PliegOS at the 2nd Barcelona Exchange Fair

Last Sunday we decided to “turn real” and opened our own small street market shop, along with many other open initiatives, at the 2nd Barcelona Exchange Fair organized by Ecoxarxa. We explained the pliegOs concept to many people and distributed free digital DIY samples, sold more than 30 copies of pliegos for/by kids (from the Panxa del Bou collection, soon to be published here too) that costed 1 Eco each (the local currency that day, 1 euro at change).

We also managed to test some methods for what hopefully soon would be our first workshops at schools, with kids being at the same writers, illustrators, editors and printers of their own books!

Help needed: how to automate layout and PDF creation?

WP + BuddyPress have been fine until now for prototyping this project. It allows the easy sending of content through some extra plugins, as well as sharing pliegos and news the open way. But we would need something else now in order to make it really easy for people to create their own pliegos on the go. Which means (in process order):

  1. Updating text and images (with maximum limits, around 1500 words)
  2. Editing text and image sizes to get the right layout.
  3. Validating it all.
  4. Generate a downloadable PDF.
  5. Share openly online.

So ideas are welcome, specially form CSS or php wizards! :)

DIY microbooks: this new/old thing

As mentioned somewhere else, the pliegos concept is no new at all, just a 2.0 times version of something that dates back to the first presses, and the way popular fiction was cheaply distributed through the city streets in the beginnings of the Gutenberg era.

The idea has to do with an unusual finding: an old suitcase abandoned in a family garage. Inside, a collection of nearly 200 Catalan pliegos from between 1910 and 1915, that were produced by a nearly one-person publishing company, Patufet. This nearly yellow pages, folded and cut the same way we do here (some of them also nicely together with a red thread) tell the story of many many handmade stories and covers, thanks to the infinite imagination and good ear of Manel Folch i Torres.

The value in terms of money of this collection is still unknown, but if you’re interested send us a line (info at pliegos dot net). We might be selling some at auction in eBay or similar to get some funds for hosting, ink cartridges and paper :)


New pliego: Microfestival & Bookcamp Kosmopolis best tweets

Well, we had a session and a mission at the last, fantastic, intense Bookcamp Kosmopolis organized by the CCCB_Lab crew: to explain this project and also to produce a small-quick festival about poetry and fiction using Twitter. At the end we produced this new pliego with also room for gathering some of the best tweets that day.

Download pliego: Microfestival & Bookcamp Kosmopolis best tweets

Why and how I (first post-storming about pliegOS)

Caxton Showing the First Specimen of His Printing to King Edward IV

Caxton Showing the First Specimen of His Printing to King Edward IV. Source: Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)

Since this project is just starting, probably is the right time to explain the reasons and methods for it. This are the complementary notes to the about section, some sentences that have to be short because time here is limited and attention scarce:

  • Fight eBooks: they’re evil! They want to erase books from shelves and turn libraries into microchips (with people inside).
  • Using a pliego the right way means 6 steps: download, print, fold, cut, read and leave somewhere. If you also want to create one you have to submit your original text or copylefted ones, an have a little patience.
  • Make the open web turn physical: many digital texts (posts, collections of tweets, Wikipedia abstracts, even mails or comments) deserve real paper, and once printed can also be a great tool for fighting the digital divide.
  • Where DIY culture meets the micro culture meets the attention economy: long books are great, they sell them in bookshops and online. But what about the pleasure of choosing here the ones that look more interesting, print them right away and do a little finger-folding and a little paper-reading gymnastic? The whole process can take you less than 15 minutes, that’s real fast food! :D
  • The great “one book, one buck” opportunity: information online is mainly free, but outside Internet (in the right place and time) can be quite valuable. Nothing stops you for creating or downloading a collection of pliegos, go to a festival or market and sell them for a coin -like in the goood old times.
  • A real pocket experience: this books are 3×4 inches only (sometimes 4×6, specially for kids) so they can be stored virtually anyway! Oh, yes, there too, but we will have no responsibility for any damages derived from that :)
  • Dedicated to all the wanna-be-writters: yes, it takes a man (or a woman) to write a book in less than 1500 words! Publish here as many as you want (not necessarily short stories, think also about serial literature) and distribute them trough your own social media channels (pliegos love tweets, indeed).
  • Quick textbooks for mobile learners: take it as a good way for saving offline the essence of that online course, lesson, subject, etc. Summarizing knowledge has always been a main way of learning. But please don’t bring pliegos to your exams!

Uhm, that’s all for the moment. There are more thoughts in a notebook waiting for another day to be posted!