Mikrotext is using Booktype to make beautiful e-books

Nikola Richter, the founder of mikrotext presenting one of their publications I Photo by Elsewhere
Nikola Richter, the founder of mikrotext presenting one of their publications I Photo by Elsewhere

Successful Berlin digital publishing house mikrotext releases its newest book ‘Willkommen! Blogger schreiben für Flüchtlinge’ (Welcome! Bloggers writing for refugees) on December 2nd. It’s the first result of the collaboration between Booktype and mikrotext.

Booktype has served a wide range of clients from nonprofit organisations like Amnesty International, or universities like Université de Lyon/ENS, to professional publishing service providers like BoD Books on Demand. But until now one important - and close-by - group was not represented. Therefore, we partnered with mikrotext to learn more about the specific needs of publishing companies.

Nikola Richter, the founder of mikrotext, wants the e-books they’re publishing to look as nice as printed books. We provided mikrotext with the standard Booktype installation and helped to fit their needs by customising the software to match the layout of her books with mikrotext’s layout design. Equally as essential as providing a good layout was to optimise the editorial process and reduce the costs for e-book production. Now Booktype enables her and her team of proofreaders, editors and graphic designers to go through the whole book production process while using just one platform. This is saving them a lot of resources and enables the team members to collaborate effectively. For example, loading the content of the actual book - which has more than 35 chapters  - and making it ready for publishing didn’t take more than three days.

The story behind the book

The refugee crisis that hit Europe has encouraged people to take action. In August 2015, bloggers Paul Huizing, Nico Lumma, Karla Paul and Stevan Paul launched a crowdfunding campaign called bloggers for Refugees.

The campaign wanted to mobilise bloggers to write blog posts in order to raise awareness and funds to help the many people who come in distress to Europe. Since then, many bloggers have committed to this action and the hashtag #BloggerfuerFluechtlinge went viral. Started with a fundraising goal of 5,000 euros, the campaign has already gathered well over 130,000 euros.

Now, mikrotext decided to put together a book. According to Nikola, the e-book is to be a visualisation of this solidarity and a review of what has been happening on the web in the context of the refugee crisis both in Germany and Austria.

In a collaborative effort, six different editors have worked on the collection of blog posts that have been written as part of the campaign. This led to a book of more than 400 pages that was made possible through the use of the Booktype platform in under a week.

Literature may come in many forms

It’s not the first time that mikrotext has touched upon immigration. Their first e-book ‘The smartest guy on Facebook’, was published in March 2013 and was also released in the first print edition in October 2013. The book is a collection of daily Facebook status updates from Abous Saeed from Syria. Saeed has just become a columnist for Vice Germany.

Copies of mikrotext book “The Smartest Guy on Facebook” I Photo by Elsewhere

Copies of mikrotext book “The Smartest Guy on Facebook” I Photo by Elsewhere

Another author, Abou Assaf Alassaf writes about how he tries to make friends with an immigration officer while waiting for his visa in his comical-critical novel “Abu Jürgen. Mein Leben mit dem deutschen Botschafter”.

Immigration and refugees are hot topics all over Europe, but Nikola Richter is not concentrating specifically on just political or social issues and the above mentioned books represent just the fraction of what she has released so far. Her aim is to capture the Zeitgeist of our time, and to present a contemporary approach. This is why she is very interested in texts that are tied to web technology in any possible form.

I love my self ok? A Berlin trilogy’ by Chloe Zeegen started as a blogpost of a girl coming out on Facebook, ‘Stefan Adrian: Der Gin des Lebens. Drinklyrik’ is a collection of newsletters of a Berlin barkeeper inviting people to a bar, while using very funny newsletters, that ended up circulating around the internet. Thomas Palzer’s 'Spam Poetry' is a collection of spams inspiring readers to improve the quality of their lives.

The cooperation between Booktype and mikrotext fits naturally with their missions. Everything mikrotext publishes is sort of episodic in nature, and can be read easily even on smartphone devices because the texts are not complicated long novels.

Booktype and the Berlin digital publishing house mikrotext announced their collaboration in September. mikrotext is a digital publishing house in Berlin founded by Nikola Richter in 2013. In 2014 it was awarded the Young Excellence Award of the Börsenblatt (Association of German Publishers and Booksellers).

Booktype follows the idea of "Single Source Publishing", which means that books are not tied to an output format, but can be exported in different formats. With it, mikrotext is flexible to choose which format the book will be published, weather ePUB, MOBI, PDF or even print.

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