Hugh McGuire and I have met only once, but we immediately recognized in each other similar ambitions, motivations and values. While I was building The Conversations Network, Hugh was doing the same for Librivox. (Thanks to Jon Udell for introducing us.) And for the past year, as I was working on SpokenWord.org (with Hugh’s help as an advisor) he was creating an excellent new site: the Book Oven.
If you’re involved in any aspect of publishing (as a writer, editor, proofreader, small publisher, designer or agent) you need to check this out. After successfully publishing more than 2,500 audiobooks on LibriVox, Hugh refers to the new project as “cloud-based publishing.” Crowdsourcing itself isn’t new, but the Book Oven promises to apply crowdsourcing to all aspects of publishing. The first component is called Bit-Sized Edits: sort of a mesh of Nathan McFarland’s CastingWords (based on Amazon’s Mechanican Turk) and the reCAPTCHA project.
As Hugh admits, the Book Oven is just getting started, but there’s already enough there to make it worth your time to visit and get involved. If you’re in the publishing world, you’ll want to be part of the Book Oven from the beginning.