The name 'obooko' originated from an idea to create a unique brand-name containing the word 'book', while also conveying, in some way, the service we offer. Thus, from 'download books online to read offline' came forth obooko: the two 'o's, and literal bookends, taken from online and offline. Before the brand-name was registered as a trademark in 2007, it did not exist on the Internet.
The website launched from the United Kingdom into Cyberspace in early December 2009 and continues to provide an opportunity for new and established writers from all parts of the World to self-publish and promote their work free of charge.
The complementary objective of obooko is to offer fiction and non-fiction free of charge to anyone, anywhere, regardless of means.
By offering free copies of work, under Standard Copyright or Creative Commons licences, authors can benefit from valuable feedback from obooko members. This can be used to improve work before it is listed for sale on retail sites or sent to publishers for consideration. In many cases this negates the need for extensive professional editing.
"The thing to remember is that the very *worst* thing you can do to me as an artist is to not read my work-- to let it languish in obscurity and disappear from posterity." Cory Doctorow, science fiction author and proponent of Creative Commons.
Think of obooko as a showcase or shop window for new and established independent writers. And commercially published writers too. It's free publicity that will help build an author's goodwill and reputation. There are no fees, charges or commissions nor is there a contract to sign, and authors are free to promote their book wherever they wish outside obooko.
Our primary ebook file type is PDF because this is the most versatile format and one of the most efficient ways of distributing books. PDF (Portable Document Format) is the same format used for commercial printing so it's the closest you'll get to a 'real' book; the visual integrity of the document cover and layout being retained. However, PDFs don't work too well with handheld eReading devices; with this in mind we are gradually introducing ePub and mobi (Kindle) formats.
Printing free ebooks for personal use is encouraged. By printing and binding ebooks at home, our members can enjoy the benefits of viewing tangible pages and cover art. What's more, it gives schools, colleges and hospitals in underdeveloped countries the option to print a few copies of books, which under normal circumstances, they would never be able to access or afford.
How do we stay free? The site is hosted on servers in the United Kingdom and is independently owned and operated. Unlike some sites, we do not charge membership fees, nor do we ask for donations: maintenance and development costs are supplemented by display and text advertising, which we feel is a fair and transparent way to operate.
Your contacts at obooko are:
Sarah Bainbridge: author liaison, membership administration, marketing support
Tim Johnson: digital production, technical support, author liaison.
Tony Stanton: site operator
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