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In one of the best things I've seen in a long time, especially as an aspiring writer.

from (stripped of pretty formatting)

GitBook makes it easy to publish great books.

Discover gorgeous books from the community.

Publish your books easily thanks to a great workflow.

Monetize your paid books in less than 5 minutes.

Simple to update, publish and update your books easily using Git or the editor.

Responsive, books can be read on all devices, laptops, tablets, phones, kindles, etc.

Editor, use the GitBook editor to write beautiful books, on Mac, Windows or Linux.

Git, books are versionned and collaborative using the GIT scm.

Markdown, books are written using the markdown syntax.

Open Source, built on top of the open source GitBook technology.

o more thanks to powerful integrations.

E-book readers, books are readable on the Amazon Kindle, Nook and other readers.

iBooks, books are readable on iPad, iPhone and Mac using iBooks.

GitHub, write your book on GitHub and publish it in seconds through GitBook.

Monetize your books

Choose your own minimum and suggested prices, from $0 (or free) to $100.

Let everybody buy your book easily. GitBook accepts most credit & debit cards.

You keep the rights to your book, not us. So you can do a deal with a publisher at any time.

GitBook charges 20% per transaction.

--- End quote ---

I'm cautiously optimistic...  could also be a big middle finger to the traditional publishing model...

Update: So, following my own advice to do more investigation on open-source projects I find interesting.

So far, I see that Gitbook is owned by FriendCode.  Haven't done a corporate search, but a little cursory searching led me to Codebox (  They are owned by FriendCode also, so I assume at this point some correlation.

There is also a concerning bit in their TOS- the use of real names, and the ability to terminate accounts.

Violation of any of the terms below will result in the termination of your Account. While FriendCode prohibits such conduct and Content on the Service, you understand and agree that FriendCode cannot be responsible for the Content posted on the Service and you nonetheless may be exposed to such materials. You agree to use the Service at your own risk.

Account Terms

* You must be a human, bots are not allowed
* You must be 10 years or older to use this Service.
* You must provide your legal full name (as name) and a valid email address (as email)
* You are responsible for maintaining the security of your account and password.
* You are responsible for all Content posted and activity that occurs under your account (even when Content is posted by others who have accounts under your account).
* One person may not maintain more than one free account.
* You may not use the Service for any illegal or unauthorized purpose. You must not, in the use of the Service, violate any laws in your jurisdiction
* Your use of the Service is at your sole risk
* You must not modify, adapt or hack the Service
--- End quote ---

I wrote an e-mail, and am waiting to hear back.


I'm a prospective user of, and I had a concern.  I don't want to write under my real name.  I have business concerns that I use my real name for, and don't want any contract or other issues, which is why I don't use my real name for either my hobby coding nor writing concerns.

However, it seems that things published must be connected to my legal name?  Or I'm subject to summary termination of account?

I just wanted to make sure of what was actually meant, i.e. was this absolute?  Especially in publishing where people ghost write and use pseudonyms, it seems that this is a bit short sighted.

Thanks for your time, and any response!

--- End quote ---

Update: I received a response today, which I've posted below.


If your book is a paid book, you have to use your legal name, because otherwise we can't legally transfer you the money.

But if the book is a free or private book, feel free to use a pseudonym, we'll suspend the book only if the content is a stolen or illegal content.

You can only signup using twitter or github, so if you want to use a pseudonym, please make sure that your real name is not written on your Twitter/Github user profile.

--- End quote ---

So it seems that you can publish free content under a pseudonym, but not paid content.

That looks really nice :Thmbsup:.

I just realized that Rust by Example was generated by GitBook.

Update: Updated original post with response from gitbook on real names.

Now that this thread is nearly two years dead, has anyone here been using GitBook for a while? Any opinions on it? Still using it, or have you moved on to something else?

I recently re-discovered it due to reading documentation written using GitBook.

I noticed that they recently-ish stopped some of the features that were originally praised in this thread, such as selling your books:

Anyway, I signed up for an account last night and downloaded the desktop client and started working on converting a reference manual I originally wrote in Google Docs to GitBook format. The client itself is kind of clunky, with some weird behaviors that IMO shouldn't exist in a 2-year old project. But I guess I don't know how long the desktop client has been a thing.

I also really don't like Markdown because of the lack of control I have over basic things, like a simple line return (without a large gap), or making text centered on screen. In fact, I really, really, really hate how a line return doesn't do anything, but instead just shows content on the same line as the previous content. Ugh! Sometimes I just want a <br> and not a <p>, you know?

But I like the idea of being able to easily publish/export to PDF, or ePub/mobi formats. And I'm curious how that will work out compared to Google Docs. I noticed that when I export my Google Doc as PDF, the resulting PDF doesn't always look exactly like the doc does on my screen in the editor. So all that time I spent meticulously adding line breaks and things to make sure paragraphs and sections wrapped nicely from one page to the next was utterly wasted and made it look even worse on the PDF when, for example, a page only had a single sentence on it and the rest was blank.

In my efforts to compare the differences, I accidentally spent way too long last night fighting with Markdown and figuring out Gitbook, working on the conversion. Once I started getting noticeably tired, I looked at the clock and saw it was past 4 AM. I decided that was enough for one night and went to bed.

I think that markdown is either one of those things you love or hate.  I love the fact that a enter is not considered a break, personally.  I can format my source in any manner that I fashion, and know that the final formatting of it will be based on the markup, not the actual formatting of the source.  That said, your problems are easily solved - two or more spaces at the end of the line force line breaks, which I don't personally think is too onerous.

As far as Gitbook, I found it the same as a lot of things built on Chromium- not ready for prime time.  I now use a combination of sublime text and notebooks for my writing projects.  I tried to use Scrivener, and really want to use it, but it's just not compatible enough with syncing services and plain text for me to use it.

But as a platform, I think they made the right choice in separating the publishing from the actual payments.  I really like Gumroad, and having them work more on integration made me like the platform (if not the tools) more, rather than less.


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