2 Presentations on Book Sprints

The Digital Publishing Toolkit conference “Off the Press” was held in Rotterdam in the last week of May, 2104. Two presentations featured Book Sprints, the first was by Adam Hyde and touched on Book Sprints as a methodology within the context of producing artifacts. His argument “Books are Evil” reflects on collaborative processes as a critical practice that deconstructs copyright, ‘the book’, solitary authorship etc.

Off the Press – Adam Hyde: Books Are Evil from network cultures on Vimeo.

The second presentation focused on 2 Book Sprints held by V2. Michelle Kasprzak talks of one Book Sprint facilitated by Adam Hyde that was a very successful and pivotal event for the organisation. The second Book Sprint V2 undertook by themselves without a facilitator. Unsurprisingly Michelle comments on this second event as having mixed results and a book was not produced.

Off the Press – Michelle Kasprzak, _V2: The eBook as a Vehicle for Re-dissemination and Creation from network cultures on Vimeo.

Experimental Repo

We have just created a repo on github for some experimental work on a framework for collaborative knowledge production. There are two repositories as it happens, one is PubSweet which is a rough and ready simple tool for collaborative production of books. The second is PubSweet2 – a rewrite and looking towards a more modular future.

They are rough but functional. We are using them for experimenting with various ideas and also in use for some Book Sprints already. There is essentially a low-fi UI approach, but soon we hope to apply designs from Henrik van Leeuwen.

We wanted to get it more finished than it is before putting it out there but we are busy folks and it just started getting further and further away. So here it is. As is. It works but its rough. No apologies :) We thought its just best to get it out there regardless.

Open Source / Free Software licensed under Apache. Do with it as you will.


Wanted : People to be trained as Book Sprint Facilitators

We are currently looking for people that will want to be trained as Book Sprint Facilitators. We are in the unusual situation of having produced a methodology of which there are very few practitioners hence we do not expect you to have experience as a Book Sprint facilitator however we are looking people with specific qualities. Facilitation experience is not necessary. As such, if you are interested please send an email to adam@booksprints.net expressing your interest with statements (preferably with examples from experience) that can support answers to the following:

  • can you read interpersonal dynamics quickly?
  • do you cope with a lack of sleep well?
  • do you react with light touch when under stress?
  • can you direct people?
  • do you know how to mediate power dynamics?
  • are you able to be the center of attention without attaching your ego?
  • are you calm but strong when needed?
  • are you able to look after people when they are in a challenging environment?

Additionally, fluency in more than one language would be an asset.

We will take a handful of candidates and invite each to one Book Sprint. At the end of the process we will discuss with each of the successful candidates whether it is a good idea to continue with the training. Should the training go further you will be trained by us and work on a contract basis for Book Sprints we organise.

2 Presentations

Today Adam Hyde presented at the Digital Publishing Tool Kit conference at the Boijmans Museum in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The topic was “Books are Evil”. Tomorrow Adam presents at The Next Chapter conference in Stockholm on the topic “Collaborative Knowledge Production”.

Book Sprint on Book Sprints

CoverAfter 4 short but arduous days in a Book Sprint on Book Sprints we are proud to release the results. On Book Sprints v1.0 EPUB is available here. We will produce a 1.1 and PDF later this week.

Contributors: Rachel Baker, David Berry, Mark Brokering, Michael Dieter, Amanda French, Barbara Rühling
Facilitated by: Adam Hyde
Cover: Henrik van Leeuwen
Photos: Rachel Baker and Henrik van Leeuwen
Remote Proofing : Raewyn White

The Book Sprint on Book Sprints took place May 13-16 in Berlin


Photos of the event can be found here

If you do not have a e-Reader either use Calibre or wait for the PDF.

Seeking Unix/CSS Book Geek

If you would like to be involved in cutting edge book design techniques then you might be the one for us! We write books in 3-5 days and produce print formatted PDF and EPUB in minutes. We are looking for someone to take responsibility for the book production processes to support out Book Sprints. The successful candidate will be experienced in designing in CSS and run a UNIX operating system (Ubuntu/Debian/Linux etc). You must also be passionate about being involved in the very cutting edge of book production techniques. Javascript knowledge would be an asset but not essential. This is contracted work on a per Book Sprint basis.

If you are interested contact Adam Hyde :adam@booksprints.net

Open Science

An interesting presentation about Book Sprints by Dr Martin Mehlberg. It is great to see more people learning about the process.  Relevant materials starts 28 minutes into the video.

Experimental Labs Book Sprint

The first week ever we have two Book Sprints running at once – one in Nice, France, and one at Stratford on Avon, UK.


