[FM Discuss] books and fm - need your thoughts!

adam hyde adam at flossmanuals.net
Mon Jul 28 01:53:53 PDT 2008


I just wanted to pitch-in with a few questions about how people would
like to manage books in FM. This is a pretty important moment for FM as
we are really about to enter into a very interesting new phase - book
publishing. Its especially interesting as I don't see anyone on the map
able to go direct from 'wiki' (FM is at its heart a wiki) to polished
books as easily as we can. So...discussion on this is really important
for the shaping of what we are doing as we are cutting new ground and
there are no established models that we can follow. 

So please chime in with your thoughts, small, big or otherwise!

A short update first...It seems like the automated PDF generator
(Objavi) is working nicely. Brianna made a Wikimedia Commons manual in
FM and then uploaded this to lulu.com and its looking lovely. Its the
first book made using Objavi and I got the thumbs up from FMs designer
(Lotte) so it passed the FM good-design certification process :)

There is just one undocumented feature (ah, yes, Joshua we might even
call this one a bug ;) to sort out with the generator and how it manages
embedded fonts, but when this is done then I think we have a pretty
astonishing mechanism in place for producing books straight out of FM.

The question that needs to be addressed now is how are books to be

The first thing to remember is that all the sources in FM are GPL so
anyone can make a book out of FM and do what they like with it. The
first question to answer then is what exactly is a FM book? Is it
something made in FM and sold in FM, or is it something broader? I can,
for example, imagine several scenarios, none of which are exclusive (nor
is it an exhaustive list of possibilities) but we may wish to prefer
some approaches more than others.

So... here are three of the main possibilities I have thought of, please
critique and throw in other possibilities...

*FM Book Shop*
This is the most traditional model. FM produces a series of books and
sells them online or possibly strikes up distribution deals with book
shops. This would be managed 'by FM' (in this case me really unless
someone puts their hand-up as we don't have anyone else working fulltime
for FM). Profits (if any) are managed by FM (me again unless someone
else wishes to take charge of book sales).

*Maintainer Seller*
What books are made and sold are determined by the Maintainer(s) of each
manual. How they are sold is also determined by the same person(s).
Profits (if any) are managed by the Maintainers.

*Independent Seller*
Possibly the least traditional - we endorse _anyone_ to make and sell
the books. In this case we provide the sources for the book and if
someone wants to sell the books using any method and at any price then
we say go for it. Profits (if any) go directly to the seller.

There are questions associated with each model. I have some thoughts on
these already but I would rather not shape the discussion with questions
about each here. 

ok... _your_thoughts please!



Adam Hyde
FLOSS Manuals

+ 31 6 2808 7108
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