Meet The People's E-Book … and join the artist e-book revolution!

Regardless of the fact that I’ve been covering the digital publishing beat for the past six months or so, my journalism career actually has its origins in the decidedly low-tech world of DIY independent publishing. (I got my start, believe it or not, by reviewing records for a New York City-area punk-rock fanzine when I was still in high school. Thanks Jim!)

So I was quite naturally excited when I opened an email the other day from one Greg Albers, the publisher of Hol Art Books, a small press dedicated to the visual arts and digital publishing. Albers was reaching out to bring me the news of an e-book creation Web app he’s in the process of developing called The People’s E-Book. The app, he says, very much takes its cues from the DIY zine scene and the related publishing subculture of artists books:

“The People’s E-book is a super-simple online tool with an intuitive visual interface to allow anyone to make e-books quickly and for free. This is barebones e-book publishing. What the photocopier was to zines, we hope The People’s E-book will be to digital books.”

About a week ago, Albers launched a Kickstarter campaign to launch The People’s E-Book, and thankfully, it’s already been more than funded; Albers was asking for $10,000, and as of this writing, a total of $15,049 has been pledged.

According to Oliver Wise of The Present Group (he and Eleanor Hanson, also of The Present Group, will be developing the app), The People’s E-Book will be written in Javascript and HTML5. “That’ll allow us to remove a lot of the unnecessary steps in the editing process,” Wise says, “and keep it super simple and intuitive and easy to use.”

Albers also claims that The People’s E-Book will allow users to “create an e-book in minutes, not hours,” and that’s apparently due to the fact that it “requires only a bare minimum of content to output an e-book, while still encouraging advanced programming and creative hacking.” What’s more, the program will feature “a unique visual editor and intuitive WYSIWYG drag-and-drop controls.” (Bitchin’!)

The project’s Kickstarter pledge prizes, by the way, are pretty cool, and you’ve still got a full three weeks to make a donation to the cause. Scroll down to see program screenshots and watch the campaign video, or just click here for all the details. Oh, and one last thing: If The People’s E-Book really is as easy and intuitive as Albers makes it sound, there’s a good chance you’ll be reading about the publication of TeleRead’s first official e-book sometime soon. (You heard it here first!)

























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