Genealogists, engineers, teachers, and thousands of others have an interest in publishing books. Traditional publishing methods have made it difficult to publish your own book, but modern technology is changing the process dramatically. Publishing a book is becoming easier and easier almost daily. A new service called Liberio provides simple ebook creation and publishing straight from Google Drive. Best of all, Liberio is available free of charge.
Publishing your own books is now only a push of a button away. The ebook you produce can be read on almost any computer, tablet, Kindle, iPad, Android smartphones and tablets, or any similar device used as an ebook reader.
Liberio can be used to create an ebook, magazine, school project, you name it, and from publishing to distributing the finished product. Of course, Liberio can be used to create genealogy books or a society’s group project to extract records of historic interest. It also can be used to create an ebook of blog posts, magazine, thesis paper, school project, or a collection of recipes. Some teachers are using it to create publications for the iPad for students, and education is likely to be a special focus for the platform.
I can imagine genealogists using Liberio for publishing the results of their research efforts although the Liberio web site doesn’t mention genealogy specifically. Instead, the service is promoted as being useful for almost any form of publishing. I can envision this service being used not only by individual genealogists but also by societies or other organizations that wish to extract old records or to publish local histories and then sell them to a worldwide audience. In fact, the service also works well with multiple authors who collaborate on creating a new publication. Collaborative editing in Google Docs together with Liberio’s one-click publishing lets either individuals or groups share their work with everyone in seconds, for free or (within a few minutes) for a fee.
Liberio doesn’t provide a method of selling ebooks. Instead, it is strictly a service for creating the ebooks. Once the new ebook has been created, it will require only a few minutes to add the book to Amazon, Google Play Books, or the Apple iBooks Store and to make it available for purchase by customers around the world. In addition, the author can (optionally) offer ebooks free of charge on Liberio, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or from a society’s web site. The user will then download the ebook directly from Liberio.
Liberio integrates seamlessly with Google Drive. Almost any text-based document can be converted into an ebook. The new author will need to write the book by using Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or almost any other popular word processor, and then save the file on their Google Drive. As long as Google Drive can recognize the text, Liberio can be used to create the ebook. Luckily, Google Drive can recognize most popular word processing formats. If your word processor normally saves data in a format that Google Drive cannot understand, the same program probably has an option to save documents in Microsoft Word’s DOC or DOCX formats or in RTF format. If so, you can save your file in one of the accepted formats and use Liberio’s free services with your word processor.
Liberio imports (nearly) all features of your Google Drive documents: text format, fonts, and images that you have incorporated will appear in your ebook. Liberio also allows the you to upload a custom-created cover image or to choose from a variety of free cover templates. Liberio produces ePubs compliant with the official standard. Your ebooks will be ready for all major ebook stores and social media sites that you wish to use.
To use Liberio, you first create a free account. You then log in and click “add book” (or, in some cases, a box with a + sign in it) to choose a new document to import and start your creation process. After clicking to choose your document from Google Drive, you fill in the information and customize the look of your ebook.
Click “Create” and Liberio builds your ebook for you along with a mini website to showcase the ebook, synopsis, author, download button, and sharing options.
Want to publish? That requires just one more mouse-click.
The following is a quote from the Liberio web site:
“Click and choose a document to import to start your eBook creation. After doing so, you’ll find yourself on the edit screen, and this is where the pieces really come together; you’ll customize the look of your eBook, from synopsis, to page breaks, licensing, and more. Click “Create” and Liberio builds your beautiful eBook for you along with a mini site that showcases your eBook’s cover, synopsis, author, download button and sharing options. Want to publish? It takes one click. And of course, you have the option to share with the world. Be sure to do so! Everyone wants to see what you’ve worked so hard on.
“Within minutes, you have a beautiful eBook and a mini website for it, all for free. We can’t wait to see what you share and publish with the world. And just know, we’re here to help you along the way.”
Liberio produces ebooks that are compliant with the ePub 2.0 specification, the XML-based distribution format standard for digital publications. As a result, the ebooks can be read directly on most ebook readers. All of this is invisible to the author: he or she writes the ebook in a favorite word processor, stores the manuscript in Google Drive, then uses Liberio to automatically convert the manuscript into ebook formats suitable for all of today’s popular ebook readers.
Here is some helpful detail from the Liberio web site:
“The Style Editor
Ensure your eBook’s style is exactly the way you imagined it from the beginning. Design the cover, page layout, and each individual chapter if you prefer. Fancy using markdown? We have it. Want to embed links, images, and videos to enhance your eBook? You can.
“With full customization of the look and feel, you’ll create a simple, easily readable and beautiful eBook for everyone to see, download and share.
We want to change the way you experience digital content. Times are changing, and so is the way we read in the digital world. With vine and soundcloud integration, you can now embed audio and video files to make your eBook even more exciting.
“In-app ISBN purchasing
As an author, sometimes you give your work away for free, and sometimes you sell it. We don’t want to ever prevent you from making money in your career as an author and in order to do so, you will need an International Standard Book Number (ISBN).
“Now, with ISBN integration, you can purchase an ISBN, attach it to your eBook and sell away on any platform you prefer.
Nothing beats having a place to show off all your published eBooks to the world and soon we’ll allow you to do so with your own personal Author Profile. Create a descriptive bio about yourself and links other people can use to reach you. Everyone needs and should have a website and now we’re giving you one for free.”
All of the services Liberio offers today are available free of charge. So how does the company plan to make money? The company’s managers say they are planning to offer professional accounts with additional functionality after the company becomes more popular. However, all services offered free of charge today are expected to remain free forever.
If you want to offer your ebook on Amazon, Google Play Books or the Apple iBooks Store, you will need to copy the ebook from Liberio to any or all of those websites and to add in payment information and other information required by each store. Some of those stores also offer an option to make an ebook available free of charge. As mentioned earlier, for books that are free to the reader, you can share books on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ directly from Liberio.
I used Liberio on my Macintosh and it seemed to work well. However, when newsletter editor Pam tried it on her Windows system, it would occasionally hang. She was always able to click in REFRESH and the problem would disappear. Since Liberio is a brand-new service that is still in beta, I wouldn’t be surprised if it has a few bugs. After all, that is the purpose of a beta: to identify bugs. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see bugs disappear in a day or two and possibly even have new bugs appear. If you are interested in using Liberio, you have two choices: start now and help the developers identify any problems or to wait until the beta period is finished and most bugs have been eradicated.
You can learn more about Liberio at http://liber.io. You can also sign up and use the company’s free services at the same address.