updated 08:16 pm EST, Wed December 11, 2013
New development company aims to streamline production of manuscripts
A pair of ex-Pixar employees have formed 180g -- a software development company that has now released an e-book publishing tool, Vellum. The new OS X software package allows authors and small publishers to easily create, modify, and publish elegant e-books compatible with the three major US platforms: Apple's iBookstore, Amazon's Kindle, and Barnes & Noble's Nook.
Vellum has been designed from the ground up for e-books, with automatic typesetting and sophisticated book styles. The program features an instant preview that shows how the manuscript will appear on various popular e-readers. When activated for e-book creation (an in-app purchase), Vellum simultaneously generates specialized eBook files for iBooks, Kindle, and Nook formats, giving authors the opportunity for exposure to the three largest book platforms. The program itself does not submit or imply acceptance of a work on any of the digital bookstores.
The free software package allows users to import a manuscript from Microsoft Word or a similar word processor, which is then analyzed to auto-locate chapters and titles. The e-book can then be edited within Vellum, with the author able to quickly add front and back matter such as copyright, epigraph, and acknowledgments among other options.
Vellum typesets according to standards of professional book design, and updates the typesetting as content changes. The software "intelligently" formats for specific devices and using the $50 per-book activation option will export the manuscript to EPUB3, HTML5, and CSS3 on supporting platforms, with EPUB files guaranteed to pass IDPF's epubcheck validation. Discounts are available for those wishing to pre-buy multiple book activations.
Vellum is a free download, so interested writers can import their manuscript, explore styles, and use Vellum's instant preview without charge. Once activated, almost all of the book remains editable -- allowing authors to continue to make changes and regenerate e-books as they discover typos or receive feedback from early readers. Only the book's title, subtitle, and author name are locked upon activation.
Customers interested in publishing multiple titles can take advantage of the lower per-book pricing by purchasing in bundles. Three e-books can be created for $100 (a 50 percent savings) or five e-books can be made for $150 (a $100 savings from buying activations separately). Submission and acceptance of the resulting e-books is still up to the author or their agency (companies such as Smashwords, for example, act as clearinghouses for e-book submission to multiple digital book storefronts).