric introduces Booktype for writing and publishing books

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Booktype logo

Sourcefabric, developers of collaborative news gathering software Newscoop and radio station manager AirTime, has introduced its new application, Booktype, which sets out to bring collaboration to the process of writing and publishing print and digital books.

Booktype is, though, a reasonably mature project. The project manager for Booktype is Adam Hyde who is also Community Manager for FLOSS Manuals, a site that uses Booktype to help with the crowd-sourced creation of manuals for Free, Libre and Open Source Software. The reason behind this is that the Booktype software originated with FLOSS Manuals; Sourcefabric had previously funded new features in FLOSS Manuals' software and, at the end of 2011, Sourcefabric and FLOSS Manuals announced a formal partnership to develop the codebase further. The result of that is partnership is Booktype.

Booktype screenshot
Zoom Collaborating in Booktype
Source: Booktype
Booktype allows authors to create wiki-like books, composed of chapters where collaborators can use simultaneous editing and in-page chat and other tools to develop the content. Existing content can also be imported for reuse in new books. Once complete, the content can be output to pdf, epub, mobi, odt or html format documents and exported to Amazon, iBooks, or other print-on-demand or ebook stores. By merging the print and digital workflows, it becomes easier to keep all editions of a title up to date.

Booktype's Django-based platform can act as a host for numerous books, and maintains book history, versions, clones of books, tracks editing permissions and manages licenses. Content creators can use Booktype to aid in translation or to produce abridged or extended editions of titles using the remix facilities. Users who aren't planning on creating books can still sign up and use the system to track the development of books they are interested in.

Booktype is licensed as AGPLv3 software. It is supported on Debian, Ubuntu and Mac OS X Server, needs Python, PostgreSQL, Django, Redis and other packages when being installed. Writers who just want to create a single book, are directed to another Booktype-powered site,, which is a general site for content creators and collaborators.


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