BookType is being touted as the WordPress of books and e-books as it lets you self publish your books for Kindle, other digital formats, and for that matter, even for print publications like Lulu.com (it lets you print books on demand).
Ever since the launch of digital book formats such as Kindle there have been many self published books and some writers have actually experienced massive success in the arena of self publishing.
Self publishing, as mentioned in this Read Write Web blog post, is a trend that is fast catching up. No longer you have to work with big publishing houses and elusive agents in order to get your book published. Although there are many online collaboration tools (even GoogleDocs) with BookType you can collaborate with other authors specifically for creating books.
BookType is a social platform with Twitter-like capabilities that allow you to exchange ideas and have real time conversations with different collaborators. It is ideal for non-fiction, research-based, data intensive books rather than fictions and stories, although it isn’t necessary that you cannot dabble with fiction using BookType. Along with tracking changes it also allows you to import content, grab data snippets, images and other bits of information and put them in your book.
It is quite easy to create a new book in BookType or work on an existing book. It uses a GUI interface to make working on your book as easy as possible, although right now the interface doesn’t look as fancy as you might find in many desktop as well as web-based applications such as word processors. The moment you have logged in you are given an option of either creating a new book or opening an existing book for editing.
As you can see in the above image there are different tabs you can use to manage various aspects of the book you are creating. Eventually when the book is created, you can publish it using your preferred format, whether you want to promote it on Kindle or somewhere else.
Every version of the book is saved in the history section so you can jump to any version you feel like and start working from the.
BookType is available in most of the platforms using computers, smart phones and tablet computers. It uses a web interface so if you want to download the open source software you will need to run it on a server.
Self publishing is an emerging market and there is going to be a horde of open source as well as expensive commercial tools to enable writers all over the world publish for themselves rather than for agents and publishers.
Here is an introductory video on BookType