After a greeting in Moari the author of Koha delivered a measured rant that put him more in the Aaron Swartz camp than the big publisher camp. My interpretation of his thesis is that digital publishing completely changes the 'book' business model, and powerful companies are trying desperately to preserve the old system where a book was a non transmittable, nearly non-replicable item of information.
And that was just the start - I'll try and list the tools and thoughts around them.
First up he got us to log into an instance of BookType he'd set up in a couple of hours on a German host - he says any IT department could do it in an afternoon. BookType is the tool of choice of FlossManuals.
So we started on our books after about 5 minutes. While we fiddle Chris kept coming up with related tools and thoughts like
- Project Gutenberg has a self-publish option
- By handholding our users through tortuous ebook platforms library staff are effectively unpaid 'groomers/promoters' for those publishers
- TOR Books don't use DRM (the tool of choice for fabricating scarcity) but are still turning a profit
- IE should not be used with BookType (actually the last two words are redundant
- Using Calibre to publish your book in different formats (PDF, epub et al)
- Using Google Docs to create and collaborate on the 'raw' content then use BookType to format it as an ebook
- Libraries offering an inhouse ebook publishing service, a digital 'makerspace'
- BookType can import an ebook from the internet archive, simply.
- Using http://www.online-convert.com/ to convert between ebook formats (or anything else for that matter)
- You can sell your ebooks via WordPress using the free ecommerce plug-in WooCommerce
- Or you could host your ebooks on http://dpubs.org/
- You can promote them using Open Publications Distribution System http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OPDS
- Why not get your own Open Book feed reader!
- Worried about version control? Flashbake monitors nominated directory creating versions of files http://bitbucketlabs.net/flashbake/
- Open Journal Systems http://pkp.sfu.ca/ojs/
- If you are gonna licence your stuff CC-BY go CC-BY-SA (share alike) rather than CC-BY-NC (non-commercial) because no-one can define commercial properly in all situations - it will be a barrier to use.
- While BookType can be used collaboratively it locks at chapter level - why not use EtherPad and have everyone work on the same page at the same time and see changes in real time!
- Want to showcase your other works, well of course there is free eportfolio software too: Mahara
- Speaking of alternative cost recovery mechanisms in publishing, ever seen Humble Bundle? It's tag line is 'Pay what you want. Support charity. Get eleven extraordinary audiobooks.' Just giggles check out the weekly sales data to see which OS users pays the most on average (Scroll down on the Games page)