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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