Innovation That Matters

Leanpub encourages authors to publish early & edit often

Publishing & Media

As a published author and startup founder, Peter Armstrong began to see similarities between (self) publishing a book and running a startup. Particularly a lean startup, which emphasizes rapid development and early, frequent iteration based on customer feedback. This prompted him to launch Leanpub, which helps bloggers put those lean practices to work to turn their content into books. Bloggers begin by signing up with the site; for authors who don’t already have a blog of their own, Leanpub will create one for them. Leanpub will then turn the user’s blog into a PDF book. What’s essential to the lean publishing concept is that Leanpub lets authors publish and sell in-progress books. It allows for easy updates and automatic distribution to existing readers, allowing for a cycle of early feedback and constant improvement. Using Leanpub is entirely free; the company supports itself by taking a 25 percent cut of the sale price of users’ books. (Typically, author royalty is 10 percent of the publisher’s revenue, which is 50 percent of the sale price, Leanpub points out.) Venture Hacks recently published a 1,000-page book through Leanpub that’s continuously updated; pricing is USD 19. Now in early public beta, Leanpub says it will add support for MOBI and EPUB formats soon. As consumers are increasingly captivated by the iPad and other e-reader devices—and as authors risk getting caught in pricing wars between publishers and e-book distributors—an alternative model will surely find a warm welcome among bloggers and other ‘lean authors’ the world over. One to localize for the creative masses near you…? (Related: Business model book follows its own adviceFrom online baby blogs to printed baby booksBlog’s 52 recipe contests to spawn crowdsourced cookbook.) Spotted by: Daniel Tenner



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