The UK Book Sprint is about experimental labs, what their purposes and principles are and how this contrasts against practice. The group is very keen to publish a book that highlights the problematics. Much has been written about Labs recently and it is turning into a slightly over-hyped meme, behind it however are real world practices and some amazing people and astonishing achievements. By using the collaborative production methods of the Book Sprint the collective voice gives a certain amount of freedom to the participants to speak their minds a little more freely.

Day Two is just starting up and looking forward to many more interesting conversations today.



Book Sprints for ICT Research #5: CAPS

5 – 7 May 2014
Collective Awareness Platforms for Sustainability and Social Innovation

Visualizing and structuring ideas on the wall

We have two Book Sprints this week, one of which is taking part in Nice, France, with seven members of the project CAPS2020 – Boosting the emergence of Collective Awareness Platforms for Sustainability and Social Innovation, funded by the European Commision’s FP7 programme. It is the fifth Book Sprint investigating the application of the Book Sprint methodology for academic text production in the framework of Book Sprints for ICT Research.

The seven contributors came together at the old harbour in Nice, France, to write a book on CAPS in three days. They represent several projects within the CAPS framework, all dealing with different social issues, addressing different communities, and using and developing different tools. Together they discussed and decided on the concept of the book that will not only explain their framework to lay people but also serves as an entry point for researchers and practitioners.

By the evening of day three, they had structured, written, reviewed, rewritten, restructured and finished the book. It will be distributed throughout their network electronically and be presented at the CAPS2014 conference in July.

Writing down ideas

This Book Sprint was facilitated by Barbara Rühling.

Anne Gentle on the OpenStack Book Sprint

from http://programming.oreilly.com/2014/05/the-book-sprint.html

The book sprint

Not just for code anymore

by  May 1, 2014

OpenStack Operations Guide
Do you really want a technical book for your project? Does your community need to provide more helpful docs to support even more users? Does your community have a lot of knowledge they need to get out of heads and into bits and bytes? Do you have a good mix of technical experts and technical writers and users who would enjoy each other’s company for a week of hard work?

If the answer is yes, then consider a book sprint. If you’re in the open source world, you may have heard of a code sprint. A book sprint is a similar event, with an intense collaborative authoring session time boxed by a few days or a week. People get together typically in person to author and complete a book in a week.

Generally speaking it’s best if you have an idea of the scope and audience for the book prior to holding the sprint. These discussions can take place on line, such as on a mailing list or in a wiki page or Etherpad. You can also meet with future collaborators regularly, but understand, the first day of your sprint your book will certainly take shape. As book sprinter Adam Hyde says, “While you may not know the exact book you want when you go into the sprint, by the end you will have the book you need.”

For the OpenStack Operations Guide, we held a five-day book sprint in February 2013. OpenStack releases every April and October, and this timing was nearly halfway between two release dates. With Adam as our facilitator, seven authors agreed to work together and we nervously awaited our fate. We asked, “Could we complete a book in a week?”


On Monday we assembled at Rackspace in Austin, Texas, to find out. In a room with an entire wall of white board, we unwrapped packs of paper with fresh markers and started by writing topics on sticky notes. Adam introduced the book sprint process and said that he has done about 55 of sprints. We wrote a note at a time, then a chapter title at a time, a paragraph at a time, a table at a time, a diagram at a time. Sure enough, we collectively wrote about 10,000 words a day, bringing in all the content we could, revising, reshaping, rewriting, until it all hung together as a real book.

About a year later, some of the original authors got together for a two-day mini sprint to bring it up-to-date with the latest release of OpenStack and add an additional reference architecture. In the time between the two sprints, over 30 community contributors maintained the book, reading it, reporting issues, reviewing revisions, and fixing the issues we found. The OpenStack Foundation supported the first sprint costs and worked with O’Reilly to deliver the final product.

Book sprints don’t make you write faster, but they do cause you to create a narrow scope so that you can laser-focus specifically on the most important information. Also a book sprint causes you to think about an audience and their tasks in a way that say, a “wiki cleanup” event wouldn’t.

Does a book sprint with multiple authors make the book disjointed? We got incredible encouragement from our community for attempting this book in the first place, and information came out of it that didn’t exist elsewhere. But there were critics who wanted more polish from the results of that first week. I believe that additional polishing is where the community maintenance makes a huge difference in the resulting book. As many eyes make bugs shallow on a software project, many readers helped us improve the book over the long run. I’m not sure the book completely fought off the criticism of “how can it be any good if it was written in five days” until it went through a developmental edit and multiple critical technical reviews.

Would I do it again? Yes, I would, and I have! For OpenStack we are in the planning stages now for another book sprint this year. We had a book sprint for the OpenStack Security Guide in mid-2013 and it’s due for another release revision. We continually look for opportunities for book sprints while still maintaining our docs like code in the community.