OurBoox, the Israeli startup publisher looking to dust off your manuscript
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Photo Credit: PR

Israeli OurBoox invites all undiscovered writers to break out their hidden literary works of art from where they stuffed it away in a drawer somewhere and get down to finally publishing them

Photo Credit: PR

Photo Credit: PR

Despite all the advances in technology and the Internet for read quality content that’s hard to find, many writers still have to fight for the right to display their work to the public.Usually publishing a book, digital or physical, entails a whole lot of bureaucracy, a considerable financial investment and all this even before they know whether their book has any chance of making it or not. This is is a problem that plagues writers all over the world and motivates them to continue to write books that in the end wind up sitting in a drawer collecting dust.

OurBoox, an Israeli startup and publishing service would like to help these books see the light of day, and maybe even sell a few copies.

Everyone wants to be a writer

One of the great simple pleasures in life is the feeling you get when starting a new book. OurBoox believes this feeling should be free. It believes there’s a revolution taking place through technology that’s democratising content and allowing voices to be expressed and heard free of charge. We see this with pictures and with video but not so much with works of literature. OurBoox would like to change all that.allowing voices to be heard and shift is still taking place and they have a unique way of adding to the process.

Ripping out a page from YouTubes playbook, OurBoox, on the one hand, offers a platform for anyone to upload and publish their book to a public audience. However, if a writer wants to use OurBoox they have to be prepared to waive their rights to the book as all work on OurBoox is offered free of charge.

The company’s founder, Professor Mel Rosenberg, believes that books should be provided for free. Platforms currently available in the market are not fulfilling this need. Whether it be for writers to be able to publish their work or for consumers to be able to read them. This goes for all genres whether it be cookbooks, comics, and even children’s books. In fact, while the platform was initially set up to provide a solution specifically for the dissemination of quality, free children’s books to the general public, Given the resulting high demand for other genres the platform expanded to include them.

From the book Your Piano. Illustration by Miki Ben-Cnaan

From the book Your Piano. Illustration by Miki Ben-Cnaan

As of today, the platform allows anyone who wants to publish. It does not matter if it’s a short 5-page novella or a 10 years in the making magnum opus.

The user interface was designed specifically to enable non-technical authors to understand how to publish online without hassle. All you need to do is to create a name and start posting publicly.

The simple backend model of the site does not support DRM locking of the digital content to keep it from being viewed by the general public, nor is there any SEO options. However the site and content are all HTML 5 based which means they are searchable via standard search engines.

Enjoying the benefits of a network

Users will find numerous reference books available on the site, some of them offer not only text but illustrations that accompany them and relevant pictures of the story itself. If you’re an author and you lack the talent for drawing your own accompanying graphics, an extensive community is growing around the company that help you overcome this obstacle and provide you with the artwork or graphics that you need.

According to Rosenberg, the writers can post a message on OurBoox’s Facebook page to search for a suitable illustrator who will help them complete the story, Alternatively, authors can use one sites like Fiverr to meet this need. Pictures are uploaded by dragging them to the right page. It’s as simple as that.

Writing and pictures aside, our favorite element of the platform and a significant advantage over printed books is the ability to edit and add text after publication. So, if you have any spelling mistakes your book has already been published or if you’ve decided to change certain aspects of the work due to criticism or for some other reason, you can always add notes, pictures and other elements and make sure that the book will remain up to date and to the point.

If you ask us, the possibilities of this platform are best seen when serving families or small followings of niche writers.

Parents can use this as a way of encouraging their children to express their creativity and share it with family and friends. First time authors can try out material and see how the public reacts before looking to take their writing to the next level.

Screen shot of the fox, the wolf and hunter Moshik

Screen shot of The Fox, the Wolf and Moishik the Hunter

Wanting to change the world

OurBoox was founded by Prof. Mel Rosenberg along with Ran Shternin, and within 11 months since they launched they’ve managed to accumulate a library of 1,000 books. The site offers support not only for English works but also other languages. The platform does not restrict the pages in a book or the length of the text, so that a short song or even comics are welcome to be shared on the platform for consumption by users from all over the world.

For example, one of the most prominent books available on the site is Let Them eat French Toast , written by Jim Knight, a former British politician who, along with a book called The Fox, the Wolf and Moishik the Hunter was illustrated by children’s summer workshops at the Holon Institute of Technology.

There is no doubt that the product meets the needs of many people who tried their hand at writing and then stuffed their work away in the drawer, to insecure or uncertain of how to proceed once they completed it. However a big question remains. Money. How does the site plan to support itself?

Rosenberg explains that the goal is not to make a profit but to change the world for the better. “Entrepreneurs need to think about what they’re doing and how is it good for the world. They can think about money but they also should be willing to lose money to achieve their vision.”’ Currently Rosenberg is focused on creating a user community and building a base of writers, since this is the main focus of their platform.

Bottom line, if you, like us, have stories that are deep in the drawer and have yet to see the light of day, Rosenberg invites you to break them out and upload them to his site. Who knows, maybe Bantam Books will stumble upon your talent and who knows what might happen next?

 

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Henn Idan

About Henn Idan


Lover of gadgets, apps and technology in general. Somehow among her many activities, which include, destroying cellular devices for the sake of science and an obsessive preoccupation with social networking, Idann finds time to write an article or two for Geektime on new applications, promising startups and product reviews for pretty much every new gadget that has ever hit the market - ever.

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