What is Booki… no, really?

At some point, we have to lay down the vision for Booki. Now might be as good a time as any… Booki is a new approach to publishing. It is in simple terms, a kind of social network for publishing. Actually, I find the analogy of the social network fits quite well when trying to communicate what Booki does. Take a well known social networking site… take your pick… you probably use one or more. In these environments, people gather and share information about themselves. They chat with each other, keep each other ‘posted’ on what they are up to, share opinions and communicate what they are interested in etc.

All in all it’s great fun. Social networks are after all very social – however, mostly that’s all they are. Isn’t that a little sad? Wouldn’t it be nice if all that energy was put towards something useful…something that might change the world?

Imagine taking all that energy in a social network, putting it into an environment that is just as much fun, just as social, but directing the energy towards something productive. Imagine an environment where you chatted with others, met new people, kept them up to date with what you are up to, discussed opinions, had fun… except all this activity was focused on and around making and publishing books. Real books, ones that you could show your friends and tell them you helped create. Imagine spending all that time you currently spend on a social network, except that you find yourself helping someone write a free text book for kids who can’t afford books, or working to improve someone’s novel, or helping write a cook book on Mexican cooking, or a book on fixing Schwalbes.

That is exciting, that is the new world of publishing, that is what a social network can do, but none did… until Booki…

This is the environment we  are building. We have come a long way towards our goal – Booki is functional and pretty stable – but we still have a long way to go. The Booki development team is making fantastic progress and the good news is – it’s free software and that means you can help us get there faster. If you would like to help us revolutionise the world by bringing social networking to publishing… then welcome aboard 🙂


Booki, OLPC and OER

You may be familiar with the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project. It’s pretty well known and aims to provide free laptops to children all over the world who otherwise could not afford them.

The OLPC is also a pretty good ebook reader, as demonstrated here:

eBook on the OLPC

The above image is taken from Reading and Sugar – an excellent manual by James Simmons about working with ebooks on the OLPC. The image shows a book taken from Archive.org and imported into Booki – Booki then exported this to an ePub and this was opened on the OLPC as shown.

In the same manual, James talks about using Booki on the OLPC to author ebooks. To quote James:

“Booki is one of the best tools available for Sugar users to create e-books.  It can be used on the XO or from Sugar on a Stick.  It supports many authors collaborating on a single book.  It supports translating books into many languages.  It can create PDFs and EPUBs.  It can create books formatted for print-on-demand services.  It can create documents in Open Office ODT format (which Open Office can convert to MS Word format).  It can even be used to download, proofread, and correct EPUBs created by the Internet Archive.

Booki is an excellent option for teachers preparing textbooks, but it can be used by students for their own projects too.”

Below is an image from the same manual showing Booki being used in the Browse activity (the OLPC browser).

Booki on the OLPC

We are hoping the good work James has been doing will help raise the awareness of Booki as a platform for book authoring on the OLPC which would open up the world of publishing considerably and (we hope) open up exciting possibilities for OER (Open Educational Resources)…