Booki User Guide

What can I use Booki for?

Booki supports any individual or group that wishes to write a book. Some typical uses of the platform might be :

  • Writing books - e.g. a Manual, a Cook Book, a Book about Fishing, a fictional tale.
  • Producing printed books
  • Producing ebooks
  • Writing any content as an individual.
  • Collaboratively authoring content.
  • Rapidly developing content in Book Sprints.
  • Customising existing content to apply to a very specific context.
  • Translating a book into another language.

Book Sprint

I am working for rights of immigrant workers. We need to create a booklet about workers rights. I read the (free) FLOSS Manuals online manual on Book Sprints and then organise 5 staff to dedicate 3 consecutive days the following week. The first morning we each create an account. I have already created the new book, given it an open license, sent the others the URL, and prepared the Index. We spend 3 hours discussing the chapters and decide who will write what. At lunch on the first day we start writing. We continue to write for the following 2 days. At the end of the last day we output an A5 book formatted PDF of 110 pages and take it to our local printer to make 500 stapled copies. Over the next 2 days peers from other offices log in to improve and build upon our work. We make the book formatted PDF freely available from our website to read or to print for distribution. Each of the other offices print copies locally and distributes them.

Customising Content

I am a developer that has contributed to several manuals on Free Software. My specialty is Drupal, and I have a client that I have just created a site for using Drupal. I want to create a manual for that client so I go to my user page and fork the existing FLOSS Manuals Groups manual on Drupal. I now have a standalone version of the manual on my account, any alterations I do will not be reflected in the original manual unless I merge the changes up stream. I remove several chapters not relevant to the client, add 4 new chapters that are specific to the client. I mark the new chapters as “Copyright : all rights reserved” and private so they are not reusable or seen by anyone else using the system. I write these chapters with information that is specific to my client and replace several existing screen shots in other chapters with screenshots of my clients site. I export the material to book formatted PDF, upload it to print on demand service and buy 2 copies of the perfect bound book for my client. Later a potential client calls me for a meeting - I use my version of the Drupal manual, remove the client sensitive material, upload it, buy it, and bring the book to the meeting.


I am a volunteer translator. I want to translate a book on Mexican Cooking from the CookMe Group into French. I fork the existing manual from the CookMe Group to my user page. I force a machine translation of the content and mark all chapters “to be translated”. I message others subscribed to the Booki French group that I need some help and with 3 others we translate the material and mark all the chapters “to be proofed” or “requires technical proofing” as we complete them. When we are finished I invite a friend to proof the content for us. She takes 1 week, doing it in her spare time. After each chapter is proofed she marks them “complete”.  Later I output the translated book to book formatted PDF, upload to and  buy a copy.

Multiple Formats

I am an educator and have written a text book on digital design using Booki. While writing I kept the book private but invited select users to view the material and leave comments – this was great feedback for me. Now the book is completed and has been picked up by a publisher – I output an .odt file from Booki and open this in, save to a .doc format (the publisher does not know about free software) and send to them. I also negotiated a Creative Commons license for the material with the publisher. I release the book on my website using the embed api and invite translations. Within 4 weeks there is a completed Spanish translation which is uploaded to a print on demand service and sold through my website. A Portuguese translation is ready 3 weeks later. After an enthusiastic response to the Portuguese translation in Brazil I output the material to multiple column PDF suitable for printing on large format newsprint. A school district in Sao Paolo finds a local printer, downloads the PDF for free, and produces 1500 copies on newsprint and distributes for free around schools – this costs the same as printing or buying 30 printed books so I feel good and the schools make a huge savings.


I am invited to facilitate a Book Sprint on farming techniques in a remote area. The venue is a farm with no internet connectivity. I know a little about how to install web services so I download and install Booki on my laptop. At the Book Sprint we have 4 laptops connected to the local network version of Booki running on my machine. We write the book in 5 days. We output the book formatted PDF from my laptop, print the book at a local printer and distribute locally as educational materials. Later I upload the sources to the version of Booki running on my own server so others can access and reuse the content as they please. 

Organisational Documentation

My organisation wants to review and upgrade it's documentation.  We have decided to use Booki to collaboratively rewrite and update our content. Our IT Guru has installed Booki on our server so writers can login and update documentation from any machine. We will use the versioning feature to keep track of documentation versions as our docs grow and develop over time.  When final revisions have been approved they are 'published' to screen readable PDF and Book Formatted PDF.  The Book Formatted PDF is printed off for our 'official documentation' while the Screen readable PDF  stored on our server for easy digital access by staff.

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