A Vook Book for Your Nook

Vook Releases ‘Digital Publishing House in a Box’

E-book creation platform Vook wants to make everyone an e-book publisher.
09d4010 Vook Releases Digital Publishing House in a Box

Mr. Cavnar (linkedin.com)

Hate to break it to you paper purists, but it looks like creating and publishing e-books just got a whole lot easier with Vook’s new visual editor. Today, the e-book publisher launched a new platform that allows you to create, edit and publish your e-books across multiple devices, no code knowhow required.

Last month we reported that Vook hunkered down for three months with 500 engineers beta testers, transitioning their company from an e-book distributor to an all-in-one e-book publishing platform. Today’s launch is the first official product to come from that pivot.

“Vook is a digital publishing house in a box,” Vook’s VP of business development Matt Cavnar told Betabeat via phone. “It’s like a plugin for your business that automatically turns it into Sixth Avenue. Vook allows you to create an e-book and then style it with great granular precision, adjusting style templates, margins, dropcaps and headings. It gives you this extreme control over the content that no one else is giving you.”

The platform also includes drag-and-drop multimedia placement, and an auto-distribute feature, which lets you send out your e-books to Barnes and Noble, iBook and Amazon with the click of a button, he said.

Mr. Cavnar believes that now that e-book creation is so easy, great publishers are going to become e-book publishers within the next six to eight months. “I think a lot of media companies are going to turn into e-book organizations, and Vook makes it easy to realize that vision. You’re gonna see places like the New York Observer publishing e-books. You had the original ‘Sex and the City’ column, right? There’s no reason to not start publishing some of this stuff in e-book form,” he said. (We’ll be sure to bring that up at the next editorial meeting.)

In case you’re aching to create an e-book of your own, it’s worth noting that Vook isn’t just available to companies–individuals can also sign up to create and distribute e-books. This seems exciting at first, until you realize how many terrible publications are about to hit the Kindle store.

Vook’s cost may also be an issue for e-book authors. Before you start digging through old blog posts to cobble together The Next Great American E-Book, you might want to check out pricing. A Vook membership for one user runs $79/month, or $849/year, which is a little hefty. “An interesting concept, but frankly, far too expensive for the average author to use on their own,” noted one Publisher’s Weekly commenter.

Mr. Cavnar said Vook learned firsthand the trials and tribulations associated with e-book creation. “We spent two and a half years publishing e-books. We made over 800 titles and that was an incredibly painful process. It was just difficult to make multimedia enhanced e-books, so we weaponized our suffering into this platform and put it at your disposal so you don’t have to go through the hell we went through,” he laughed. As someone who consistently fights with HTML snippets just to resize an image or start a new text line, we find this act incredibly noble.

“Why suffer if we can’t share any enlightenment?” he added.

Follow Jessica Roy on Twitter or via RSS. jroy@observer.com